Beware The ‘Possum Lovers (aka More Ads That Suck)

possum.jpg Gawd it sucks to be North America’s sole marsupial. Sucks even more if you’re one that’s had the distinct disadvantage of being born and raised in L.A. Sure, your first few months out of the pouch are spent chauffeured around the neighborhood on mom’s back. But once on your own, rare is the city opossum that lives more than a couple years spent dodging poisons, pets, predators, pellet guns or Pirelli tires until it isn’t just playing dead anymore. It’s, as only Monty Python could put: “Joined the bleedin’ choir invisible! It’s an ex-‘possum!”

And the prejudice? Jeez but legion are the haters. Freaked out by an appearance that belies the opossum’s placid and gentle demeanor, too many people nevermind the fact that the shy, nocturnal critter cleans up our greenspaces by eating snails, slugs, cockroaches, snakes, rats, carrion, and overripe fruit. Instead of even a shred of consideration they fearfully shiver and they “Ewww!” and they “Yuck!” and they champion the ignorance that The Only Good ‘Possum Is A Dead One. It is just such sad people who chuckle at the Toyota print ad in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly that pictures a poor opossum caught on the asphalt and in the headlights of an onrushing Camry, and reads:

Mile 000174: For the first time you see how ugly possums really are.
Mile 000174.1: You swerve anyway.

Right about now I would normally go PETA on Toyota’s ass and rant about how clearly appalled I am at such a reprehensible callousness coming from the very same nature-loving maker of the sainted Prius. Or I could diatribulate on the hateful distastefulness of the word “ugly.” And I could further bore shitless those of you still reading with my respect for life in all creatures tall and small (it’s up there with my irrational reverence for public transportation and alternative commuting). But I’ll stop here and just cut to the chase: I’m sending the OC-based Opossum Society of the United States a $25 donation, and thanking Schizoyota for making it too easy for me never to consider buying one of their products.

11 Replies to “Beware The ‘Possum Lovers (aka More Ads That Suck)”

  1. Try getting surprised by a big honkin’ possom in the middle of the night with its mouth open way too wide, like something out of The Grudge, rows of teeth, and a hissing sound — “placid and gentle” aren’t the first words that will occur to you. Nor will they occur to you when the possom family living in the crawlspace are flea-infested and placidly infest you and your entire house.

  2. Well, hmmm…while the ad sounds a little self-consciously hipster-wannabe, I can’t say it’s a real candidate for the annals of Badvertising. Not when there’s stuff out there like the spot for the local appliance store with the cheesy, non-union actors mugging their frustration over the cell-phone antics of the Big Box Superstore salesperson. Currently in heavy rotation on KDOC, god bless ’em.

    I am, however, in favor both of there being an Opossum Society based in the OC as well as your donating some cashola to the critters.

    And I remain in favor of my (third) Corolla. Frankly, Toyota would have to enlist–oh, say, Rush Limbaugh as a spokesperson for me to abandon the brand.

  3. Actually Will, an opossum bit my golden retriever’s left ball and caused massive infection and swelling, making him the ridicule of the neighborhood canine social scene.

    JT

  4. Jacky, Yeowch! and I’m on it: I’ll put a hit out on that nasty critter and be sending a ten-spot to the Left-Ball-Bitten Golden Retriever Society of the United States. Gotta combat that canine ridicule. It’s shameful.

    As for Daeley… Sorry to hear you were on the receiving end of an opossum’s textbook threat display. I’ve been on that toothy/hissy end as well and their set of 50 chompers is quite impressive and frightening. They know this. That’s why they open wide and hope that you’ll run away. As to your frustrating possum home invasion… sorry that they exploited access to your residence… but is that the fault of the possum or the fault of whoever left them the opportunity to get inside?

    Your bad experiences aside Robert, I trust you don’t wholesale vilify opossums. But if you do, Toyota’s got a Camry waiting with your name on it.

    And just for the record, I’ve actually handled an opossum ó albeit one that’s been habituated to humans. Gentle and placid will always come to mind as well as a healthy respect and distance for when they get defensive.

  5. That’s exactly the right implication Fogarty: the hypothetical driver’s hypothetical heart is in the hypothetical right place, and probably thanks to the Camry’s awesome maneuverability the animal-loving driver is able to avoid turning the hypothetical ‘possum into hypothetical road kill. Yay!

    But my beef is in Toyota’s perpetuation that opossums are ugly and that killing ugly stuff ain’t no big whoop (when did this become a viable platform from which to sell vehicles?).

    Being one of those blowhard freaks that strives to respect life in all its forms (excepting maybe wind scorpions, a certain raging psycho Doberman from my youth ironically named “Peace,” and several high ranking republican politicians), thus I strongly disagree with Toyota’s wannabe-hip posture toward opossums and stronglier resent them for choosing to market cars by demeaning life.

  6. One of the things that I have noticed is the increase in sittings’ of the ëpossum in Northern Wisconsin. Years ago it was rare to site a ëpossum in our area. I spoke to a Department of Natural Resources representative about this. It seems that the ‘possum has a very light coat of fur, and cannot typically survive the cold of our region. Only recently the farming community has adopted the use of those large round bales. It seems that the ëpossums are burrowing into them during the winter months, staying warm and surviving the winter. this has become such a problem, that the DNR was considering a ban on the round bales, and actually did an environmental impact study about this . You would think that the farming community would be up in arms, but they actually support this ban. As one spokesperson said for the farmers, ìWhy…ever since initiating the use of the large bale technology, our cows haven’t had a ìsquareî meal….;-)

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