If you know me, you know I am not too outdoorsy. Despite having grown up directly on Lake Martin in moderately rural Alabama, I am not a hunter or fisherman. I prefer my fish come pre-caught, pre-cleaned and pre-fried and I hunt deer with only my car — and then only accidentally.
Although I enjoy mowing my lawn, that is about the extent of how in touch I am with nature. In fact, sometimes it seems Mother Nature has a restraining order against me. So, when my three young children, who were visiting from Ohio, and I ran upon a medium-sized turtle in the middle of the road a week ago, I was excited to show them what kind of nature lover I could actually be.
When I pointed out the seemingly-stranded reptile, the kids yelled in unison, “Let’s help him!”
I wanted them to get involved with the turtle-saving process so I pulled the car over and gave each one of them a chance to be the one to pick up the languid lad and move him safely to the roadside.
All three declined.
It was up to me to make sure this tiny turtle wasn’t yet another roadkill victim. As the saying goes, “Not all heroes wear capes.”
I picked up the turtle and showed my kids there was nothing to be afraid of. Immediately and predictably, his head and all of his extremities retreated into his shell until it looked like I was simply carrying an empty, oval box.
Filled with a sense of pride similar to that of Jerry Seinfeld when he gave Babu restaurant advice, I began walking towards the shoulder of the road.
My fingers firmly clasped the animal’s shell and I was careful not to get them near his mouth. I mean, I wasn’t sure but it could be a snapping turtle.
Just then — and for no good reason — the turtle’s pointed feet shot out from each corner of his shell and one of the sharp nails scraped my hand. I quickly dropped the animal and let out a series of expletives.
The turtle hit the asphalt, a small piece of the side of his shell chipped off and he apparently landed on one of those aforementioned feet as there was now a very tiny splatter of blood on the road.
Of course, my children were now horrified.
Realizing this supposed good deed may cost me thousands in my offspring’s eventual therapy, I reached back down to try and salvage the moment and save the turtle. So, I picked him back up and began to dart towards the shoulder again.
That’s when the incredibly frightened turtle urinated everywhere. I mean, it was like that turtle had just shot gunned a Milwaukee’s Best at the Small Bladder Festival. I am talking three Pampers worth of pee here.
Unfazed, I finally got the little guy to a grassy haven. My children began to slink back into the car undoubtedly traumatized but relieved I didn’t trip and land directly on the turtle and suffocating him. After all, he had suffered enough.
As I turned to get back in the driver’s seat, I felt the turtle glaring at me. I looked back and, sure enough, his head had finally revealed itself and I swear his little turtle beak silently mouthed to me, “Thanks for nothing, jerk.”
There’s probably a moral buried within this tale somewhere, but that’s something my children’s therapists will have to uncover.
As for me, I have officially decided the next time I see a turtle in the road, it’s on its own.broadcaster and Sportz Blitz team member.