Two parks near our house have been overrun with crazy-eyed squirrels who are not scared of humans, probably because some freak thinks it's a good idea to feed them. I don't like squirrels -- they are really just rats with the enviable ability to scoot quickly up trees -- but given they are innately afraid of people I never paid them much attention. But lately there is a brave breed of squirrel inhabiting our neighborhood playgrounds here on Chicago's north side. They brazenly jump into strollers, sniffing for Cheerios and graham crackers and the like. When you approach, they look up, give a snarl and go back to hunting around in your diaper bag. I'm not kidding -- one squirrel had its entire upper body wedged INSIDE MY DIAPER BAG. I was so nervous I threw an abandoned broken frisbee at it, quickly gathered up the girls and exited the premises. (Note: Rabid squirrels DO NOT like frisbees thrown at their heads. PETA, bite me.)
So I left up in arms and grumbling that I was going to call our alderman and the Chicago Park District to TAKE BACK OUR PARKS or similar, perhaps adding in that my children's safety had been compromised. In reality their lives were probably in no danger until I hurled the frisbee, but I plan to leave that part out. Yet as I picked up the phone this morning to place this call, I wasn't sure what to say. "Umm, hi, a squirrel was mean to us at the park and tried to steal our Cheerios. He was, well, gray and very squirrelly ... FIND HIM AND KILL HIM." Really, here in America's Third Most Miserable City, surely the local government has better things to do than track down a cereal-loving squirrel, albeit a very aggressive one, right? As of now, I am drafting a strongly worded letter. I'm better on paper than on the phone.
Oh, and you're probably wondering who this lovely couple is and why their portrait accompanies this post. I have no idea who they are. But when I went to Google Images and typed in "rapid squirrel attack" their photo popped up. Note I mis-typed and put in "rapid" instead of "rabid." Were these folks attacked by a very fast squirrel? Do they race squirrels? Is it because the wife sort of looks like a squirrel? Perhaps we'll never know. And I'm okay with that.