Necessity is the mother of invention, but I have a feeling the Internet is the granddaddy of the unintended consequences. It makes me nervous to think that if I were to die under dubious circumstances that triggered a forensic investigation, I would not come out looking good, especially when they started looking at my electronic footprint.
I admit that when I first heard about bump stocks, I didn’t know what they were, so I Googled it. But that is far from what I mean. I have never searched for ways to construct bombs from fertilizer or place a devise in my shoe to take a plane out of the sky. Who does something like that?! I am referring to surfing the web for questionable content of a sexual nature. But probably not in the way that “normal” people do.
At Peace River Wildlife Center, we don’t see armadillos frequently, so when we admitted one recently I was curious as to whether it was a male or female. Some young mammals have obvious differences between the two genders (like dogs and squirrels) while some are difficult to distinguish (like cats and rabbits.) Since Google is such a font of knowledge (you can even use it to determine if the correct idiom is “font” or “fount” of knowledge, and argue with yourself over the results), I decided to look it up. Instead of typing it out into the search bar “How to determine the sex of an armadillo,” I used veterinary shorthand “sexing armadillos.” I do not recommend you try this at home.
Equally embarrassing would be a search of my phone and recent texts. One of PRWC’s rehabbers had a male squirrel in home care with a urogenital issue. Many texts back and forth between the two of us included details of his symptoms, differential diagnoses, and treatment options. And, of course, pictures of the offending (offended?) member. Quite literally.
I also get into trouble when I can’t remember a specific word I am searching for in the vast emptiness that used to be my mind. I was trying to order hanging fabric pouches for our baby mammals on Amazon Smile the other day and could not come up with the appropriate words to type into the search bar to get what I wanted. We have one that is a favourite of all the baby squirrels and opossums that is shaped like a banana.
So, I typed in “banana hammock.” Again, please don’t try this at home. Or in the office, for that matter. especially not in the office. The results are not pretty. I did finally get some satisfactory results by adding the word “ferret,” but by then, the damage was done.
The armadillo was a female (we think), the squirrel is recovering from his malady, and I somehow managed to order a “double fleece hang-n-tent sleeper for small animals.” So, the ends justified the means, but I’m not sure if the forensic investigators will be able to follow it through to what is, to me, the obvious conclusion.
I’m afraid they would stop at the first squirrel penis photo and assume I deserved whatever horrible fate I had encountered. That I had somehow instigated being buried alive under an avalanche of Cheerio boxes. Or that I committed suicide by repeatedly slashing my wrists with tiny raccoon claws. Or maybe that the pressure had finally gotten to me and I was trying to build a bomb instead of what I was actually doing—trying to invent a bottle-holder for baby raccoons to give my tattered wrists a break. Please stick up for me if they call you in as a character witness.
by- Robin Jenkins, DVM