Spring, Leviathan back in the air


Tired of hearing about Barrack Obama’s vile-spewing preacher friend? Fed up with stories about Hillary Clinton dodging imaginary sniper bullets on her way to a tea party? Has your stomach taken as much as it can when envisioning the very thought of John McCain having an affair with, well, anybody?

Darin J. McCannDarin J. McCann

Turn to spring, my friends. Turn to spring.

Though we’ve been dampened a little bit by recent weather, there’s certainly something different in the air during spring. Flowers are beginning to bloom, my beloved Baltimore Orioles are up to their old tricks by starting out hot before they crash and burn and take my heart down with them, it’s staying light out longer and that little voice is back in my head, screaming, “Get out of that office! Go chase a golf ball!”

You have to love spring. This time of year always gives me a little burst of energy that had been sorely lacking over the winter months. I love seeing some of the restaurants open their doors again, and it’s always exciting to see what new businesses will pop up on the landscape with a new season. There’s a song in my heart when I drive home from work, and it’s hard to not just break out in dance when that barbecue grill gets fired up for the first time of the year.

Did I mention that I love spring?

That being said, I did have a major moment of anxiety the other morning. There I was, sitting at my desk and looking over the stories for this week’s paper, when I heard some activity going on in the office. People were flying down the steps and out the front door to see something, and my curiosity rose a little bit before I heard an ominous statement from downstairs.

“Leviathan’s in the parking lot,” said one of our more easily-distracted employees.

I hate spring.

For those of you who don’t know about my little relationship with Leviathan, I’ll provide a little re-cap. Leviathan is a raccoon. Actually, to say Leviathan is a raccoon is like saying Tiger Woods merely plays golf. Leviathan is a beast — comprising of immense stature and a nasty attitude. He also seems to make a habit out of specifically taunting me when I leave the office late at night, and there has been more than one physical confrontation between us. The last time ended with the gargantuan critter placing me in a headlock until I pounded the pavement in obvious submission — only to rally when he released his grip by pummeling him with a series of blows to the ribs and ...

But I digress.

Obviously, we haven’t actually gotten into a physical altercation, but we’ve had some close moments. He’s made a habit out of appearing right next to my car or staring at me from a distance while I warily made my escape to safety. I tried to be aggressive to him once by moving quickly in his direction and making loud noise, but he just greeted that tactic with a shrug of his colossal shoulders and a yawn.

Leviathan’s back, I thought to myself. And the game resumes.

The people who went outside were telling me that the raccoon looked sick, and was limping a bit. They said he was hiding under a car in the parking lot. I knew at that moment that it wasn’t Leviathan. He hides from no man.

But it was enough to get the thought in my head that I will probably soon be seeing my worthy adversary yet again. If one has appeared in the parking lot, then the boss of raccoons would soon follow. I chalked up this first sighting as a recon raccoon, sent ahead of Leviathan and his charges to establish residence and scout out possible enemies — much like the Secret Service checking out a location before the president arrives.

As my blood pressure began to rise, I made a mental note to myself to not let the beast beat me this year. Oh, I still anticipate running into my striped foe from time to time, and I imagine I’ll shed a few tears over his tormenting before the end of summer, but I harken back to my father’s advice that there’s no use getting upset over something you can’t control. And nobody controls Leviathan.

I even began contemplating the notion that Leviathan may not be living here this year. I did a little research and discovered that raccoons do not hibernate over the winter, they become torpid — meaning that they do wake up a few times over the winter and go out to hunt for food from time to time. Since I had not seen Leviathan all winter long, I wondered if he found a new location. I also learned that wild raccoons usually live between five and eight years. I’ve been seeing Leviathan in the parking lot for four years now, and he’s always been huge, so there’s a chance he hit his expiration date over the winter.

Then I remembered some sage advice I received when I was in the Marine Corps — always overestimate your opponent.

That stuck with me. If I prepare like Leviathan is going to be back soon, get myself in a mental state where I am constantly prepared for a visit from him and plot out at least three escape routes from the parking lot, I have a chance. On the flip side, if I assume he’s moved or passed on, I could find myself on the wrong end of a wedgie when I’m reaching out to unlock my car door.

No way do I want to go through that indignity again.