So I”m walking to Hill Auditorium with my roommates Mali and Frannie. It”s yet-another one of those surprisingly beautiful days. It had looked cold, and I still hadn”t figured out, after a month of days that looked cold but weren”t, not to wear a sweater and my wool coat.

Paul Wong
Sarah Rubin

So I”m frying, all hot and disgruntled, when out of the blue a rabid squirrel dives in front of me, in some suicidal attempt for attention.

This is all the incentive I need to start my by-now-banal squirrel diatribe.

Mali suggests that I make the whining into a column. And I can”t tell if she”s serious or if she just wants to avoid the inevitable. Fran nods vehemently reaffirming my suspicion that the two are conspiring against me I think that they think that a good ole” squirrel-bashing column will extirpate my angst, clearing my conversational horizon from stories about rodents who eat nuts.

But I won”t be satisfied until I achieve vengeance.

Come on. Agree with me, here. Squirrels are the most terrible mammal around. (Besides that preacher dude on the Diag. I”d take a squirrel over him any day.) I know that they bother you.

Tell me that you don”t have a strange story featuring a psycho-squirrel. You haven”t lived in An Arbor long enough if you haven”t had at least one close-encounter-of-the-squirrel-kind.

The most striking characteristic of the squirrels on campus is their relative size. I come from a nearby small town in Michigan, and our squirrel population isn”t nearly as overweight.

The squirrels in my town live in trees. They jump and run on the phone wires and all of the other typical squirrel behavior that looks like it”d be fun to try if I was 3 inches tall.

Here, in Ann Arbor, the squirrels are always on the ground.

Why?

Because they”re freaking obese. You have to do a double-take to see if it”s a cat or a squirrel walking with you to class. They”ve lost their aero-dynamic powers and they”re too fat to ascend, so they stagnate in the grass.

This brings me to my next complaint. People here have managed to halfway-domesticate the damned things. They might as well be cats. They have absolutely no fear of humans.

Watch sometime. Walk up to a squirrel, yell at it, shake your foot or something. No response. Yes, lethargy may account for this lack of trepidation to some extent, but really it”s that they”ve been conditioned to trust us.

Why do they trust us? Because we feed them.

I can shout at one, “Move out of my way, you!” And it will stare blankly, waiting for a treat. Like a dog. Except you bought the dog. The dog has a name.

Squirrels here do not have names. They are not pets. Do not be cute with them.

The other say I saw this hippie-lady and her kid feeding squirrels “Wonder Bread” in the Arb.

What? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

When I was little, I fed ducks. Ducks are cute. Say it. Duck. Now say squirrel. See? There”s a reason why we put ducks on baby blankets.

It”ll be a small wonder if the kid doesn”t end up in therapy when he”s 30. I can imagine his psychiatrist”s reaction when he describes memories of these mutant squirrels that were twice his size, chasing after him for bread.

So don”t feed the squirrels just because the Ann Arbor hippies do it doesn”t mean that it”s socially acceptable. And don”t be one of those people who think that the squirrels are interesting and funny.

Some bozos actually sit and watch as out fatty squirrels haphazardly attempt to climb trees. These are the people that cause traffic jams because they have this pressing need to slow down their cars and watch the cop write a ticket for the red Ferrari. (You know who you are.)

If you must interact with the squirrels, yell at them. Let them know their place.

I bet that at this very moment, the squirrel militia is planning a secret mutiny. They”ll usurp all coffee shops in the city, knowing that by simultaneously limiting Ann Arbor”s massive consumerism and expresso supply, they can successfully dishearten us and drain our energy to resist.

Alright, alright. So, this is Sarah, signing off. I”m telling you, though, be warned. Because even if the squirrels don”t actually pose a threat, then the people who are stupid enough to humor them definitely do.

If you have seen the freaky squirrel mural in South Quad”s basement or are simply a squirrel fanatic, feel free to share your reflections with Sarah Rubin at syrubin@umich.edu.

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