Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brave or Dumb?

I caught a bat, once, with my bare hands. My dog and I were home alone, tucked in bed, reading a book. Well, I was reading, my dog was—I don’t know, occupied with doggie thoughts. Suffice it to say, we were minding our own business when this little brown bat flies into the room. My blood temperature went to 32 degrees in six seconds flat. And my dog? She did nothing except watch—her head going back and forth, up and down like one of those bobble head dogs on a dashboard. She looked like Ted from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” I knew I was on my own.

I’d been washing the windows that day and the screens were propped against the wall. I slid out of bed, grabbed one of the wobbly units, and took a swing at the flying fur ball.

You’re laughing, aren’t you? You’re probably thinking I’d forgotten about sonar, or radar, or whatever super power it is that bats possess, and…you’d be right. Hey! I was in panic mode. I’d like to see what you would have done in the same situation.

I took another four swings and the bat disappeared. I thought I’d scared it out into the front room, but as I looked at the screen, I saw sharp little claws clinging to the wire mesh—claws, and wings, and teeth! I stared at it, and it stared back. I clamped my hand over it. Yes, that’s what I did. I clamped my hand over it. Hey! I was in panic mode. I’d like to see what you would have done in the same situation.

I prayed that it wouldn’t swivel its tiny head around and bite me with those needle-like teeth. I walked slowly to the front door talking to the manic mammal in soothing tones…“Don’t bite me. Don’t bite me. Don’t bite me, okay? I’m not going to hurt you, okay? I’m just going to put you outside. Everything’s fine. If you bite me though, I might just stomp you to death out of panic and terror. I wouldn’t mean to, but it’s better not to find out, okay?”

By this time I’d reached the front door. Luckily, we have the kind of front door knob that’s not a knob, but a handle. I pushed it down with my foot, and the door opened! I maneuvered my way out onto the porch and released the critter into the dark night. Such a relief! My dog ambled to my side, sniffing the night air, and thinking to share in the rescue credit. Huh! I did it! I did it all by myself! Me, all by myself. In your face. Take that! It was then I actually thought about what I’d done, and my body started trembling. I looked down at my hand and realized holding onto a frightened frantic bat was probably not such a good idea. Ya think? I tossed the window screen, raced to the bathroom, and washed my hands with every kind of bar soap, liquid soap, and bath gel I could find.

The moral of the story? Sometimes we do things without thinking, and sometimes those things come off as brave or noble, and other times…not so much.

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