A Misunderstood Mercy Killing
It is with great sorrow that I set this sordid tail before you today. I have officially fallen off the pedestal in my young nephews eyes. The last time we visited I was “Fun Auntie Kristen Who Makes the Little Mermaid Puppet into a Rampaging Beast That Tickles You Mercilessly and Screams Out the Lyrics to Disney songs in a Fun Off key Manner” No more. Now I am “Evil, Bug Slaughtering Auntie Kristen Whose Misguided Attempts to Elicit Empathy have Enraged my Mother and Caused Permanent Damage to my Tender Psyche.”
It all began when the cousins caught a stink bug. Now the only girl carefully set up a bug habitat which included a doll blanky, a deflated balloon, and an old poppy seed muffin. Then all three cousins brought the stinkbug in his carefully concocted environment up to our house. All went well for several minutes and then I hear wails of heartbreaking intensity. I rush out to discover that sweet boy #2 has maimed the stinkbug. Several of its limbs are missing and it is obviously suffering. I say “We can’t let it suffer.” And resolutely stepped forward quickly putting the stinkbug out of its misery.
Anguish! Heartache! Trauma!
The youngest and fiercest cousin looked at me with eyes that brimmed full of betrayal and screamed for his Mommy. I followed him down the stairs trying to explain that it was for the best. I attempted to elicit his empathy by imagining how he would feel after loosing four or five limbs. I wanted him to realize that what I had done was actually for the best. But what actually happened was less satisfactory. “If you suddenly lost an arm…” My sister in law stopped me: “You would what? Squish him too!” I backpedaled furiously. That was not what I was going to say, and yet I could clearly see the train of her logic as it veered horribly out of control.
The moral of this terrible tail of woe is obvious. If one must officiate over the mercy killing of a beloved insect there are several rules that must be adhered to and will make the sad day more bearable for all.
- Stretch the truth. I’m not saying lie. I would never say that. Just tell them that the bug in question obviously needs to go outside where the air is fresh and the snow is crunchy.
- Distract any determined helpers with a well placed edible something. Make a trail of TicTacs or fruit snacks leading away from your chosen euthanization site.
- Move quickly. Squash the bug in haste and fling its corpse far far out into nature. When its champions come and question you, say “See there it is way over there by that cute little flower, or snowflake, depending on the season.
- Be vague. If questioned about the livliness of the insect say encouraging things like: “Remember how much fun he used to have in the grass, crawling and nibbling on the leaves? This is for the best, all bugs need to rest surrounded by nature in order to feel like whole and complete beings fulfilled in every buggy fashion.”
- If all else fails. Give them a special treat. A small bribe…cough cough, reward for excellence, goes a long way towards renewing severed family ties. Use this step liberally and they just might forgive you within the next decade… or two.