Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rocket J: I am NOT a Role Model

First things first--my brother Adam is running his first marathon today. And will kick ass doing so because he does not do things halfway. Consider yourself warned should you encounter him. This concludes the public service announcement of our program.

This is possibly futile. The beings who most need to read this today will not and not because they don't have the time or access to the Internet but because they can't. They're squirrels. Some would suggest squirrels are rats with bushier tails and better press clippings and if you've ever had to replace internal engine parts from where they've eaten the rubber gasket, tubing or insulation from a car you've parked on the street, you'd probably agree.

We would in all likelihood not get along very well since in my house we buy probably six or more pounds of peanuts a week (walnuts and other types around the holidays; don't judge me) to feed to the ones who live in our neighborhood. Our squirrels (nice use of the plural possessive pronoun) are more than a little spoiled, I concede. When you go out the back door, one or more materializes and behaves as if you should have peanuts to throw.

One of them, Chocolate Nose, named by our daughter The Squirrel Talker who has a birthday tomorrow, actually bars your way down the sidewalk and stares up at you, unmoving, and forcing you (me, at least) to always go back into the house to get some peanuts. S/he (who knows, not me) will actually take the peanut from your hand. I feel like Jack Hanna out on the Savannah.

This time of year as the young animals are born and either adapt and survive or become another species' lunch, I'm already tired of watching the sides of the road on the lookout for young squirrels who are doing their version of the chicken joke. Almost all of them never look both ways before starting across and more than a few of them are on their way in good order across the street when, for some reason, they stop completely. (I almost said "dead" but that's what happens next after the stop).

I swerve, or another driver swerves, and there's a moment of automotive ballet on a state highway or a city street and if we're all lucky, nothing happens, not that the small rodent in the grey sweat suit has a clue in the first place.

Squirrels of all colors, please: we are not a bad species (okay, we are, but mostly towards one another) and we try very hard for the most part to not injure or otherwise harm you and the other birds and beasts of the woods, but you've got to meet us half way. I know you can't necessarily reach the walk/don't walk buttons on the traffic signals and at your height, crosswalks are difference without distinction. But you've got to get smarter about coexisting with our cars and trucks or you're over. As in run over.

I know the tight rope act on the power and phone lines overhead is more of a circus stunt than I'd be willing to do and I understand your reluctance to keep doing it but it's either that or learn to look both ways and run like the wind, or at least a good breeze. Because, let's face it, that you're able to read this today (and learn from it) may be the only way to make sure you're here tomorrow and not some crows' lunch over on Newton Street.
-bill kenny

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