One of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits was when John Larroquette played a recently deceased guy and Dana Carvey played the angel he meets when he goes to heaven. The angel asks the deceased guy "Anything you want to know?" and after a bit of conversation the deceased guy asks "What's the grossest thing I ever ate?" The angel quickly says "You don't want to know." The deceased guy says, "Okay, what's the 200th grossest thing?" and the angel replies "That would be some butterscotch pudding that had a dead earwig in it."
The dog has gotten so much better with vacuuming the street, but occasionally she'll grab something off the sidewalk before I can kick it out of the way. Sometimes I don't know what I'm fishing out of her mouth and last week I wrangled a flattened and stiff bird part from between her teeth. (There was a beak, a head and a bit of something else.) A fellow dog owner referred to it as a 'bird chip' and for the record that bird chip barely makes the top ten things I've fished out of the dog's mouth. The week before she got her jaws around a massive cockroach, also dead, and that makes the bottom of the top ten because a cockroach beats a bird chip any day in terms of not wanting to touch.
After 9/11 our neighborhood changed in many ways and one that's been long lasting is the kind of wildlife and vermin we now have. One of my close high school friends was a flight attendant on the first plane through the towers and ten days after they fell, when I was packing to go to her memorial, my phone rang with "Has the infestation reached you yet?" The caller lived eleven blocks south of me and they were being overrun with cockroaches. Right as they asked a giant waterbug lumbered across my living room floor and I panicked. It made sense - the vermin had to go somewhere. Bizarrely, I had crickets right after the towers fell, the most beautiful, sleek black crickets that tweeted comfort for two days then went silent. Crickets were okay, but cockroaches weren't and I left for my friend's memorial unsure of what I'd come back to.
What I came back to was getting mugged at knifepoint by a transvestite who was better dressed than me, but no cockroaches. Seagulls, rats the size of cats, doves, a hawk and a praying mantis moved onto the block and stayed. Praying mantis look like floating fairies when they fly and though they're the rarest thing I still occasionally see one. Last night the dog ate a ladybug, which I love, so I'll have to keep my eyes out for Tinkerbell, should she fly by.