When A Squirrel Attacks

There are many conspiracy theories.  Most of them are quite silly.

But there is another theory, my Mother's.  The Squirrels-Turning-Humans-Into-Their-Slave-Race theory.  She believes that inside a squirrel's tiny, furry head and behind its active, black eyes, lies a diabolical mind intent on inflecting bizarre, endless pain.  She believes that a squirrels itinerary culminates in a world razed to the ground, a burying place for nuts and peeled fruit.  The corpses they have piled like cordwood.

It's laughable, right?  A squirrel is cute and curious.  It gallops along telephone wires.  It has small, clawed hands incapable of writing up an agenda for world domination.  All it wants is an orange.  And maybe a crust or two of bread.

But last Saturday, I wasn't laughing.

Boyfriend's garage is – by fabulous good luck – less than three blocks from a very admirable book store.  This store has stacks, boxes, tables and shelves of books – and lingering amidst their dusty wordiness is the Store Cat.  A victim of early abuse, she is nearly toothless, with only one eye – yet she still maintains her feline loveliness.  A cat never loses its beauty.

But I digress.  I had walked some steps towards this haven, when I was aware of a small creature by my foot – only a few inches away.  It was a squirrel – healthy, well-fed, and clearly seeing me as a mark for its next meal.

I walked on – the squirrel followed, closely.  I picked up the pace, as did this Sciuridae stalker.  I was getting nervous – I certainly didn't want to make it angry, lest it hit me with a rabies stick, or something equally nefarious.

I hurried across the street.  This confused it slightly.  It stood on its haunches, considering whether I was worth the pursuit.  I was.  It ran across the street too, but ahead of me, taking a page from the Schleifflein plan – the move the Germans executed in 1914 to encircle the French troops on the German border.

That was enough for me.  I couldn't stand up against an animal which had the complete Prussion playbook memorized.  I ran back to Boyfriend.

Boyfriend responds to all of my panics – when I inform him, "We have a spider situation in the bathroom", when I get slaughtered by a wave, when a squirrel attacks – with jovial laughter.  But he accomapnied me past the impact zone.

So, I was able to proceed.  I bought a book about Aubrey Beardsley.  I bought a book of Lewis Carroll's photographs.  I bought a biography of Madame du Pompadour for $1.

Were they worth it?  Books are always worth it; and no squirrel attack – despite its intensity, no matter how sophisticated – will make me think otherwise.

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14 responses to “When A Squirrel Attacks

  1. That is just hysterical. I hope it's okay say to say hysterical. Just the idea of the squirrel standing up to sum up whether or not you were worth the pursuit, and then running ahead of you is such a funny picture.

  2. A squirrel is cute and curious. NO! I mean yes, to some people. However, I see squirrels for what they are: rats with bushy tails, disease-carrying rodents, pests and if you have a shotgun dinner. Sounds like the critter who tailed you has been "domesticated" and/or encouraged by human feeders. Squirrels accustomed to receiving handouts will brazenly approach and even attack. While the Vox circle of squirrel lovers extends far and wide, I stand apart and possibly should receive your mother's contact info so that I may befriend her.

  3. I am terrified of squirrels. I will take long detours to avoid going past one and have been known to walk onto the roadway to avoid one on the footpath. The manservant gets a good laugh from my (fairly irrational) behaviour.

  4. I tend to be neutral towards squirrels – I respect their intelligence (amply depicted in lbeeze's Squirrelio series – and hope they respect that I am way bigger than them.your piece is making me reconsider.glad Boyfriend came to your rescue.

  5. I hope the cat in the bookstore provided comforting scritch opportunity to restored your faith in some furry critters. I'm sure I know that bookstore and cat.

  6. hee hee! I love the picture.
    I like squirrels but they can get rather aggressive when humans befriend them. When I was a kid we had a summer house in NJ and we started feeding the squirrels peanuts. They were less and less afraid of us (Skipper and Scamper were their names) and they'd take the peanuts out of our hands if we sat really still. Then they'd try to run into the house when we'd open the door, and we quit feeding them after one of them chased us down the street.
    They are smart, that's for sure. I always walk a little faster under a tree if I see one on a branch overhead because I KNOW they will try to bonk me on the head with an acorn or whatever they may be finished nibbling on.

  7. Squirrels are both amazing and annoying. I can't believe how friendly/aggressive/tenacious they can be. At the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, a couple of squirrels kept coming into the gift shop and teahouse and would look you straight in the eye, expecting a handout. I wouldn't have been surprised if they tried to walk out with the display case of Pocky and rice crackers.

  8. Not really anything to do with this post, but I suspect that your wonderful imagination might appreciate this orbituary over the The Dowager Duchess of St. Albans and the life she had! Sqwerls are clearly plotting to take over the world – together with cats!

  9. Hmmm… Big, hairy rats. Yup.

  10. A good friend of mine told me a similar squirrel-related story……a couple of summers ago, her father was relaxing in a chair in his back yard. Out of nowhere, a squirell came running up and attacked his leg! He didn't have rabies, and there was no reason for the attack. Ever since I heard that story, I pay a little bit of extra attention to the furry creatures that inhabit my own back yard.

  11. LBreeze – maybe their intelligence is what makes them so dangerous. And who invented that tail? I'll admit that it's a pretty cute creation.
    Waterbaby – mother positively gloated when I told her this story, when all her fears and conspiracy worries were seemingly confirmed.
    Emjay – see? The men have no sympathy.
    Mariser – I was just so startled. I had nothing to give it – save for $45 dollars, which I intended to spend on books, and which it probably wouldn't be interested in, anyway.
    LC – yes, that's Zola, whom I've written about before. She's 10 now, but as happy and content as ever. She generously allowed me to scritch her between the ears.
    Ms. Pants – Boyfriend and I love to watch them peeling tangerines or scooting up trees; but we know not to feed them, lest we have agressive followers for life.
    Hangaku – amazing and annoying is just about right. I don't know who in Boyfriend's neighborhood started feeding them but they created a tiny monster!
    fatcat – her family had trouble with squirrels too! (not to mention hordes of horrible bugs!!)
    Kzinti – this one at least was healthy – the ones on the beach are positively scraggley and as close to rat-like as I've ever seen.
    Shutterbug – Watch for them, respect them and then…RUN AWAY!

  12. I love your mom's vision of squirrel demons. I can assure, you, it is almost unheard of for them to contract or spread rabies. Except for woodchucks, it's the same among most rodents and lagomorphs. However, I can tell you that at Mount Holyoke a few years ago, the students began reporting that the squirrels were following them everywhere – many students were convinced they had rabies. It was even in the newspaper. Beware the huge fluffy rats! 😉

  13. But they are sooooo cute!

  14. oh i love squirrels!! were you wearing peanut scented perfume that day? &;oP

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