Spare a moment of thought, if you will, for that most wretched and despised of God’s creations, the opossum. Sometimes called simply a ‘possum,’ this primitive marsupial is most famous for its disgusting prehensile tail and its trick of playing dead when threatened. Opossums are also notable for having the smallest brain-to-body size ratio of all mammals. The combination of these factors ensures that the opossum is paramount among the world’s cowardly, hideous and stupid creatures.
No one advocates for the opossum, or regards it as anything other than filthy vermin. Washed-up, bloated celebrities won’t appear on late-night infomercials extolling the good works performed by the Opossum Relief Fund, while images of abused and neglected opossums play to sad music. Deranged old ladies never leave out bowls of milk for these skulking night-rats.
Not usually eaten in first-world nations (we know you just can’t help yourselves, Mississippi), the opossum’s life is denied even that value accorded to a barnyard hen. Unlike say, a robin or starling, nobody ever has a life-changing moment after killing an opossum with a BB gun. Quite the opposite in fact; it’s not uncommon to hear possum-killing described with great satisfaction: “I’m glad I drowned that filthy creature in a trashcan filled with motor oil and lawn clippings.”