08 August 2011

"Take Your Squirrel to Work Day?"

All of a sudden, it seems like "Take Your Squirrel to Work Day" has been declared in Miller County, Arkansas: Two squirrels have set up shop on the windowsill of a county building to use as their daytime hangout, and they're even putting in some overtime at the office.

Dubbed "Millie" and "Miller" by their human workplace counterparts, they have even proven themselves to be exemplary county employees: They take their breaks regularly at the office water cooler (in this case, a big water dish set out on the sill to quench the thirsty pair). They are often spied with their eyes casting a longing glance or two, gazing in the window (well, they're already outdoors, so gazing out seems pointless). And, as often as they can - whether the big boss is watching or not - they put up all four feet and snooze.

One of the county staffers working inside the office even goes through the pantomime of giving them belly rubs - with the pane of window glass safely between her fingertips and their little bodies.

Millie and Miller have claimed the county building as their branchless branch office, and they're got everyone charmed. They recently shared their work ethic with all the world in this CBS News Video.

Their workplace tenacity could, however, portend a bit of a labor skirmish: The squirrels seem to savor the attention - not to mention the strategic locale - and often stay perched up there well past the traditional quitting time of the folks inside. One worker, Julie Huntley, told CBS News that these little gray civil servants still remain on duty even after it's time for the humans to lock up their desks and head home. Not that she's complaining, of course. Squirrels were never known to be clock-watchers, anyway.

But wait 'til the department chief sees all those overtime slips - ones marked with curious scratchings on the bottom, where there's space for an employee's signature. And wait'll someone smells these same overtime slips, redolent with hazelnut and walnut.

Union and management might just end up in the middle of a wage grievance that could possibly lead to arbitration. Or maybe just an arboretum.

No comments: