I have this squirrel thing, see. They approach me, sometimes unexpectedly, sometimes not.
There was the time I took off for an afternoon run. It was a beautifully sunny day in Seattle, and everyone knows you have to get outside on nice days in the northwest. The driveway into our complex sloped downward and on either side were steep cement-walled garden beds. As I turned onto the sidewalk, I saw something to my left. Instinctively, I raised my arms to shield my eyes. Impact. Fur. Chaos.
The unsuspecting squirrel launched itself from the flower bed, onto my left forearm, where it bounced against my ribs, slid down my left leg as I was in mid-stride and was propelled into the grass at my feet. It scared the bejeezus out of me and what did I do? Jump. Try to shake it off me. And I screamed. Nice. In that neighborhood, it was especially nice to be a shrieking, jumping man in snug-fitting shorts screaming “Get off me!”
Have you ever seen a pissed off squirrel? Endured the squawking and profanity of it all? I mean, it’s a cute little critter but when threatened, the squirrel is capable of great cruelty. This squirrel gave me a piece of its mind.
Spring semester is behind us now and without students, the quest for people food is more intense for the campus squirrel. After all, thanks to us humans, the squirrel has developed a taste for nachos, french fries and the occasional cookie. Now, with nowhere to turn, they become desperate in their attempts to obtain people food. Enough with the nuts and berries. Gimme your damn sandwich!
It’s also spring. We have some randy squirrels running around and a few tiny, tiny new-to-this-world squirrels. Imagine being weaned on pizza, cheese puffs and burger scraps!
At some point during the 2008 summer, the numbers of on-campus squirrels seriously diminished. Strange thing is, no one talked about it. It was as if it NEVER HAPPENED. One day squirrels track you on the way to the cafeteria, the next? Nothin’. Not a critter in site.
Poor little suckers, I think the maintenance workers conduct an after hours, unspeakable act and **POOF** problem solved.
Ah, the mysteries of higher education.
And for those of you who are interested in especially good humor and storytelling…
Check out the “This American Life” episode that aired in December 2002 called “First Day”. Act two is called “Squirrel Cop”; if you haven’t heard it, you are missing out because it’s HILARIOUS!
Here is the link to the show: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=954
Enjoy the episode and remember, don’t feed the squirrels.