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Reasons Why Being a Possum is Probably Not the Best Idea By: Emily Williamson

My high school chemistry teacher was known for a speech he would give to the class after the most difficult test of the year.

At Amarillo High School, this speech was known by all as the Lion and Gazelle speech. The point of the speech was to remind each student that, in the context of our own education, we could either be a lion or a gazelle. Lions were the students who would take initiative, studying for the test well in advance and acing the content. Gazelles were the students who neglected to study, allowing a test date to sneak up and get the best of them.

I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my teacher, Mr. Armstrong, after his speech. What I remember most clearly was the comment I made about my lion-gazelle status.

“Mr. Armstrong, I said. I don’t think I’m a lion or a gazelle. I think I would rather be a possum… they play dead when life gets hard. There’s less running involved if you’re a possum.”

Apparently Mr. Armstrong thought I was joking.

Since my sophomore year of high school, I have done a lot of thinking and research about the lion-gazelle-possum debate. This research has led me to believe that there are many reasons why being a possum is probably not the best idea.

First, possums do not actually “play dead” like many believe. Possums will get so scared or caught off guard that their biological response is to enter into an involuntary catatonic state. This fear-induced paralysis is actually gross to behold, as the scene is complete with drool and unpleasant smells from the animal.

Second, if you were a possum in the year 1916 living in Possum Hollow, you might have been hunted by the members of the Simmons College (Hardin-Simmons University) Philomathian Literary Society. The boys in the Society hunted possums and roasted three of them on a spit over a campfire one October Saturday evening. Personally, I would not mind being pursued by a man who wants to be my husband; however, I think being hunted as food source is a bit too extreme.

Nowadays there are no HSU Philomathian Literary Society boys running around hunting possums. However, there is a chance that a few possums have been taken down by an HSU student driving to or from school.

There are plenty more reasons I could list to support my new opinion that being a possum is not the best option, but I hope that these two main points were enough to convince you. Remember, 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) says God “has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, loveand self-discipline.”

During the rest of the semester, do not be a possum paralyzed by fear. Instead, walk in boldness and faith in the plans that the Lord has for you.


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