The squirrels, it seems, do not want us to spend time reading. They'd prefer we invest our hours in pursuits infinitely more sensible and practical.
Feeding them, for instance.
Consider this: Squirrels were never fans of Shakespeare. In his "King Lear," the monarch's mournful cry over a daughter's betrayal - "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child" - clearly underestimates the razor's edge of a squirrel's own incisors.
Today's squirrels have even less tolerance for the written word, even the naughty newbie, "50 Shades of Grey." Its title notwithstanding, its nakedly blatant adventures have nothing to do with the varied spectrum of squirrels' coats. It's about sex - lots and lots of sex - and squirrels don't seem to get any of that action either.
So it came perhaps as no surprise that in one New York county this past weekend, the book-loathing squirrels finally turned to desperate crime.
This wild squirrel antipathy against literacy spurred one singular, widepsread act of destruction: In suburban Suffolk County, a squirrel succeeded in shutting down the library system - or at least, for a few hours, cutting off its main computerized operations by employing a tooth that was likely sharper than a Shakespearean serpent's.
Hard-working librarians no longer had access to their vital databases, rendering them all but useless at assisting patrons.
Victory, for a time, belonged to that group of small mammals relegated to section "599" in the Dewey Decimal System. The category 599, the mammals, seemed suddenly to rise to the ranks of a global superpower.
The squirrels, no doubt, chattered happily knowing that their covert operation meant that even Beatrix Potter's "Squirrel Nutkin," a fictitious creature requiring no real-life handouts, would find frustration in any efforts to leave the shelves. Smugly, Suffolk's squirrels sat back and waited for the hoped-for massive run on grocery stores where readers, left with nothing to read, would become feeders. They would rush to the market, buy up huge quantities of walnuts and pecans, then head for tree-lined parks, bags in hand.
But even power outages don't last forever. In the end, it was much ado about nothing of permanence. As the juice came back on, squirrels' collective hopes dimmed. Their puckish antics were, as Shakespeare himself might say, merely a "Midsummer Night's Dream."