I've got a very strange relationship with squirrels. As a kid, I was enthralled with them. They were cute, fun to watch, and probably the most gifted gymnasts and daredevils in the entire animal kingdom including humans. To say that I yearned for one as my constant companion would be UNDERSTATING my love for the things. I simply NEEDED one.. I LOVED them.
So... what's a boy to do? Well, since you couldn't get one at the pet store and my parents thought I was crazy, the only thing left was to figure out a way to trap one live, feed it by hand, and then it would, OBVIOUSLY, be my best buddy for life and be right there by my side looking for treats and my winning smile every time I stepped into the great outdoors. 'Natch.
Trapping one at MY house was out of the question.. my Dad would have handed me my head. So, me and my buddy who had way more "laissez faire" parents decided we'd "trap" one at his place, a few blocks away. His folks were out at the time. Their kitchen window looked directly out onto a high raised deck and a door from their kitchen also opened onto said deck. A huge chestnut tree overhung their deck, with the mammoth trunk butting up right against it; you could stand on the railing of the deck and climb into the tree, about 20 feet off the ground. An adventurous young lad's paradise. Needless to say, with the chestnuts and acorns from surrounding trees scattered about the deck, squirrels were on the deck constantly and sometimes even mixing with humans.
No one is going to believe the following, but it's the truth. We sealed off the doors of the kitchen that led to the rest of the house, then opened the kitchen window that led to the deck. Twenty feet of twine, a piece of cardboard, and a tablespoon of peanut butter were pressed into service by we two intrepid animal lovers. We laid the peanut butter-encrusted cardboard out on the deck near the tree, ran the attached twine across the deck, through the window, and into the kitchen were we crouched silently, expectantly, and with the confidence that only two 8 year old boys can have.
Within a matter of minutes, Scamper (we were SURE that was his name) found the peanut butter and we commenced the inch-by-inch, Telltale Heart-inspired painfully slow reeling in of the twine. As it got close to the window, we backed our way into the dining room adjoining the kitchen and closed the French doors separating the two. We continued to slow reel in the twine and, sure enough, the Scampmeister was soon perched on the window sill. One more small pull and, if he was to continue enjoying his peanut butter ("what IS this nectar from the Gods?!?!?"), he would have to follow the magic cardboard into the kitchen. Well..... we pulled the twine another inch, the cardboard fell to the floor, and Scamp followed without hesitation.
We burst into the kitchen to shut the window quickly so he couldn't get out, just to make sure he'd give us enough time to truly befriend this magical creature.
"Magic" doesn't begin to describe what happened next. Scamp turned into "Taz." He went absoLUTEly berserk. I don't know how he generated enough centripetal force to run around the room midway UP the walls and across the faces of the cabinets, but he did. As a matter of fact, he generated so much force that the cabinet doors OPENED behind him during his first lap. His second lap took him through the cabinets. The physical law of displacement ("two or more masses can not occupy the same space at the same time") required that, to make room for the Scampmanian Devil, some of the contents of the cupboards made the choice to jettison themselves onto the floor and countertops, giving their lives in order to accommodate the furry four-legged whirlwind hellbent on reversing time a la Chris Reeve as he circled the globe backwards in Superman II.
Needless to say, we couldn't get the window and door open fast enough. Eventually Scamp returned to the great outdoors, we did our best to clean what was left of the kitchen, and, at first, attempted to concoct a believable explanation for the myriad of broken dishes, serving bowls, and glassware in the trash... not to mention the surprising amount of extra empty space in my friend's mother's cupboards.
Now, here's where this 100% true tale really becomes unbelievable to those of you who really know eight year old boys. We couldn't come up with anything that we thought my buddy's Ma would believe for a second, so, well... we did the only thing we could think of. We went with the truth when she got home.
She looked at us, sort of like my German Shepherd looks at me when I make a funny sound or ask him a question that's completely beyond his ken; she tilted her head to one side, then the other, then back.. her eyebrows mirroring the motion but in the opposite direction...no words... staring us down.... waiting for the REAL truth...
To this day, over 45 years later, she still doesn't believe us. She's still trying to figure out why we intentionally broke about 1/4 of her dishes and glassware. God Bless her... she never lost her cool, never yelled, didn't cry.. just sort of has that puzzled look on her face whenever I see her. I'm 54 now.
I still like squirrels. In a pot. In a curry. Fried (only when young). Stewed. Braised. They're delicious, truly, but you have to know how to cook them. A very healthy, lean, natural, GMO-free meat. Other than that, I have no use for the little agile high society rats. You can NOT get the best of a squirrel. They are smarter than we are, more tenacious than we are, MUCH faster and more agile than we are, and their problem-solving skills make Michio Kaku jealous. The only way to win a battle with a squirrel, whether it's trying to get them out of your attic or away from your bird feeder, is to eat it.
You are what you eat. Hopefully, I'll be getting, once again, a little smarter, faster, and more cunning soon, courtesy of yet another one of Scamper's progeny.