'Dillers, beware!

‘Dillers, beware!

In English 1002 one day last week, I was introducing a poem in our literature anthology entitled “Dead Armadillos” by a contemporary poet, Gail White. The poem starts out on the subject of road kill, but the verses wind along, using the armadillo as an example, to ultimately reveal a disappointing propensity in human nature that’s much more universal than the demise of lowly ‘dillers. And so we prepared to discuss the poem, which depicts the disgusting imagery of the misfortunate roadside carnage that is so familiar to all who drive southern highways.

I once shot an armadillo in the woods as a hunter, many years ago, an act I avowed thereafter never to repeat, because an armadillo once mortally wounded performs 2 or 3 acts of sickening aerial acrobatics accompanied by a disconcerting death rattle. The scene is about as grotesque and unsettling as a chicken’s death dance after having it’s neck wrung in preparation for the frier’s kettle. So I started the poem discussion with a question:” Have any of y’all have ever shot an armadillo?”

Five hands went up out of twenty-something in the room. That wasn’t surprising, considering these are rural Louisiana youth from mostly rural areas.

But what was astonishing was that three of the five were girls. 18-19 year old Louisiana girls. More girls in the class had shot an armadillo than guys!

No doubt, some reading the title of this blog and the first paragraph about road kill probably jumped to the stereotypical conclusion that armadillos should fear Louisiana girls because these girls are typical female drivers, ergo more likely to crush armadillos on the streets and highways in cars than superior-driving males. But that stereotype be exploded and the truth be known: alas poor armadillo, the Louisiana girl you’d better fear is not the one driving the Toyota Camray, but the one toting a 16 gauge shotgun in the field behind the house!

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