Roadside attraction: Arkansas’ weird critters

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Updated Sep 5, 2012

I still get excited when I see a wild animal while we’re traveling, which is weird, because we live out in the country and I see wild things all the time. For some reason, a deer in Oklahoma thrills me, whereas a deer in Ohio is just eating my flowers and causing a traffic hazard.

We were traveling through Arkansas yesterday. I have seen more weird animals in Arkansas than anywhere. They have everything from groundhogs to armadillos, and all of them seem to have a special fascination with the highway. As it got close to dusk, the hoards of creatures started appearing by the side of the road.

“Oh my gosh, I think I just saw a wombat.”

“It was a goat, babe. In a pen.”

“Nope. Definitely wombat. They must farm wombats in Arkansas. Probably because there aren’t any Sasquatch here to eat them.”

“I know I’m going to regret this, but why aren’t there Sasquatch in Arkansas?”

“Because Arkansas is full of warthogs, which is the only natural enemy of Sasquatch. Warthogs eat baby Sasquatch.”

“They’re not warthogs, they’re razorbacks.”

“To-may-to, to-mah-to. Same thing. Ugly, snarling pigs with giant teeth. Look over there! Is that an octopus?”

“It’s a work glove. You really need to have your eyes checked. And your head. I’m still not convinced you didn’t give yourself brain damage when you fell out of the top bunk. How in the hell would there be an octopus on the side of the highway in Arkansas?”

“You never know what’s behind that tree line. There could be an octopus farm, and one may have escaped. Maybe there’s an evil octopus overlord who enslaves poor octopuses and makes them sew up tennis shoes in a hot factory. I’ll bet an octopus could make a lot of tennis shoes with all those hands.”

“Babe, really? Please tell me you’re joking, because if you’re serious we’re stopping at the next hospital to get you a CAT scan.”

“Pfft. It’s a crazy world out there, they can grow a human ear on the back of a hairless mouse. It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility to think they can teach octopuses to sew tennis shoes. Hell, I learned dosage calculation as a nurse and can’t balance a checkbook. Anything is possible.”

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“I still don’t think an octopus could sew. I can’t believe we’re having a conversation about it.”

“Octopuses are smart as hell! It was probably an octopus who thought of growing an ear on a mouse. What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for a hospital.”

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