It’s a bit of a slow news week, so today I’m going to dip into the backlog to cover a story you may have missed.
If you’re a normal person, it’s likely that you have never encountered the words “possum drop” used to describe a thing before, so some background is in order. It seems that our lovely NC hill folk (don’t ever change, hill folk!) have a time honored tradition of lowering a living possum from a pole in a plexiglass box on New Years Eve. This is, one must assume, a sort of backwoods equivalent to the NYC apple, or the (already pretty rustic) Raleigh Acorn.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: pretty sweet, right? I mean, using dogs to capture one of those horrifying nocturnal rodents, sealing it up in a transparent box, shining bright lights on it, shooting fireworks off near it, and watching it freak out to some hillbilly cover band rocking out Auld Lang Syne – seriously, what could be more awesome?
Well, according to PETA, not doing those things to a live possum would be more awesome.
So PETA used a silly thing called “the law” to shut down the party; although the state Wildlife Resources Commission issues special exemptions to the state’s animal cruelty legislation for the event, a judge ruled that they lacked the authority to do so. The net result? 2012-2013 was dropless.
Now, that might have been the end of this little tale, but as you may recall an important thing happened in Raleigh on January 5, 2013: Pat McCrory was sworn in. And top on the agenda?
Possum drop, motherfuckers.
And so, on February fourth, 2013, as one of the early legislative priorities of the new GOP ultra-hyper-majority, HB66 was born. The bill, in laymans terms, says: “shit yeah, possum drop it like it’s hot, bitches!” In slightly less laymans terms, it provides several additional categories of use for which the WRC can issue exemptions to animal cruelty regulations, including “exhibition” and the delightfully vague “or other purposes.”
Now, PETA’s not one to roll over and play dead (lolz, possum joke), so they enlisted the big guns: Bob Barker.
Now, dear reader, I know what you’re thinking: yes, apparently Bob Barker is still alive, and I guess he’s donated his body (including his mouth) to PETA. But alas, the bill’s sponsors were unswayed by his impassioned appeals:
“If you would think for a moment,” Davis joked, referring to Barker’s famous tag line, “If you could ask an opossum…would you rather be gently lowered in a Plexiglas box or be spayed or neutered?”
Oh man, what a burn. Representative Davis went on to present the event in the most positive light one could reasonably expect:
“It’s a good, wholesome event. It’s an economic development tool for the area”… “They take a live, well-fed, happy opossum, and they put the possum in a Plexiglas box and lower it,” he said. “It reaches the ground very gently at the stroke of midnight.”
Ah, it’s not so much a “drop in a cage,” as it is a descent from heaven on plexiglass wings. Oh, how I only wish I could know the joy that opossum must be feeling!
Unsurprisingly, governor Pencil Whip signed this sucker into law on March sixth, thus closing the brief chapter in state history where one could not get a permit to drop possums from poles.
And the hill folk rejoiced!