So as I’m reaching up and turning the shut-off valve for a water line, I think of the scene in The Poseidon Adventure (1972) when Gene Hackman is suspended above flames, holding onto the valve, twisting it shut as his hands grab up and pull down, trying to shut-off the hot steam blocking the path to safety of the last group of survivors of the overturned ship. Every last bit of strength he has is going into the self-sacrificing task, that will save his friends’ lives, but end his own.
It’s a good thing he didn’t see what I saw above me. An opossum, opening his mouth wide in my direction. If Hackman had seen what I had seen, well, the movie would’ve ended ten minutes earlier, and with not one survivor to be seen.
By the way, do you know the difference between an opossum, and a possum? Look it up yourself, an enabler I am not.
What did this opossum look-like? Remember the movie The Angry Red Planet (1959)? Of course you do, you just don’t want to admit it. Remember the 40 foot tall bat-rat alien? (see picture below). That’s what the opossum looked like. But less orange.
I did what most people would do in my situation of being in a dark space with a creature that for all I know just got back from shopping at Rabies-R-Us, — I ran away.
The only problem with running away at that moment, I was standing on a ladder. Simple math; RUNNING AWAY + BEING ATOP A LADDER = FALLING. They say you can die from a fall of just a few feet from off a ladder. Fortunately, my fall was slowed by the ceiling grids and tile in the drop-ceiling, as well as the ladder and the wall, all of which “cushioned” me before I hit the floor.
This would have been a good time to rest, lay down, stock of the situation, and contemplate the pros and cons of my chosen career path, but I wasn’t sure if the opossum stayed in the ceiling, or had joined me on my trip south. No time for rest.
Just as I thought, the opossum hadn’t joined me. He realized he had met his match, and made a hasty exit.
Later, I was telling a plumber what had happened. “Did you catch it?” he asked. Catch it? You mean the act of not allowing the distance between me and the opossum to increase exponentially? I guess that question makes sense when you know that the plumber was from Alabama. To him the words “opossum” and “lunch” are synonyms.
Except for a gash on the leg and a scrape on the back, I was fine. Good thing it wasn’t a steam pipe.