I come to you straight from reading a news story from Decatur, Indiana.
A 74-year-old woman called the police because three deer had broken into her apartment and were crashing around, breaking everything and wreaking the kind of havoc you’d expect to see in “Animal House” outtakes.
According to the story, the woman was “amazingly calm throughout the terrifying ordeal.” Indeed, she was sitting on her couch when police arrived.
Perhaps she had sought refuge there, or perhaps she was watching “The View,” but I like to think she chose to be comfortable since she didn’t have much choice.
We all like to imagine we’d act heroically should calamity strike, and we might even fantasize about certain situations: a burglar breaks in, and we win his confidence, give him a few dollars and send him home to his family; or a delinquent tries to steal our car and we listen to his troubles while stealthily tying his wrists with jumper cables, which are usually coiled up in the well behind the back seat, but for the purposes of this daydream just happen to be in our lap when the action starts.
The story about deer leaping through the window and prancing around the house – that’s straight from the news report, by the way; the animals “pranced wildly” in the living room, then hid in the bathroom – is not the kind of daydream most people concoct. We tend to prefer more serious-sounding peril.
Not that three full-grown deer inside a house aren’t serious. I like deer, but even I have imagined the shock of hitting a deer on the highway hard enough to put the animal in the front seat of my car. Just the thought of a panicky, likely injured, possibly antlered animal suddenly riding shotgun on top of my purse and my cloth grocery bags can leave me a little dizzy. I refuse to so much as think about a trio of deer in the bathroom, beyond hoping I’m not in there with them.
I’m sure the woman on the couch never anticipated this situation either, but she kept her head, summoned help and probably maintained her composure even after several officers arrived and one of them flattened her on the couch, protecting her with his body. What with all the wild prancing, the crush in the bathroom, and now this guy, she might even have briefly recalled her misspent youth.
But I don’t mean to suggest the situation wasn’t scary. As the pictures suggest, three deer inside an apartment go a long way toward filling it up, even if the place has 1.5 baths.
Ultimately, I’m glad to report, the woman was escorted from her home and the deer were evacuated safely, though two of the three first were tranquilized. It all ended happily – except, the story notes, the apartment was wrecked and the two sedated deer no doubt woke up with dry mouths and terrific headaches.
But even as I read this story, part of me was saying, “Oh yes, another deer gets into a house and crashes around” story. Now that we have the internet, we can read about this sort of thing all day long: bears lounging in hot tubs, alligators taking over picnics and a dog in a Texas animal shelter who escaped from her cage and caused three deer’s worth of damage, leading shelter workers to think they’d been burglarized, at least until they watched the security tape.
Had anyone told me in the mid-20th century that animal news and weird news and sentimental news and even risque news would be available 24/7, I’d have thought paradise was just around the corner. After all, I was a bored pre-teen who checked the movie ads every day, hoping another cute Hayley Mills movie would come to my hometown theater. I looked forward to seeing Red Skelton on Sunday evenings. I hula-hooped.
Now every last thing is at my fingertips every single second, and you know what I almost – almost – find myself wanting?
Write to Margo Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.