RL176 - The Opossum had distracted me

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The problem: John brooks no truck, referring to John not allowing any moths in his house anymore since they destroyed his dad’s Harris Tweed blazer.

The show title refers to the night when John’s house was robbed and he heard the thieves but thought it was the possum that had been living in his walls for a long time.

It is a rainy morning in Seattle and the Winter/Fall has finally arrived, which was the shittiest James Bond movie. John had a busy morning but things are good.

John is not a one-key guy anymore. He jingles his key chain on the show and it sounds like a lot of keys. He uses all of them in any given week. One for the propane, one to the log on the tool shed. The things he owns start to own him! These keys are analog eels.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Carbon Monoxide (RL176)

Merlin needs to improve his quality of sleep, which is an ongoing thing and he is not sure if he will ever have good sleep again. An old episode of This American Life was about people who thought their house was haunted, but it was actually CO-poisoning (probably this one). Many of the things that people call creepy, scary, or haunting things are actually attributable to low-level CO-poisoning.

Merlin is not a lunatic, but he is a theorist who has his reckons and he thinks that some part of his house might be harming him, although it is probably not a ghost, but the house is old and has not been extremely well maintained. Merlin is first of all a ceramicist and an anthropologist, a lover, a father, a thinker and a person, but he is not a person who is insensitive to environmental climactic change, haunting and Carbon Monoxide. He does currently not have a CO-detector in his house, but those are easy to find. Merlin has a plumber come out this week, he should probably also have a carbon-monologist. He tested his tub for lead one time and he will not do that again because it was so bad that the result said "Continued on next Walgreens test strip”. "Honey, please don’t drink the bath water!"

Merlin wants to be less shocked by the that cause riots and Medium posts, because everything new is shocking and you should give it some time before you throw it out. Jane’s Addiction was shocking.

What mitigates against dismissing all crazy conspiracy theories is that so much dumb shit has happened where there had been meetings, plans and HR decisions to do some really crazy shit which makes you go ”You know what? You never know! Sure it could happen! It wouldn’t surprise me!”

Two cats died (RL176)

(see also story in RL162)

John recently had the death of two fairly unredeemable cats in his extended family. One of them was a troubled cat who has gone to a better place, and the other one was a devil cat. They lived close enough to John that they had to come to an arrangement. Whether or not toxoplasmosis is real, when his baby was in transit John had to send these cats to go live on a farm and there was no arguing about it because he had a piece of paper with a long word on it. The real reason he wanted these cats to go was because they were spiritually bankrupt, but that is harder to prove and it doesn’t have a greek name that means ”Potential harm to your innocent baby” and "Mind Control Cat Shit Fog".

John's mom rat-proofing his house (RL176)

See House!

Merlin’s house (RL176)

Merlin's house is almost 90 years old and it starts to become a little lose and flabby, like an old man. It was probably never the fanciest place to begin with. When he lived In Florida he heard a factoid that he can’t un-hear: Certain kind of vermin like roaches, rats and squids can get their body through a hole whenever their head will fit through because their skeleton and their muscular will collapse to the size of a freaking dime! They got a detachable penis! Fighting roaches in Florida is pointless. They are coming home in the grocery bags, they are coming through the walls, and they are coming through the MTV.

Merlin's first mouse incursion was around the time when his kid came on the scene, which made it extra crazy, because you don’t want a kid and a mouse in the same house. Knowing that there are mammals that can just wander in and out of the house and decide if it is a place they want to stay makes you feel vulnerable. Who knows what that mouse is thinking? Is it watching you masturbate? That is not a thing John wants to consider. It might even be a turn-on for the mouse, because it is a mammal after all!

Those mice could be communicating telepathically with each other and they could be alien life-forms from a different planet masquerading as mice. If a crab would wander into your house, you might think that it would be weird, but the crab was probably just wandering in and checking things out because it was in the neighborhood and you can shoo them out. Merlin hasn’t had rats, luckily. A mouse is looking for a place to camp out and bring its family and if you see only one, it is often an emissary, an explorer, a scout or somebody from the mouse state department. In San Francisco you can get mice or rats at any time, but during the rainy season there are also sugar ants. Merlin has to make peace with the ants because there is not much you can do, but he will not abide a rodent!

Spiders and flying insects (RL176)

Spiders in San Francisco are nothing like Seattle. They only get some awesome single spiders who come and hang out, usually in the bathroom, and Merlin loves them. John is also a fan of spiders, but in Seattle it is pretty bad with multiple kinds of spiders that are legitimately too many. You can watch the garden spiders get fatter and fatter throughout the fall until you get some freaking fat-ass spider with a body as big as a walnut. John does not want to walk through his own garden and take one of these in the face, so for 3 months out of the year he walks through his garden with one hand up in front of his body.

If you make the mistake to have the tips of your fingers at eye level, you will catch a spider web in your forehead. Therefore you need to keep your hand above your head and out far enough to hit a web and karate-chop it. His daughter also walks through the yard with her hand up and doesn’t know why. She is just imitating daddy and they are both walking through the yard with their shark fins out, chopping spider-webs, but even with that technique John catches three spider webs in the face pretty much every day. Then there is the house spiders, the super-fast moving ceiling spiders, enumerable kinds of spiders! John is the only guy in his family of ladies. His mom wouldn’t flinch even if there were a lobster on her ceiling, but there are other characters who do not want a spider around and at a certain point in the year John’s number one job is moving house spiders outside.

Merlin’s daughter sometimes picks up caterpillars on the sidewalk and puts them where she thinks they were headed towards, but maybe we should just let them be because nature? Merlin will kill the shit out of a flying insect, but he will inconvenience himself to get a spider out of the house.

The other day, John grabbed a flying moth out of the air by the wing, like Mr. Miyagi. It was a good party trick, but then he felt bad for the moth, he let it go and it kept flying. John lost his dad’s Harris Tweed blazer to moths. It was his signature coat since the 1950s and he handed it down to John in serviceable condition, but under John’s stewardship it was attacked and tattered by moths. Since then, John brooks no truck with moths, but he doesn’t know how to kill them. He tries to shoo out bees and wasps and he kills flies and definitely fruit flies with impunity. Merlin has a red wine trap in his kitchen, but the question is why they have fruit flies at all? He takes their compost out pretty regularly and he also washes out the can because the detritus will attract many of these vermin. Maybe there is something else rotting somewhere?

Touring with bugs on your windshield (RL176)

Don’t wave and whack at a yellow jacket, because that just makes them mad and/or attracts them. Don’t smash one, because the other yellow jackets will smell it and swarm on you. When John was on tour driving through the Midwest, at certain times of the year when the big bugs were out, his windshield would be caked with dead bugs of every size and shape like the top of a German chocolate cake. When they stopped to get gas or to get into the hot case and get some Jojos, the front of their vehicle was swarmed with yellow jackets eating the other bugs. You can’t really keep them out when you try to get back into your vehicle and you will be driving across the country with yellow jackets in the car, which is not good for anybody. Being on tour is not as glamorous as it sounds! Merlin has been in John’s van.

Merlin starts to become irrational and says that if he doesn’t look for a mouse, then there won’t be a mouse, like Heisenberg Uncertainty mice, or Schrödinger's fruit fly. As soon as you look at the mouse there is a 50% chance there will be a mouse there. Because of spooky action at a distance, this mouse and other mice are all in the same orientation. As soon as you look at this mouse, you have also pre-determined the posture of mice very far away, but it is impossible to know, which is the great thing about Physics!

Raccoons, crows and possums (RL176)

John’s relationship with raccoons is primarily based on the opposable thumb and the fact that they look knowingly at him. Over the years he felt he had to reach an accommodation with them and he will allow them tremendous leeway in his world and they will let him pass. Maybe one day he will call upon them for a favor.

Crows on the other hand are running the whole show! There are pigeons, seagull and crows at Merlin’s daughter’s school after the kids have left a lot of garbage on the playground. Pigeons are dumb like a bag of hammers and Merlin is just waiting for them to fall over and forget how to live. Seagulls are the meth users of the playground. Way up on high are the crows, just ticking their time. They are on a different time scale, they see everything, and they are moving slowly like Paul Sorvino. He didn’t move fast because he didn’t have to. A crow is not going to just fly down and eat a french fry, but it is going to watch the french fry for a while and it will let a seagull eat a french fry without being disappointed because it knows more about this french fry than the seagull will ever know.

John did not have very much respect for possums, but his respect for them increased in the same amount as his respect for cats decreased when he saw a possum and a cat live in harmony with one another. It wasn’t all the way to Hail Fellow Well Met, but they certainly each had diplomatic papers that allowed them both to move freely, which was surprising because John would not have imagined that they occupied the same emotional space.

John went to his mother, the sage, and said: "Possum and cat. Describe!" and she told him that at one point in her life she had several cats she fed outside and the cats and the possums would eat out of the same bowl at the same time. Something is going on in nature that those two species have reached an agreement.

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