I have this game that I play when I am on long car journeys with other people. I guess its a kind of like poker, but instead of cards, it involves animals that have met their untimely demise whilst investigating all that tarmac has to offer. Usually a more two-dimensional experience. But to break up the miles, and to alleviate the horror of so many ickle, smooshed-up fuzzies, the rules are as follows.

  • One point for unidentifiable roadkill, the completely flattened variable of animal squoosh.
  • Two points if the mess is recognisable as a bird
  • Three points for a mammal
  • Five points for a badger

The first person to reach six points is crowned the temporary winner. It is a somewhat hollow victory as I don’t think that being able to identify carcasses on the roadside is necessarily a skill that I would add to my CV, but it does serve as a temporary distraction. As a small addendum, if anything bigger than a badger is ever spotted, then its game over for that day. I once saw a horse in a lay-by. It did not make for the happy.

I am not sure why the badger became the holy grail of roadkill poker. I find badgers entirely majestic creatures. Once when travelling home late at night, one galloped (no word of a lie) across the road in front of me. I did not hit it, but I muchly enjoyed its apparent nonchalance. The badger could quite frankly have been terrified life for its life, but to my generalised perception, if I had to personify said badger, it was the king of all animal existence. It sauntered, smoked a cigarette (possibly whilst wearing a tiara) and gave me the eyeball as it crossed my path. Badgers are truly exceptional. I have also heard that hitting a badger can entirely write off a car. I would not be surprised if this were true.

I think that finding a way to come to terms with the random destruction in my environment has been really hard for me. So many things are so utterly beyond my control and that thought is almost as painful as the actuality. Sometimes I look at my friends and know that whatever words I have, however hard I listen, it just doesn’t feel like enough. Some stuff is so big. I can never truly know what anyone else is going through. And then I wondered why I felt I needed to take on the pain of others. Maybe just being present is enough.

But back to the badgers. The honey badger is my favourite animal. They can take down lions.

Map Point. What is important for me to acknowledge?





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