A conversation about stuffed raccoons with my teen girl

First – did you know that the plural of raccoon isn’t raccoons? Or maybe spell check just never expected there to be more than one raccoon per sentence. Who knows?  (ETA – spell check keeps red underlining “raccoons” even though raccoons is the correct spelling. I know, I googled it.)

But I’m currently reading “Furiously Happy” by The Bloggess herself – aka Jenny Lawson – as she’s coming to town for a book reading/signing – and yes, I have plans to be there.

Now, the teen girl, Miriam, had a teacher last year who hated raccoons. So of course, being eighth graders, her class came up with an idea of stalk their teacher with raccoons. This is how teens show love. The teacher had a love of Johnny Depp, so my daughter used her school issued laptop to find pictures of Johnny Depp and transplant his head onto a raccoon’s body – or vice versa – and dubbed the creature Johnny Coon. Then made a bunch of copies of Johnny Coon to tuck all over the teacher’s classroom.

And you wonder why I want to give wine as teacher gifts.

So I’m reading a book with a happy stuffed raccoon on the cover, right? Surely this is a great way to bond with the girl.

“Hey Mim, fyi, I’m going to this book reading/signing thing. Want to come with? The book’s about a taxidermy raccoon named Rory.”

“What’s taxidermy?”

“When they stuff a dead animal.”

The girl’s eyebrows shot up. “WHAT?”

“Well, the book’s about other things too…but here! Look at the cover! Isn’t it cute?” <thrusts book cover at daughter>

look how happy he is
look how happy he is

The daughter frowned at  me. “It looks demented.”

“But happy demented!”


I opened to inside cover, which has drawings of the raccoon riding an orange tabby cat. “See here? It’s a depiction of the time the writer tried to pose Rory on her cat…then her husband yelled at her and the cat took of running and the raccoon stayed on!”

Now my teen daughter is just eyeing me like I’ve lost my damn mind, so I went back to reading the book.

“Oh hey! There’s actually two of them!” I stated, turning the book so my teen can see the picture of the two Rorys.

“They killed TWO raccoons to stuff??” she exclaimed in that horrified tone only teens can use.

“Oh no…they didn’t kill them…they died of natural causes.” I explained.

“Oh.” the girl said, relieved.

“Yeah, like by a Ford. Maybe Chrysler.”


“No, they didn’t. Someone else did. Then the taxidermist came and scraped them off the road and gave meaning to the raccoon’s death.”


I don’t think the girl’s going to go with me to the book reading…