WISDOM Wednesday: “The Great Squirrel Wars”

  This story was written by Malati Marlene Shinazy
This is a true story… I have to tell it. Of course I changed the names — I treasure my friendships, all of them. — ms
“So, you think tree squirrels are beautiful?” exclaimed Jim to Walt and me over coffee. “Well, a bunch of them live in the pine trees in my back yard.”
(As he became more animated, I started to pay attention… this is going to be an interesting story.)
He continues, sputtering, almost in one breath:

“I hate these squirrels! They come scuttling down the utility wires and jump into my trees.  Now these aren’t little trees, they’re 60 feet tall! They’re the most beautiful pine trees in the neighborhood. So yesterday, I went to the sporting goods store and spent $200 on a pellet gun.”

(‘Please, please, NO’, I say to myself… I know where this story is going and I’m not sure I really want to hear the rest of it.)
“Those squirrels. You know what they do, don’t you? They go up into my trees, sit up there, pull off the green pinecones and shred them with their teeth to get to the seeds.”
(Are these the seeds we city folks call pine nuts?  I had to ask him to tell me more.)
“So, they sit up there, these squirrels, shredding the pinecones to get to the seeds, which are inside something that looks like an apple core. Stuff showers off the pinecones onto my driveway, sidewalk and front porch. I’m sweeping two to three times a day.”
“I hate it. I had to buy an extra-heavy duty broom too.”
“Plus, every year, I hire a pruning guy to thin out the trees. I tell him, ‘Don’t come down until you’ve taken off EVERY pinecone!’ This costs me $1500 bucks. … If I skip a year, those squirrels come back, the shredding comes back and the sweeping comes back.”
“Today, I sat out there on a lawn chair in the front yard, waiting for them to be visible up there in those trees.”
(A new image pops into my head. Guerrilla warfare: Man vs. Squirrel.)
“I’m waiting out there with my pellet gun, waiting for them to be visible, which they never are….  They just sit up there yacking at me. I can never see them. They’re up there laughing!”
My other friend, Walt, is now tallying the cost of this battle:
  • Pruning, $1500
  • Heavy-duty broom, $50 plus tax
  • Pellet gun, $200
  • If the police hear:
  • Time in jail
  • Bail to get out of jail
  • Court fees
  • Attorney fee
  • Huge fine
“It’s getting a bit expensive”, he laughs…
(Jim’s account of The Great Squirrel Wars is at once hilariously funny and a tad crazy, I think… I use to rake leaves daily for months every autumn. How can this squirrel stuff be any worse? What’s the big deal? … Although the situation is clearly exasperating for him, he’s enjoying the telling and I’m enjoying his sincere narration.)
(Verbally stumbling with laughter, I naively ask some variation of a line from Mars Attacks!  “So why can’t you all just get along?”)
His response, “Because they don’t sweep and clean up after themselves!”
(I sit there, more than a bit perplexed. I truly have nothing to say… I suddenly realize — I really don’t understand war at all.)

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All of our animal friends remain safe and happy. ~ shinazy (BOBB’s founder)

photo by Gilles Gonthier

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