Artie the Armadillo

Why did the armadillo cross the road? Actually I wondered that same question about all of the animals that litter the roadsides, some might even say that I had a morbid curiosity.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t stop to prod at them, nor have I eaten at the Road Kill Grill, but I am interested in their justification for undertaking such a daring and often deadly journey.
Deer I can understand. They are able to leap a ten foot fence, that’s got to make a highway crossing look like a cake walk.
Most turtles have probably heard the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, which has given them an unrealistic concept of their speed.
And then there are the skunks, whose carcass counts seem to go up in direct correlation to their mating season… no further explanation needed.
That brings me back to the my friend the armadillo. Granted they have protective amour but by now they must realize it is of no use against the giant steel beasts they might face. Try as I might, there seemed to be no reason for them to risk life and limbs… that was until I had a totally unrelated conversation with my wife and daughter a few days ago.
We somehow wound up on the merit of athletics versus academics. Her brother being the one involved in the athletics, while she was more of the academic. The thrust of the discussion centered around the argument that praise was more prevalent with sports than with book work. My wife tried to explain that while sports did lend themselves more to vocal support, school work was just as important, if not more. Adding that school should be used to establish a strong foundation of knowledge and to enter adulthood with the necessary intelligence to succeed in life.
To which my daughter replied, “Dad is an intelligent guy and look at where that got him.”
All of the sudden I was right there with that armadillo, staring across four lanes of asphalt. The night before he probably was talking to his wife and daughter over dinner.
“You know Amy’s dad took them across the road to some lake front property,” she might have poked, “all the ants you can eat, I hear.”
His rebuttal was probably to the effect that his uncle had once lost his wife and two kids trying to make the crossing. Between worms and ants they had plenty anyway, it just isn’t worth the risk.
“That was 20 years ago dad,” she might have volleyed back, “do you understand the advancements that have been made in headlights, we could see the beasts from a mile away.”
So there he laid, on the edge of the highway, another victim of trying to find a better life for his family.
My daughter prodded for response to her question that had seemed much more like a statement to me.
I looked her in the eyes and asked, “Do you really want me to end up like Artie the Armadillo?”
She was confused by my reply. It seemed I had ended the debate and possibly avoided explaining why I had not attempted to cross the highway in search of a better existence for my pack, at least for the time being.


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