Monday, September 26, 2011

Awkward Moments In Nature. Or WITH Nature. Or NATURAL Awkward Moments. Shit.

Pat:  Christian, have you ever had anything weird happen with a squirrel?

Christian: No, but please tell me you have.

Pat:  Yeah. I had one attempt suicide right in front of me. Or it tried to attack me and missed horribly. Or it was just clumsy and slipped. But that last idea troubles me. I don’t like the idea of nature being clumsy. It’s like that old Far Side cartoon:

I’m not comfortable thinking that accidents can happen in nature. People, sure, as we’re awkward and uncoordinated and a little stinky, but not nature.

So not only did this squirrel hurl itself out of a tree right in front of me (as I was on one of my runs, by the way...feel free to use that in your diatribe against my chosen form of exercise), but it did a weird “floppy” thing on the ground in front of me while spinning around--like squirrely break-dancing--and then got up on all fours, peed in the road, and scurried off sideways, as if it was in a V-8 commercial geared towards rodents.

Don’t worry--I wouldn’t believe it either, but you have to believe that I couldn’t make that shit up.

What does it MEAN?

Christian: Actually a similar thing did happen to me once, but to be fair, the branch I was on really seemed like it should have been strong enough to hold my weight and I was holding a badminton racket at the time. I had seen a small creature up in the tree which I thought for sure was a Keebler Elf, whose existence I was determined to finally prove - thus the need for the badminton racket. I mean, I don’t just randomly climb trees with badminton rackets like an idiot. I’m not crazy. Anyway, the racket was to swat the elf out of the tree. I guess I hadn’t considered the potential harm to the elf as it fell to the ground so you can fault me there, but in my defense I was a lot younger back then last year.    

So having gone through a similar situation I can tell you that the subsequent break dancing, followed with peeing on all fours, followed with running off to the side is perfectly normal. Although in my case I did trip over the badminton racket as I tried to “scurry off” - as you put it - which resulted in one of my feet being stuck through the strings of the racket, so it was more of a painful dragging of myself using only my arms and one leg.

But your situation involved a squirrel and not a badminton wielding hunter of Keebler Elves, which is weird. My first thought was that maybe this was a sign of an upcoming Apocalypse similar to raining frogs, but in your case a squirrel, not frogs. I did some research to find that raining frogs isn’t actually a sign of the Apocalypse but instead was a threat from the Lord towards some woman named Pharaoh. I don’t know why the Lord would be afraid of this woman whose parents though it clever to spell their child’s name oddly (it’s spelled “F-A-R-R-A-H” people), but let’s pray to the Lord that he needs to work on his threat giving.

Having ruled out a raining frogs type dealio, I decided to research signs of the Apocalypse, because I’m really determined to make this be a sign of the end of times (I think it would be good publicity for our blog if you were the one who received the sign. We would totally clean up with google ads!). Unfortunately, I had to cut my research short to due a sudden inexplicable craving for Fudge Shoppe Grasshopper Fudge Mint cookies but I didn’t really find anything. In short, the signs of the Earth turning into a fiery hellscape of burning souls appears to involve horses representing all the wondrous colors of the rainbow. Not suicidal break dancing squirrels. I know, what the hell, right?

Anyways, if you were worried that you had witnessed the beginning of the end, hold off on maxing out those credit cards and traveling to Sacremento to scratch it off your bucket list, I think we’re still good for awhile.

Pat:  Really? The apocalypse involves My Little Ponies? (Y’know what’s scary? I just Googled™ “My Little Pony Apocalypse” and got a YouTube video from Adult Swim about...ah, shit, the world is just too weird a place!)

I don’t think the squirrel was a sign from god-- Or gods. Or goddess. I’m cool with either. Whatever-- but it feels like one of those things I wasn’t supposed to see. Like all of the animals have this agreement that humans just won’t see them screw up, and this one little squirrel goofed right in front of me. And maybe the reason he peed and then scurried off so quickly wasn’t related to the shock from the impact, but rather the fear of scorn, ostracization and ridicule that would surely result should any of his furry brethren have witnessed his blunder.

So I guess, really, I just felt some compassion for the little guy. We all screw up, y’know. Jesus, go easy on him, stone-thrower!

Christian: Oddly enough I’m now starting to see what you mean and now I’m a little unsettled by what you witnessed too. You’re right, we shouldn’t be seeing stuff like this. But I don’t think the issue is that this clumsy squirrel is going to get beaten by some master squirrel overlords. I think it’s a little less crazy than that. I think we might be seeing a break down in the structure of reality.  

You remember how in the Matrix anytime Keanu Reeves saw two cats at the same time it meant it was a glitch in the Matrix which allowed him to realize he was inside of it? Well, I’m not sure I’m remembering that right either. But I do know that he eventually learned to surf and caught those bank robbers.  

So maybe this squirrel incident is actually a sign that the fabric of our reality is collapsing? Or perhaps the reality we think we know, isn’t reality at all? I’m sure it’s one of these two.

Pat:  We may be in total agreement on this one, buddy!  

In the time since we started this conversation, a coyote has moved into the neighborhood (and decided to eat one of our cats...that was a bit awkward and may need to be another blog entry), and a skunk has moved in next door under our neighbor’s deck as though it just closed a deal and is now in escrow.  

This was not part of the agreement I imagined our hunter-gatherer relatives made with the fauna of their time regarding how we were all going to move ahead on this planet. Coyotes don’t eat domestic cats, skunks don’t exist outside of cartoons, and squirrels don’t fall out of damn trees! I can take a lot, but I can’t take this sort of ripple in my fabric, man!

Christian: In addition to those signs look what I recently found on the internet!

Ahhh! My neck!

That’s a fucking rabbit attacking a fucking cat.

Reality as we know it is about to collapse. There is no doubt about it now.


  1. My dog is constantly tripping, running into things, and chasing tree stumps, but then again, maybe dogs aren't considered "nature" since they hang out with humans on purpose.

    I know what you mean, though. There's no room in nature for Jerry Lewis animals, except for maybe in France, which is not a real place to begin with.

  2. Dear Pat and Christian,

    I'm writing to you today to ask a nature question. I know that that this isn't your normal gig, but I figured that since you're both amateur naturalists that you'd be the ones to talk to.

    My dog, well, one of my dogs, will be looking at something as we're walking and I can see that she's about run into a tree and I always shout "Look out! You're going to run into that tree!". She never listens and always runs into the damned tree.

    So, what should I do?



  3. @ Tumbleweed--I cannot stop grinning at the possibility of an world where an animal version of a telethon is a reality. That would be awesome, and really really weird.

    @ Megiweg--helmets might help. I just finished reading "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"...have you considered electro-shock therapy? Or just try walking in areas without trees, like, say, eastern Nevada.

  4. This was your best blog post yet. I may even get Sean to read it. I am going to print out the photo of the bunny attacking the cat. Awesome.

  5. @Tumbleweed - I'm not really an expert on dogs (everything else - total expert!) so this french clumsiness they have that you and Megiweg are talking about is news to me.

    @Megiweg - Pat's suggestions seem spot on to me. Except the one about just keeping your dog away from trees. That one seems ridiculous.

    @Bridget - Thanks! And umm... we've been assuming Sean has been reading this blog all along. But apparently not. Tell him that this is just the kind of behavior we would expect from someone who didn't even graduate from high school until 1991.

  6. Pat, are you suggesting that I move to Nevada or just start walking the dogs there? If it's the latter, don't you think that seems time intensive?

    I guess I'll end up with both of them in helmets. I'll probably end up wearing one myself so that they don't feel self-conscious. Do you know where I can get dog helmets? Or are they called dogmets?

  7. Bridget, please don't make Sean do anything that might make him uncomfortable. I know that reading sometimes gives him that funny feeling in his tummy. Make sure he takes baby steps.

    Megiweg, I'm surprised that you even need to ask what I meant with my suggestion. Are EITHER of those options beyond the reach of what you would do for your dog, or DO YOU NOT LOVE HIM? Go with the helmet...I would pay good money to see that!

  8. Oh, I am laughing out loud at that rabbit and cat! Ha! Wow, your mind is a crazy place. Why do you think I keep coming back here? I bet that squirrel was just breakdancing. BTW, on my blog today, I included a Far Side cartoon, too. This world IS a crazy place, like you said!

    (Thanks for linking up with the #findingthefunny party. Hope you come back next week!)

  9. I am never going to look at a squirrel the same way again. Thank you!


  10. @Kelley - Thanks for putting together the #findingthefunny party. That's a great idea.

    @Anna - Thanks for the #findingthefunny party too! And just wait until we do our expose on hamsters.

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  13. It's the rabbit from monty python! Saving the world from basement cat!
    I always wonder if animals are capable of feeling embarrassed. Dogs look sheepish a lot, but I don't know if that's me imagining things