(I) Mock Turtle (And Wish He Were In A) Soup

I used to like turtles. Now I think I hate them. All of them.

As the weather gets better, Kelly and I like to go for walks after work. We live right by Landen Lake [something we'll miss when we move and become city folk], so it's a beautiful two and a half mile walk around the water to relieve the day's stressful moments. When we got home Monday we changed, put on our walking shoes and went for a stroll around the lake. Early on in the walk, on part of the trail along Simpson Trace, Kelly spied a turtle in the middle of the road. We looked behind us and a jeep was heading straight toward him. Kelly averted her eyes, but the creature somehow survived. Feeling compassion for the poor, defenseless turtle in the middle of the road, I crossed the street to grab him. He had a decent sized shell, about eight inches long, so it was tough for me to grab him in one hand [I could never palm a basketball either]. I was able to get a hold of him, but he didn't act like a normal box turtle and hide in his shell. No, this turtle popped his head out, hissed at me and took a swipe at my hand with his beak or whatever you call that hook-like mouth. Yep, it was a snapping turtle.

I grew up in a farm-like, suburban area where we were in constant contact with wild animals, but I don't think I've seen a snapping turtle in twenty years. Our dog once found this snapping turtle that was huge; his shell was about a foot and a half long. Somewhere we have a Polaroid of my father holding this massive snapping turtle by the leg. I remember that, at the age of ten, I found a turtle of that sheer magnitude frightening enough that I didn't take notice of his constant snapping. But now that I think about, that turtle took a bite out of our dog's nose. If, when Kelly pointed out the turtle in the road, I had remembered the attributes of that turtle so long ago, I most likely would've left him in the street to suffer death by Lexus.

So when the turtle took a swipe at my hand, I went into my form of survival mode and flung him into the grassy median in the middle of the road. At this point I was ticked off at the critter, but still worried about his well being so I continued the rescue mission. I grabbed him again by the shell and he repeated his gesture of self defense, trying to take off one of my fingers [later I was tempted to offer him one of my digits free of charge]. This time I dropped him on the asphalt; he landed like a hubcap, briefly swiveling from side-to-side. I decided to end the escapade by then kicking said turtle across the road into the grass. As we walked away, the turtle was still hissing at me, totally unaware that I had probably saved his Shredder-hatin' shell from extinction.

Now I could end this story with some allegory about how my saving the turtle and him being unaware that I was helping and not hurting is just like blah, blah, blah [insert spiritual lesson here]. But I don't give a rip. That turtle sucked. I want to go back a kick it again. My lesson is always let the animal in the middle of the road die. If the good Lord didn't want them to get hit by automobiles, He wouldn't have invented paved roads.

And I might never wear a turtleneck again.