EIGHINGER: Just another day in the life of Captain America - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

EIGHINGER: Just another day in the life of Captain America

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First of all, my knowledge of animals is limited at best. And "limited" is probably an exaggeration.

Sure, I have a dog. I feed Ashes, take her outside and we spend a lot of quality time together watching TV and eating pizza. But as far as really knowing anything about her I have no clue. That's why we have veterinarians.

Secondly, even if I were a reincarnation of Jack Hanna or Marlin Perkins, I doubt it would have mattered.

Thirdly, in all of the years I have had cable and satellite TV channels at my beckon call, I have never watched that Animal Planet network. Never.

So when our neighbor, Jane, requested my assistance a few days ago for an "animal" matter, I had to wonder what she was thinking because:

º A. I know nothing about animals. (I think I have firmly established that.)

º B. I am not a brave man, and have never pretended to be. My threshold for pain is virtually non-existent.

Though I obviously wondered what Jane was thinking, I was actually kind of flattered she thought I might be able to help. (Well, actually, she asked my wife first, who then referred the situation to me. So the bottom line was really what in the world was my wife thinking because she does know me and realizes my limitations -- all of them.)

The problem dealt with Jane's house being under siege by a huge snapping turtle that apparently had found its way from the creek that runs behind both of our houses to the middle of her driveway. This just wasn't any run-of-the-mill snapping turtle, it was huge. It was probably about the size of Maryland, and it was mean.

I was in the quiet of my mancave watching a NASCAR race when I heard my wife yell from the front door, "Steve! Come here! Jane needs help."

I bolted from the mancave (well, kind of ... ) and upon arrival at the door, I looked to the north toward Jane's and there it was, this combination of Godzilla and a Transformer. It was as if Optimus Prime had been mated with one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In a moment of true heroism, I looked my wife directly in the eyes as Jane stood petrified in her front yard, "Well, what do you want me to do?"

In her brilliance of the moment, my wife told me to "get a stick, a broom, and see if it will bite on to it and you can move it."

I thought about that for a second and then replied, "You get a stick! That thing is huge."

About that time she gave me The Look, and I went and found an old broom and tried to sneak up behind Godzilla.

Yeah, that worked about as well as you might imagine. I got within five feet of the gigantus reptillius, and it turned on me and stuck its head out of a massive shell and hissed at me, then spewed some sort of venom.

I needed a plan. I looked at Jane, who probably felt I was some sort of Captain America trying to rescue her from this threat to mankind. So I thought to myself, "What would Captain America do?"

The captain decided to look at his wife, who stood about 10 feet away. She then turned and motioned for Steve the neighbor guy, who was outside working on his Jeep, to come over.

Reinforcements! Yes! Together, we can save the world.

Steve made his way up the street to Jane's driveway, examined the situation, sneaked up behind Godzilla, reached down and grabbed him. He then disappeared around the corner of the house, heading toward the creek. He returned Godzilla to his natural habitat, and the world as we know it was saved.

Steve returned moments later, detailing the clawing action of Godzilla. There were scratches, but no lost limbs. My thoughts were twofold:

º A. Steve, you are the man.

º B. Better him than me.

After we retold this story several times in the midst of Jane's driveway, it was time to return to the mancave. I wiped the sweat from my brow and returned to the comfort of NASCAR.

Just another day in the life of Captain America.

-- seighinger@whig.com/221-3377

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