Armadillo On The Half Shell

By: Tim-Knox


Have you ever wondered who first figured out what man should and should not eat? I mean, at some point near the beginning of time, there must have been someone who sat down on a rock and decided that man should eat cows, but not crocodiles; that he should devour pigs and chickens and fish, but not lions and tigers and bears. Who was this prehistoric Galloping Gourmet and what was his connection to the "Wizard of Oz?" Unfortunately, we'll probably never know.

If early man was anything like his modern-day counterpart, it's a pretty safe bet that only those animals that were easy to catch and didn't try to eat you in return were put on the edibles list. Though early man is thought to have had a brain the size of a peach pit, he probably didn't have to see too many of his cave buddies eaten by giant iguanas to figure out that prehistoric cow meat made for a much healthier diet. That being the case, it was fear and laziness that determined what the menu for mankind was to be. And it's a good thing, too. Had our ancestors taken a bit more initiative, your favorite food today might be badger on a stick. Can you say, "Mmm Mmm, good!"

From a Biblical point of view, perhaps it was Adam who planned the world's first menu. "Hey, Eve, look! These platypus tails aren't bad if you dip them in a little honey mustard. In fact, they kind of taste like chicken! Put them on the 'can eat' list!"

Hmm... Maybe it was a good thing Eve wasn't much of a listener, after all.

No matter who performed those first taste-tests, thereby establishing the dietary standard for mankind for generations to come, I believe that, throughout time, God has looked down occasionally and yelled, "Hey, stupid! You're not supposed to eat THAT!"

When I was growing up on a small farm in rural Limestone County, we were completely self-sufficient (the politically-correct term for being too poor to purchase food). If we couldn't grow it in a field or raise it in a pen or squeeze it from a cow, we didn't consume it. We grew it, we killed it, we ate it, period. Needless to say, there were a lot of jumpy animals around our house. Even my dog had a nervous tick (sorry, the joke was there, I had to use it).

We never went out to eat, either. To us, fast food simply meant that we couldn't catch it on foot. Perhaps we should have tried running it down with my old man's truck. I never considered that an option until I read about what's going on in West Virginia, a state which, until now, has been primarily known for giving the world such great punchlines as: "If she ain't good enough for her own family she ain't good enough for ours!" and "Not with my pig, you don't!" and "That's the last time I let a shoe salesman use MY outhouse!" But now West Virginia has done what no other state in the union has ever had the mountain oysters to do. It has given the thumbs up to drive-over dining. I think I'm gonna have to have some ketchup for this one.

Check out this story from last week's Associated Press:

Road Kill Is Now Dinner In West Virginia
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia motorists who run down the odd critter can legally take it home for dinner under a law passed by the Legislature. The bill, which has made West Virginia the butt of jokes nationally, would let drivers keep their road kill provided they report it to conservation or police officers within 12 hours. The measure became law when Gov. Cecil Underwood declined to veto it by a Thursday deadline. Pro-road kill legislators envision people eating deer hit on he road, but the bill allows drivers to take home any wildlife, except protected birds, spotted fawn or bear cubs. Proponents said if drivers can be encouraged to eat their road kill, the state would save money it now pays Division of Highways workers to remove the dead animals. Current law allows people to take possession of road kill only after they've contacted authorities, by then the meat has spoiled, said supporters.

The only gray area in this law is what technically constitutes road kill. By its very name, road kill is "something killed on the road," so it shouldn't be too hard to establish a rule of thumb. Something simple, like: "if the driver has to jump a curb and/or slam through a barbed-wire fence to accidentally hit and kill the animal, they have gone too far." And no backing up just to make sure dinner is done, either. Under the law, that would be considered "over-tenderizing."

I have to wonder what effect this law will have on how West Virginians eat. Imagine this being rattled off by the peppy waiter at TGIFriday's: "Howdy. The name's Merle, and I'll be your waiter this evening. Today's specials are Armadillo on the Half Shell, Skunk TarTar, Squirrel Flambe, Iguana Gumbo... and we also have a lovely Raccoon Rockefeller for only $7.99."

Gives a whole new meaning to the term, "scattered, smothered, chunked and smashed," doesn't it?

The road kill law is not without its critics. Dr. Hannah Barberra, spokeswoman for the animal rights group "Defenders Of Other Dumb Animals" or "DOO-DA" for short, had this to say: "The road kill law gives humans a license to drive and kill. Imagine a world full of Wyle E. Coyotes driving two-thousand pound automobiles. That's what we have to look forward to if eating road kill becomes the norm."

When asked about the rumor that DOO-DA plans to set up booby-trapped ducks, rabbits and road runners along West Virginia's highways to discourage hungry motorists, Dr. Barberra declined to comment, other than to say that whatever her group does, no actual animals will be harmed.

Thank goodness. I'd hate to see innocent animals getting hurt just because mankind has decided to expand the menu.

Now, grab the honey mustard, Elmer, and let's go for a ride.

I'm getting awful hungry.

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From "Small Business Q&A" With Tim Knox Tim Knox is a nationally-known entrepreneur, author, speaker, and radio show host. Tim has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs realize their business dreams. To learn more please visit www.timknox.com

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