A week ago there was a bit of a stir as someone spotted frozen, bagged raccoon at a local Asian supermarket in the area of Los Angeles. In typical ignorant fashion, their immediate response was to post a YouTube video (above) filled with incredulity and swearing. In response, the store’s management–despite insisting raccoon has been sold for a decade at their location–pulled the product from their shelves and is under investigation. The authorities have responded that raccoon is a perfectly legal product to be sold at grocers depending on how it’s sourced and the sourcing is currently under investigation.
So there. An ignoramus got a store in trouble and is having government money wasted to inspect something that’s probably fine just because it’s uncommon. Me? If I saw frozen raccoon I’d probably buy it and then figure out how to cook it. It’s how I learned to cook squid. Although it didn’t turn out well. At least I tried!
I never used to be a big fan of cards. They seemed like some corporate construct for expressing feelings. More a means of substituting money for an genuine message.
I’m also not a fan of wrapping paper. It seems like such a waste.
However, over a year ago, I moved cross country very suddenly in a desperate attempt to get my life back together. It became the furthest away members of my immediate had ever been from each other (ever since college, we’ve occupied the Mid-Atlantic part of the country.) I suddenly found myself scouring the card aisles of supermarkets, drug stores, bookstores, and even a few Hallmarks (the staff at those places are always so annoying, sorry, “helpful”) for raccoon cards. I suppose a part of it appealed to that primal hunting part of the brain that drives collectors. After all, cards with cats or dogs on them are a dime-a-dozen (with the average card being $4, it’s more like $48-a-dozen, but what’s the difference?) but raccoons are a whole other story!
And yes, I will only send cards with raccoons to my family. They’ve always known my affection for raccoons. They are, in fact, to blame for it ever since I had a stuffed raccoon rather than a teddy bear as a child! I think my parents said they weren’t aware there was a difference. Or maybe they thought it was a panda? Anyway, in real life, too, I use the raccoon as a representation of myself. While my insistence on raccoon cards is partially driven by the thrill of the hunt, I think it also adds to the message of sending commercial crap, which is: I care enough to go through the effort to find these.
Sadly, beggars can’t be choosers. I have cards referring to grandma and grandpa–which my parents aren’t yet–but I just re-write them. Sometimes the re-writing is so thorough that one might wonder why I bothered buying the card in the first place. For that, the answer is simple: there was a raccoon on it!
As we approach Valentine’s day, I’m kind of annoyed by the absence of cards with raccoons on them. With the whole “bandit” thing, one would expect there to at least be one card with a “you stole my heart” on it with a little thief raccoon scampering away holding a heart. But nope, none of that to be found. I was also very annoyed by the lack of cards with Rocket Raccoon on them after the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy. I really expected to see at least a boy’s birthday card with Rocket on it, pointing a gun at the reader, with the text “give me your cake” on the front.
And then I have the painful realization that my parents aren’t getting any younger, and at some point I may have a stockpile of unsent birthday cards with nobody to send them to.
Back in late 2005 I spent a few weeks in Chattanooga, TN for work. While driving, I saw a sign for scenic Raccoon Mountain which immediately became must-see attraction for me (fortunately work didn’t require me to go home during the weekends, and I usually didn’t.) It was an interesting time, although the tour guide seemed kind of annoyed that there was one person who showed up for the cave tour that day. Also, his answer that “it’s called raccoon mountain because it kind of has the shape of a raccoon” struck me as bullshit since it totally doesn’t. I wasted so much money in the gift shop for that place!
Anyway, the local (to Chattanooga) news site, Nooga.com (which sounds mildly racist, but isn’t) recently ran a photo essay about hiking one of the many trails in and around Raccoon Mountain. Now, living in Colorado these days, picturesque hiking options are a dime a dozen, but out on the East Coast you take what you can get. Besides, who wouldn’t want to potentially come across a raccoon on raccoon mountain? Things couldn’t get raccoonier!