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As entertaining as a dead opossum

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POSTED: August 12, 2010 1:04 p.m.
MOULTRIE — So how does modern man define entertainment?  This question came to me the other night as I watched “Billy the Exterminator.” There I was in my recliner watching some man dressed up like a rock star crawling under a house to retrieve a dead possum.  He’s a TV star because he can retrieve a dead possum?
Now Billy lives in Louisiana and is called upon each week via television programming to rid some house of an unwanted creature or creatures. Back in the days of three network channels and black and white reception, had you told me I would one day watch a man crawl under a house to remove a dead possum (full color and high definition) I would have said you were crazy.
I’m not sure why Billy dresses like a rock star to snatch an oak snake out of a tool box. He’s got on a funky cowboy hat, a long black leather coat (and this episode was in the summer) and has spikes sticking out of his clothes.  He just doesn’t fit the profile of an under-the-house possum guy.
 I mean, it’s not like he might get the urge to break out into some Lynard Skynard rendition while he’s lying prone under the kitchen floor where an armadillo has burrowed in for the winter.
I used to have to crawl under the old farm house to remove dead cats and dead chickens. I didn’t know back then that you could turn something like this into a business.  I guess I wasn’t a visionary.
And so there I was, surfing the channels for entertainment and Billy pops up on the screen, talking on his cell phone about a baby raccoon on top of a garage somewhere. I had an immediate suggestion: Leave it alone and it will climb down.
Apparently a lot of people watch this show. Occasionally Billy removes a rattlesnake or a cottonmouth and sometimes an alligator. But for the most part his retrievals are as harmless as bats, squirrels and feral cats.
Now I’m a country boy so I don’t get too excited by these kinds of creatures. But I realize that some non-country people can really get their blood pressure up over some nondescript invaders.
In that regard, one night on the Tonight Show, host Jay Leno featured ridiculous 911 calls. One woman called to report that a possum was on a tree limb staring at her through the kitchen window. The man from 911 advised her that the possum was harmless and that it would just go away. He was professional enough not to make fun of her alarm, but rather he calmed her down and sure enough the possum went away ... Billy wasn’t summoned.
Another caller to 911 said he had part of his anatomy hung in a bottle and wanted the 911 folks to alert his doctor that he was on his way for help. He said this had happened to him before and the doctor would know about his issue. Oh well, whatever. But if I was going to put this out for public review, I think I would have said that it was hung in a quart jar.
And yes, I know, this one has noting to do with Billy the Exterminator,  but I just couldn’t pass it up, and there wasn’t enough there to write a whole column about it.  However, I believe Billy could have rendered aid simply by tossing an oak snake on the fellow.
I pooh pooh the idea that a guy becomes a TV star by doing something  your grandkid ought to do or something I did as a kid and didn’t get paid for it.
Meanwhile Billy the Exterminator laughs all the way to the bank.

Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. Email: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com
 

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