29 July 2012

Head games

There is pig-headedness. There is strong-headedness. There is hard-headedness.

And now, it seems, there is Squirrel-headedness.

Well, perhaps Squirrel-headedness was there all along: After all, the Rodentian Mindset interprets that anything and everything in the world is a buffet set out for them and them alone. So perhaps that is why the infamous Archie McPhee novelty company - those wonderful folks who previously brought his 'n her Squirrel Underwear and Squirrel Coffee Mugs to market - recently began hawking (ooops, poor choice of words here) this oversized cranial nut carrier intended - as their own website boasts - "to both feed and humiliate squirrels at the same time."

Oh my. So bigger isn't necessarily better? This oversized, toothy likeness is the ultimate weapon of mass humiliation?

Ask any squirrel who's tried to cram 3, 4 or 5 nuts into his or her mouth while soliciting handouts from human slaves, and no doubt they'd disagree with the intention here. Bigger is better, say the squirrels, particularly since squirrels don't wear hats and thus the possession of an oversized head doesn't pose any challenges to millinery shops specializing in squirrel gear. Big-headedness simply connotes more storage space, additional real estate for the nut cache.

"Don't get a big head about this," we caution the squirrels as, day after day, we eject pounds and pounds of the finest pecans and walnuts out our windows in and back doors in their direction, as a means of feeding and placating them. "Don't think this means anything, don't think we love you. We are just amusing ourselves by feeding and humiliating you."

Oh how humiliated they look as they run off, bury the stash and come back for the inevitable second and third helpings. Surely everyone is jeering back in the home nest. (Just not at them.)

If you are reading this, Archie McPhee, I predict the Big Head will be a Big Hit among rodentia, and they'll get the last laugh, flicking their tails, stamping their feet and chattering in amusement as humans hand over their $15 - money that could otherwise be better spent on nuts, as the squirrels themselves will point out. Some consumers will fall for anything, say the squirrels, who are clearly a more discriminating bunch themselves.

Who's humiliating whom?

Archie McPhee should have thought this one through and perhaps quit while he was ahead.

04 July 2012

The land of the free?

In the solitary lifestyle of the eastern gray squirrel, there are no united states. For these proud separatists, independent living defines the American way. And so, flaunting such solitude, these squirrels wave their patriotism with every defiant flick of their lush tails.

Still, more than 230 years after the founding fathers inked this North American nation's Declaration, there do remain Americans who nonetheless thrive in their original colonies: Southern flying squirrels, northern flying squirrels, prairie dogs and all manner of ground squirrels including the Richardson's ground squirrel, the golden mantled ground squirrel and the 13-lined ground squirrel (one stripe perhaps for each of our nation's fledgling states?)

These colonies populate the scattered rock outcrops of the American West, as well as the nation's expansive prairie.

This is America, after all, where colonists and rugged individualists together have made our nation what it is: the land of the free and the home of the wild. They are free to live - but not free to live without threat of extermination. Theirs is a collective cry - not against taxation but annihilation. Solitary or colonial, they are all sought for gassing, poisoning, hunting and trapping.

As our country celebrates the rights its human citizens won not quite three centuries ago, let us not forget the rights of the small and helpless who share our hard-won land.

Freedom is not truly freedom unless such independence belongs to us all.