Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dirty Jobs

Dear Diary,

Today I had to do something repulsive.  I never would have though myself capable, in fact. 
I deliberately killed a baby bird.

As a youngster, there was a point in my adolescence when my parents no longer rescued me from the stray spider dwelling in my room.  I either had to live with it, or get rid of it myself.  Getting rid of it consisted of half a roll of toilet paper wadded up in my hand. 

I didn't want to feel the crunch.

My dad referred to my technique as "fluffing" it to death, and would proceed to mimic a spider enjoying its demise with my squeezably soft Charmin fluff ball.

As adults, we are called upon to do some dirty jobs.

Many dirty jobs come with parenting.  They don't tell you about that in What to Expect When You're Expecting.  Ask the parent who's had to change dirty diapers, or wipe their kids' runny nose with their own hands, or clean up puke in the bed - and the trail on the carpet -- and all over the bathroom cabinets.  They will tell you, "Well, someone had to do it!" 

I try to allocate all dirty jobs to my husband.  He's a man.  Men are tough.  Men were taught at an early age not to cry.  And certainly they are not squeamish (except when it comes to the birthing room).  That automatically qualifies him for the job.

But when my man is not around, I get the job.  Today, my dog snagged a baby bird.  Actually a young bird.  One that was completely feathered, and probably still groggy from his night's rest, enjoying his Sunday morning sunning himself on the grass, when WHAM, up he is snatched by a slathering, toothy cockapoo.  I won't go into the details, but needless to say, I had to put it out of its suffering.  It was an awful feeling and a memory I won't soon forget.  Yet at the same time, I was proud that I could call upon myself in a time I would normally have wimped out.  Even at my age, I am growing and learning new things about myself.

I'm trying to teach my children to grow a little too. Take the spider illustration. For them it usually involves a lot of screaming and a shoe, but they are learning how to do a hard job. Because mommy and daddy aren't going to be there to usher out every spider in their path.  I'm glad they are squeamish, it means they have compassion.  But in life everyone has to do their fair share of dirty jobs. 

So keep that Charmin handy.



  1. Hey -- sometimes those spiders are so big you can hear them panting. The younger you are, the bigger they are. No shame in fear at any age! But glad you've found the key to conquering yours!

  2. One of the things I hated more than anything in Indonesia was killing cockroaches. Shudder. Killing one at the beginning of our time there usually involved an entire can of Raid, and so we quickly had to find another method. A flip flop...and a quick slap. (Then you couldn't hear the crunch.) All that to say...I sympathize. So sorry you had to do that. I'm proud of you,'s good to be brave. :)

  3. Hang in there. Glad to see you are getting the job done!