It’s one of the most classic examples of good samaritanism there is — driving along, noticing a turtle in the road and pulling over to move it back to safety.
Now, questions are being raised about what kind of life the so-called do-gooders are returning the reptiles to. The picture painted by The Man™ would indicate turtles are being returned to a life of sitting on a marshy log eating worms all day. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, such as with that of Reginald P. Schmidt — a 15-year-old tortoise from Merrimac, Wisconsin.
The instant thought may be that Reginald — known to some as Reggie — is simply experiencing a midlife crisis. However, the suicidal turtle does not have any of the ties that most do when this occurs.
“The whole wife and kids thing was just never for me. I had some young loves as a hatchling and went steady with a fine gal from across the creek, but I could never commit. There were other things — hobbies, friends, a brief stint in Florida — I did alright,” smiled Schmidt with his pointy, scary mouth.
Reginald, who is unemployed because of the technicality that he’s a reptile, has been trying to get run over by a car since June 2022. Four months in, he’s had no luck. Though Schmidt says he understands why people are removing him from the middle of the backroad, he wishes they would just let nature take its course.
“I know it’s not the popular thing to think, but if you’re an animal and you’re on the road, you have made the decision that you are at peace with death,” said Schmidt.
The issue has escalated to the point where Reginald is looking into other methods of suicide.
“I’ve been doing a bit of detective work, and suffocating on plastic six-pack beverage rings seems like a pretty popular route. Problem is, people around here buy Busch Light in racks of 30, so I’ve only got access to cans and boxes,” said the snapping turtle.
The omnivore noted he could cut the can open on a rock or sharp stick and use the sharp aluminum to draw blood, but he opted against it.
“What kind of schlub would I be if I left a whole mess like that? I want a clean exit,” he lamented.
Though Schmidt recognizes getting run over by a heavy vehicle isn’t exactly Mr. Clean approved, he says the entertainment value of the explosion would make it worth it, comparing the scene to “a broken piñata full of organs.”
Schmidt is just one example of rising concerns over the legality — or lack thereof — of turtle assisted suicide.
“It’s a fair criticism — a safe and smart route for turtles to receive assisted suicide is not covered in the Wisconsin Constitution. What I can tell you is that an issue concerning a suicidal snapping turtle is exactly the kind of situation the legislature would prioritize,” said Representative Mark Pocan.
As of now, Reginald P. Schmidt stands to live another day. Though the turtle will have to bide his time until his hard candy shell shatters under the weight of a Nissan Altima, he can patiently wait knowing he is already single-handedly contributing to the pro-turtle endangerment movement.