I think this may be the most suburban thing I've ever said in my life, but here goes anyway: we're having a bit of trouble with gophers on our front lawn. I said that to a friend last week in a bar, and I swear I could see his eyes glaze over before I even got to the second syllable in "gophers." Hey, young people: whatever you think you're going to become when you're twelve or eighteen or twenty-three, chances are it's not a person who laments things like gopher holes on your front lawn. But I've got news for you: one day you'll wake up and you'll be thirty-two with a mortgage and you'll find yourself at Lowe's on a Saturday morning buying bags of dried blood.
Say what now? Come again?
Dried blood, according to the very knowledgable man in the Lowe's garden department—he was almost too knowledgable, honestly; I mean, come on, who knows that much about gophers and doesn't go home to his mother's basement to stick pins in a homemade effigy of Jessica Alba while listening to Judas Priest backwards?—is kryptonite to gophers. If we bought a bag of dried blood, swore this dude at Lowe's, then went home and sprinkled it on our front lawn and in our flowerbeds, the gophers would be so disgusted that they'd flee our front lawn as though we'd shown up in our slankets proposing a marathon of Celebrity Apprentice while we clipped our toenails and sang along to Celine Dion.
"Do you....sell this dried blood?" I asked him hesitantly, half afraid of the answer, and mostly hoping I wasn't going to have to hand someone a wad of cash under a table, which—seeing as I can't even tip a bellman without making the whole transaction screamingly awkward—is something I can't ever imagine being smooth enough to do.
"Yeah, totally," he said. "Aisle three."
"Great," I said. "And just so we're clear, whose....uh....whose blood is it?"
"Oh, it's mine," he said. "I volunteer. Just kidding! It's dried pig's blood. Hahaha! Got you though, right?"
Oh yeah, Lowe's Garden Center Man, you got me! But only one of us is going on a date in the next twenty years, and it's not you!
Dried blood, by the way, was the second thing this guy suggested we sprinkle on our lawn to repel the gophers, the first being black pepper and the third being urine. I didn't have the heart—or the stomach, quite honestly—to ask if that was of the pig variety too, but let us all just pray fervently that it was.
If you're thinking that this whole gopher thing sounds awfully familiar, you are not wrong. Last June, great dirt mounds started appearing on our front lawn, which at first I attributed to the slightly crazy lady across the street—who has since gone, by the way!—and then finally admitted was probably gophers after all, at which point we bought one of those special poles that emits high-pitched sounds. That worked for seven or eight months and then stopped because apparently—according to the guy in Lowe's, who really should be studying for some sort of doctorate in gopher behavior, or at least boning up for a future episode of Jeopardy!—gophers are adaptable creatures and eventually learn to live with things that have hitherto been tormenting them. Incidentally, this is also how I lived on one of the busiest, dirtiest, and noisiest streets in San Francisco for three years without jumping out of the first floor window.
Anyway, turns out when you have a bag of dried blood in your garage, there are quite a few jokes you can make. There are also quite a few neighbors you can shock unintentionally—"hey, did you sprinkle that blood yet? Oh hi, Mrs Jones! Didn't see you there!"—and there are also quite a few hours you can put off the task of opening it, because while you may think you are curious to know what a bag of dried blood looks (and smells) like, let me assure you that you are not missing out by not knowing. (Red. Sandy. About as weird as you'd expect.)
So now we just sit and wait and hope the gophers take the hint and get the hell out of dodge. I've got to tell you, I'm really, really banking on this to work. If your other option was urine, you would be too.