OK, if you must know, I’m a bunny hater.
This kind and gentle soul of the ’70s who knew every word to “Bless the Beasts and Children” — the bleeding-hearted hippie girl who could never hurt a fly, much less an adorable, hippity-hoppity wabbit — has grown b-b-b-bad to the bone.
Hating bunnies. Is there a faster, more direct, one-way ticket to Hell than that?
But, I do. I hate them. I loathe them so much, I’m taking it out on the dog.
“Go get ‘em, Lucy!” I cry, hopefully, as I release her to the outdoors where four young rabbits brazenly gnaw the last of my portulacas.
She sprints after them, as fast as her little cocker spaniel legs can carry her, but to no avail. Those hateful hares scatter in all directions, darting under the deck, through the fence, behind the shed and into the neighbors’ yard.
Lucy slinks back to the house, frustrated and ashamed. I feel sorry for her, but I can’t contain my disappointment.
“You ain’t NEVER caught a rabbit, and you ain’t no friend of mine,” I say, disapprovingly.
(There’s no guilt so deep as the bunny-hating/dog-shaming variety. Unless you throw spoiling-your-kids into the mix.)
It’s a whole new level of mean to hate bunnies — unlike other yard varmints such as squirrels, opossums and skunks — especially when one was raised on Beatrix Potter. As a preschooler, I adored the tale of Peter Rabbit and his sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. My first “big girl bed” was painted with their cuddly likenesses. Now, at 55, I’ve morphed into Mr. McGregor, chasing those pesky pests around with a garden hoe.
Still, I’m haunted by that Carpenters’ song: “Bless the beasts and the children, for in this world, they have no voice. They have no choice.”
I’ve even started planning their demise in my dreams. Sometimes, I’ll force a scared rabbit to walk the plank, poking its furry white tail with my dandelion weeder.
“Say your prayers, Little Bunny Foo Foo!” I snarl. “You’re going overboard!”
Other times, I’ll slip a noose around its neck, or give the order to execute the critter by firing squad.
“READY ... AIM ...”
Before I can complete the command, he looks at me, helpless, those big rabbit eyes piercing my own. Karen and Richard pop back into my brain:
“Bless the beasts and the children. Give them shelter from the storm. Keep them safe. Keep them warm.”
The bunny guilt! I can’t stand it! I run to the rabbit, arms outstretched, and place a tiny black hood over his little head.
“FIRE!!” I scream. And the guns blaze.
That’s just in my fantasy life, of course. In reality, I scream “Shoo,” wave my arms like a madwoman, and put rubber snakes in the flower beds.
Sometimes, I’ll stand there counting like I used to do with the kids: “I’ll give you the count of three to hightail it out of this yard: One ... two … two-and-a-half … two-and-three-quarters.” (Never worked with the kids; doesn’t work with rabbits.) Occasionally, I’ll pick up a rock and pretend to throw it. But, my form is so bad, even the bunnies know I couldn’t hit the side of a barn.
It’s gotten so bad, I’ve come to resent ALL rabbits: Bugs, Br’er, Roger, Jessica. I’ve already canceled Easter next year. The other day, I took the Energizer batteries out of the remote and replaced them with generics, just for spite.
I’m glad my father isn’t alive to see this. The man had a thing for Thumper. Not in a sick, kinky way, but in the way a normal adult male can be overcome by the cuteness of a Disney forest creature. (It happens.) Dad memorized every line that darling rabbit ever uttered in “Bambi.” And when Thumper became “twitterpated,” thwacking his hind foot like a little jackhammer, the old man fell to pieces.
I’m sorry about this rant. I really am. It’s just that the bunnies living under our deck have destroyed about a hundred dollars worth of plants this spring. Don’t they know gas is approaching four bucks a gallon? Money is tight! Like Elmer Fudd, I think I’ve got a right to stew a little.
Wait a minute! Did someone say “stew”? Here, wabbit, wabbit, wabbit ...