November 9, 2008

Consider the Squirrel.

A letter to the editor of The News-Times:
I just wanted to let you know that the use of the word 'fried' in your article about the squirrel who caused the power outage at the CL&P substation was completely distasteful and offensive to people who are animal lovers.

Apparently, the copy was not written or edited by someone of that nature.

Given the way the economy is, and that the print business is in jeopardy, I think you need to be a little more in touch with those of us who still actually subscribe to your printed version.

Lisa Vannais-Shultz

BREWSTER, N.Y.
Oh, we are sensitive! But I shouldn't laugh. Yesterday, at the Crossroads Café, MadisonMan looked at that photograph...

DSC09605

... and said:
By the way, the street coming into the picture from the right is fun to drive on, very nice opposing curves as you turn onto it from Prospect and go down the hill.
And I was all:
Yes, but be careful. There are no stop signs at the crossroad at the top of the hill.

I'll never forget the time I was walking home alone late at night after a party, through new-fallen snow, thinking how perfectly beautiful the world was, and then -- it was right at the top of the hill -- a little squirrel scampered into the road, making me think life! how perfect! how beautiful! And a car immediately swept up the hill and flattened the squirrel.
Palladian responded aptly:
Huh, see for me that would have made even happier. Squirrels are evil.
Ah, but I have a defense. That snowy night was long ago, when I was very sensitive about animals... and death. I was always looking for sublime beauty and meaning in landscapes, and thinking poetically, so if I had a thought and an animal did something, it was a message from the universe. Also, around that time and a few blocks from that place, there was a cat that had a squirrel frozen in fear in the middle of the street. For 10 minutes, various adults and children gathered in the hope of rescuing the squirrel. I can't remember why it was so difficult, but the cat was fixated on the squirrel, and the squirrel seemed to know that when it moved the cat would pounce. When, after much effort, we shooed the cat away, the children cheered, and a garbage truck rolled down the street and squashed the squirrel.

So I was talking about the past, when I was more sentimental. These days, I'm a cruel blogger, and when I blog about squirrels, I blog things like this. Click on that photo to see what I think of the creature.

The Enemy

25 comments:

William said...

A fine story. Uplifting in its way. There are no patterns in the stars. There is only us creating patterns in the stars. There is no significance to life, to death. There is only us trying to invent a fiction in which our life matters more than a dead leaf....Once you have established it's all pointless, you can sleep late on Sunday with so much less guilt.

jdeeripper said...

I remember the picture you put up of the still alive chipmunk who had been run over by a bike I think.

What can you do, kill it to put it out of it's misery? No, you can only watch it suffer and die.

Kinda like watching the McCain campaign.

Here in Pennsylvania the amount of road kill never ceases to amaze me.

Deer, raccoons, possum, squirrels, cats, dogs, woodchucks, snakes.

Problem is they panic and run into the road at just the time the cars or trucks are coming. Without the sounds and vibrations from the vehicles they would probably calmly continue eating and being still and safe off road.

American Liberal Elite said...

I've eaten fried squirrel. It actually does taste like chicken.

American Liberal Elite said...

Swerving to avoid hitting a squirrel can be dangerous Besides, squirrels make a lovely satisfying crunch when you run them over.

Ron said...

Think of it this way: You eliminate the morons and the next generation of squirrels will be better car evaders! Your Audi is a species-improving virus!

Donn said...

Swerving to avoid hitting a squirrel can be dangerous

I used to own a driving school and would always tell my students my method to avoid swerving to miss some small animal. One day I was telling this to my student and just as we rounded a corner on a country road, out jumped a goose right in our path. I had just enough time to grab the wheel and say, "we're going straight." Sure enough, the goose jumped out of the way just in the nick of time.

Not long before I opened my driving school I was the manager of a business which employed lots of teens. One Saturday morning a lot of teens were coming in crying and saying they weren't sure they would be able to work that day, which kinda freaked me out because we needed everyone! Anyway, the night before six teens hopped into a car and headed a couple blocks to get ice cream cones, and along the way a cat jumped into the street. The driver swerved, hit the curb, and caused the car to flip over. Three teens were killed trying to miss a stupid cat.

Lem said...

"...the Palisades - a 550-foot-high precipice along the west bank of the Hudson River.. was threatened by development... The scenic view of the Palisades from New York City and Westchester County drove many people, particularly wealthy landowners, to demand that the government take measures to protect the Palisades."

The government did, they made it a park. But then they put a road thru it, which I commute everyday.

Ironically, the Palisades Parkway must have more roadkill per square mile than any other road in the state.

http://www.nycroads.com/roads/palisades/

ricpic said...

Is cruelty the opposite of sentimentality? I'd say it's the compliment of sentimentality.

Scratch a sentimental type and you'll uncover a propensity for cruel behavior.

The opposite of sentimentality is genuine sentiment.

Original George said...

Our time is brief, and it will pass no matter what we do. So let us have purpose in spending it. Let us spend it so that our time matters to each of us, and matters to all those whose lives we touch. The question then becomes how you can make time matter....What it is for which we strive is up to each of us. The important thing is that we strive toward something....

What are you waiting for?...Time is passing. Don't let it slip by unnoticed. Embrace time fully while you recognize that it is fleeting....Today is the day of reckoning.

Philip Zimbardo
The Time Paradox

TMink said...

The letter writer is of course correct. There was no hot oil, so the squirrel was not fried. Was it cooked by an inductive method? Someone help me.

Trey

ricpic said...

Oops. Compliment should be complement.

I join Obama. What a comedown.

SteveR said...

I'm with Ron, a true animal lover must be a nature lover and therefore natural selection is the prime directive, in spite of the consequences foisted on its building blocks.

Homo Sapiens out competed those loveable Neanderthals so our very existence is the result of many years of such abuses of our fellow animals.

Spread Eagle said...

Rush Limbaugh calls Obama "the little squirrel."

Ralph said...

Driving to work on Friday, doing 60 on a two lane road, I woke up in time to notice two cars driving toward me slowly, in my lane. There was a deer in their lane. It didn't budge when 3 cars went by, and it was still there when I turned the corner.

I've run over a squirrel and the hindquarters of a lab puppy (not nice, as it was still living).

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Squirrel melts anyone?

LoafingOaf said...

Anyway, the night before six teens hopped into a car and headed a couple blocks to get ice cream cones, and along the way a cat jumped into the street. The driver swerved, hit the curb, and caused the car to flip over. Three teens were killed trying to miss a stupid cat.

And how do you know they swerved to avoid a cat?

Isn't it possible they crashed because they had piled too many friends into the car, causing the car to be more difficult to handle and greatly increasing the distractions for the driver? Isn't it possible the driver was also exceeding the speed limit and driving recklessly?

I have no idea, but it seems odd they were driving fast enough to flip the car if they were just going a couple blocks. I guess the lesson of your story is supposed to be that drivers shouldn't care about "stupid cats". Shouldn't the lesson be that stupid people should drive more carefully?

Fred4Pres said...

Whether you think squirrels are wonderful, or wonderful served as a patty melt , or you are indifferent to them, or think of them as rats with fluffy tails, saying that a squirrel got "fried" by an electric wire is perfectly appropriate. The only criticism is the term is a colloquial cliche--although I think it is a classic.

Richard Fagin said...

No, it was cooked by the resistance heating method. It would be very difficult to generate an alternating magnetic field strong enough to induce enough current in the squirrel to cause cooking level heat because of the squirrel's internal resistance. You sure can jack up the voltage enough to do the job, though.

LoafingOaf said...

Driving to work on Friday, doing 60 on a two lane road, I woke up in time to notice two cars driving toward me slowly, in my lane. There was a deer in their lane. It didn't budge when 3 cars went by, and it was still there when I turned the corner.

I've run over a squirrel and the hindquarters of a lab puppy (not nice, as it was still living).


Proper drivers don't need to "wake up" just in time. They are alert at all times, and thus are able to take safe measures to avoid an animal without wildly swerving the car off the road. Sure, that won't work 100% of the time, but you've run over multiple animals. Just how many animals do you plan on running over before you reform your driving habits?

Ralph said...

Did I say running over the squirrel was an accident?

Donn said...

LaughingOaf,

It's not even worth my time to answer your stupid question/response.

Trooper York said...

Rocky was devastated when they cancelled the show. He began to drink and use drugs to a degree that was unusual even for Hollywood. Uppers, downers, crack and heroin were all on the menu. He used to skin pop with Eric Clapton and did downers with Deputy Dog all the time. Remember that time he got arrested in the crack house with Tom and Jerry and Bobby Brown. He always had a pint bottle of Southern Comfort in his cap. In fact the two biggest customers in the history of Southern Comfort were Janis Joplin and Rocky the Flying Squirrel. Neither of them could escape their southern low class tastes. In fact every time I saw him in the last five years of his live, that was one fried squirrel.
(Jay Ward and Alex Anderson, Rocky and Bullwinkle, E True Hollywood Story)

Methadras said...

Spread Eagle said...

Rush Limbaugh calls Obama "the little squirrel."


I don't get that one. However, I did call him The Blessed Little Black Boy once. Now look where that got him.

Revenant said...

I realize I am almost alone in the world in feeling this way, but I like squirrels. They are cute and it is fun to watch the young ones at play. The underside of the deck around my pool is a haven for what must be a dozen or more of the little guys.

LoafingOaf said...

Donn, I'm not surprised you couldn't reply, because your story just didn't add up.