My family plays a game in the car that can only be called “Road Kill.” The object of the game is simple: Spot the road kill from a moving vehicle before the other occupants, and you get a point.
This game arose not because we have a particular affinity (or sympathy) for road kill, but because we are so competitive that we can’t take even a five-minute car ride without fighting tooth and nail for supremacy.
You’d think I’d have the advantage in this game because I am usually the one driving, but this is not the case. I’ve found that the act of paying attention to traffic, stop lights, and exit ramps sadly detracts from my Road Kill performance. The rules do benefit me some, though, being the driver. If we drive over a skunk that is already dead, I get the point. If we actually hit an animal of some kind, I get that point, too, but I may not hit one on purpose.
(Before you get up in arms, let me inject that I have never hit an animal on purpose, nor tried to hit an animal on purpose, and in fact, have hit very few animals. Once, a squirrel. Once an armadillo, and let me tell you, that’s a little like running over a football helmet that still has a head in it.)
The rules of Road Kill evolve during play. (A camel is 50 points. A human is 1,000,000.) We keep a running total until someone is so far ahead that the rest of us have no hope of winning, and then we start another round.
While it has provided hours of
amusement opportunity for us to battle, there are some unhappy side effects of this game. Most notably, you start to witness the ill effects suffered by the roadside dead if they remain for a few days. Hot, humid weather has a particularly unfortunate effect. And you start to notice when it is taking your local municipality a little too long to pick the stuff up. (“Were all the road kill picker-uppers on vacation last week, or what?”)
And I’m guessing the inevitable winter will put a damper on the game. It’s hard to spot road kill that’s covered in snow. We might have to develop a new game. Perhaps “spot the slipping pedestrian.”
No animals were harmed in the writing of this post. I mean it!