30 October 2013

Paying the acorn forward

Starbucks, the coffee giant often criticized for the twin sins of presenting jet fuel under the guise of java - and then pricing it like jet fuel anyway - can be proud that it struts some Squirrel Spirit.

That's right: Starbucks is channeling its inner rodent. Something positively bushytailed, and unquestionably bright-eyed, has been happening at baristas' drive-through windows around the region - perhaps the country: Motorists are pulling up to take delivery of their orders and discovering that the previous driver has already paid their tab. Inspired to reciprocity, these drivers are, in turn, extending the same courtesy to the car in line behind them.

They are paying it forward by paying it backward.

Starbucks customers are simply discovering the selfless gesture that squirrels have engaged in for millenia: If you bury a small acorn and then walk away, it will still have been a worthwhile effort, because someone is bound to come along, dig it up and enjoy it. (Smartypants that they are, squirrels are also wise to the fact that it is easier to unearth a well-buried seed of an oak tree than to try and excavate a Mocha Frappuccino Grande decked in whipped cream. With all that dirt flying, there's always the risk of ending up with too much ground in one's grounds.)

Think of this Starbucks phenomenon, then, as humans learning to Pay the Acorn Forward; the hazelnut here may be the flavor of a hand-crafted, blended Frappuccino beverage in a tall glass instead but what's going on here still constitutes the seed of a grand idea. Though squirrels rarely enjoy a reputation for altruistic acts, and even less of a reputation for being baristas with a social conscience, the fact remains that most nuts buried by one squirrel have a pretty decent chance of being consumed by another. Or, if left untouched for an extended period of time, those nuts producing an even greater gift to the world: a forest!

Who says squirrels don't have a giving spirit?

So let the Starbucks customers continue to dig down deep - into their pockets as well as their hearts - and unearth the kernel of kindness, Squirrel Style. It seems the idea isn't nuts, after all.

15 October 2013

No shutdown of their appetites

Disgusted with a government shutdown that’s gone well into its second week, the squirrels of Washington, D.C., are taking the country back, one tomato at a time.

Stubborn, indolent Democrats and Republicans who populate Congress have shown very little fruits for their equally paltry labors but a lively bipartisan bunch of eastern grays has been enjoying the best fruits of all – the Presidential tomatoes – straight off the Pennsylvania Avenue vine.

And it's all occurred while federally funded gardeners are furloughed, reaping only the worst of a bumper crop of shame. Since the start of the shutdown earlier this month, no one has been paid to clean up here, so Washington, D.C.’s squirrels, ever the patriots, have stepped up to the plate. And cleaned that plate well.

Everywhere there are tell-tale toothmarks in the Presidential peppers. In the White House garden, “squash” is no longer a crop but an action verb enacted by brazen bushytails. And as the nation’s debt crisis threatens to mushroom, chanterelles and portobellos are having their caps raised, again and again.

And all the while, Congress sits and vegetates.

A greater crisis looms, America, and it is a direct result of this horticultural coup d’etat: Consider the now-looming threat of squirrel obesity facing our nation as this Harvest Without End continues, and will continue ad infinitum, until Congress takes some action to end it along with the shutdown.

Otherwise, we shall picture soon a nation of squirrels with all the health issues concomitant with binge-eating and obesity, though not a single one of them even qualifies to receive treatment under Obamacare.

The squirrels will not stop until they press some gnawing sense of reality into our lawmakers. We can be sure of it. Because once the White House garden is finally devoid of anything but remnants of the fertilizer so pervasive throughout our nation's capital, the squirrels will discover they are, sadly, no different from most American citizens:

Completely fed up.