It is squirrel season in Central Texas right now. On the campus where I work, the little things are scurrying back and forth, gathering nuts for the winter. This is a life-affirming activity, but there is at least one squirrel around here with a death wish. Twice now, as I have driven off the campus toward home at the end of a day, this little fella has waited for my approach, then has run straight in front of my vehicle at the last minute, hoping my wheels would crush him to a furry paste. I know it’s got to be the same squirrel, because the two episodes have occurred in exactly the same spot.
Even when I have stopped and tried to drive around the squirrel, instead of running in the opposite direction he darts straight for my tires. He wants to be dead, dead, dead, and he wants me to kill him. He’s the Charlie Tuna of the treetops.
So far, I have resisted all his attempts to have me play the part of a mercy killer. But if he keeps it up, my patience might wear out. I keep wondering – what fuels his death wish? Is Mrs. Nutsy cheating with a bushier squirrel from the tree next door? Did some scavenging rodent steal the supply of pecans he’s painstakingly spent all summer amassing? Did some heartless frat boy spike an acorn with PCP and feed it to the little guy? I detect a series on Animal Planet here: “Suicide Squirrels.”
While browsing through the stacks in the library, I saw an anthology of stories collected by Alfred Hitchcock called Stories that Scared Even Me. Now, c’mon. Did these tales really terrify old Alfred?
I SCANNED THE SHERIFF
The other day at the grocery store checkout, I noticed that the nametag of the high school girl who scanned my items said her name was “Marley.” And she didn’t have black skin or dreadlocks, or talk with a Jamaican accent. I said, “I know you probably get this all the time, but were you named after the singer?” She said, “You mean Bob Marley?” (as if maybe I thought the ghost in A Christmas Carol actually sang carols, I don’t know). I said “Yes,” and she then confirmed the fact that her parents were big Marley fans. “You know, there’s another girl who works here who’s named Marley as well,” she told me. I was a bit taken aback.
How did I miss this apparent trend –– little Millennial WASP girls named after the doobie king himself? Have any of you run into someone (not a Rastafarian vocalist) named Marley? Is there already a women’s perfume or a Bratz doll character named Marley?
AISLES OF SMILES
Speaking of grocery stores, I notice that they have upgraded the special kiddie carts they provide for parents to push small kids around the aisles in. They used to have those extra-long carts with a few plastic seats just added on the back, but now they are using big enclosed plastic buggies, with fake steering wheels and flashing lights on the fake dashboard to keep the sugar-fueled little tykes occupied while mom tries to ignore them and shop. Some of the buggies at the HEB where I shop are even decorated with pictures of Barney and Baby Bop.
I’m wondering two things. First of all, since almost all consumer products evolve endlessly, what is the next step for these kiddie carts? Will they next have actual TV screens and DVD players in them, so kids can watch TV or DVDs while mommy shops? And will they then add X-Boxes or Playstations? I wouldn’t doubt it.
My second thought is this. If kids can have this opportunity to be entertained when faced with being forced to endure a boring shopping trip, why not adults? When men are forced to accompany their wives clothes shopping, why can’t they sit in an enclosed cart filled with munchies and beer, a TV tuned to sports and copies of Maxim and Stuff? And gals, when you have to accompany your husbands as they patrol the aisles at Home Depot or the neighborhood electronics store, why can’t you be pushed around in comfort in a buggy filled with snacks and video or your choice as you lounge on a seat with built-in massage devices? Hmmm?
KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS
A few weeks ago in the 4th grade Sunday school class Mrs. Muley and I teach, they had a Baylor baseball player come and give his testimony to the kids, and talk to them about his plans for life. He mentioned that after he finishes playing baseball, he might go to seminary. “Does anyone know what a seminary is?” he asked the class. One puzzled-looking little boy raised his hand.
“Isn’t that where they bury people?” he replied.
Quote of the week:
"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base."