Corielle Bludgeons A Squirrel
The following events took place at approximately afternoon walk, yesterday:
Jimi and I are frolicking through Miami’s Bayfront Park. The sun is bright and hot and tempered by the cool ocean breeze. It is a typically resplendent winter day in South Florida, and we prance happily past the napping hobos in search of other dogs’ poops to pee on.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a squirrel on the lower branches of a nearby tree. “SQUIRREL!” I screech, pointing upward.
“OMG! YES! YAY! I LOVE SQUIRREL!” exclaims Jimi, standing on his hind legs and launching himself toward the perched squirrel, to indicate goodwill and playfulness.
“FUCK YOU, MOTHER FUCKER!” the squirrel screeches in reply, shaking his little squirrel fist menacingly at Jimi.
This is completely uncalled for. Clearly, Jimi just wants to play. I feel bad for exposing my sweet, innocent puppy to this foul-mouthed tree curmudgeon.
“HEY,” I intervene, stepping closer to the tree, “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself, squirrel.”
Jimi slaps his front paws against the tree trunk and woofs impatiently. “I LOVE YOU, SQUIRREL!”
“DEATH TO THE INFIDELS!” screams the obviously demented squirrel before grasping the tree branch like a squirrel trapeze and swinging into a tuck dive. It lands deftly on the lowest branch, just two feet from my furry baby’s face.
Jimi squeals with elation, springing into the air with frantic doggie excitement. The poor thing hasn’t yet recognized that we are dealing with a belligerent squirrel extremist.
Thankfully, I know a mentally unstable rodent when I see one.
“STAND DOWN!” I command, widening my stance and glaring up into its crazy squirrel eyes, asserting my status as the alpha animal in this situation. I bare my teeth.
Squirrel bares its teeth at Jimi, now sitting, like a very good boy, at the base of the tree. Throughout this entire exchange, Jimi has been innocent of anything beyond his own delightedness. His tail is helicopter wagging.
We can all agree, I think, that, if we were squirrels, we would want to play with my dog, or at least not be a dick about it.
Jimi in pursuit looks like a plump but zealous bunny rabbit, springing, rather than running, behind a disgruntled preymate. It is obviously super duper cute, and I encourage it whenever possible.
But I am not a serial squirrel agitator.
And I did not bring this next bit on myself.
The squirrel barres its teeth at Jimi. I load my cell phone laden wristlet into my clenched fist because this squirrel is an unpredictable maniac presumably infected with rabies.
It leans forward on its branch in a way which suggests that it is trapeze-launching an aerial assault on my happy little cotton ball’s face.
I will not allow this to happen.
Squirrel falls out of the tree in a way which, at first, looks very menacing, like an enemy squirrel paratrooper, and suggests impending dog attack.
It is important that I reiterate this.
Because, then, the squirrel falls from the tree, and I bludgeon it with my handbag.
I just fist-punt it out of the air like an angry squirrel baseball. The mother lioness will NOT be toiled with.
“SQQQUIRREEELLLLLL!” Jimi barks, bunny hopping furiously in pursuit of the new friend his mother has just punched.
Adrenaline rapidly dissipating, I wipe squirrel saliva and possibly the rabies virus off my wristlet. In hindsight, it looks as if a terrified squirrel has just plummeted out of a tree, clearly against its will, having overestimated its grip on the tree branch, only to be mercilessly pwned by a certifiably squirrel-hating brute.
But I reacted on first glance, back when it looked like my dog-child was being threatened.
Anyway, the squirrel, being a gifted acrobat-ninja, stuck its landing. It had plenty of time to brush itself off, watching Jimi bouncing gaily toward it, and laugh maniacally before scurrying up another tree. The rat bastard.
What’s important here is not that I punched an animal in a public park at lunch time, but that my maternal instincts caused me to lash out violently in presumed defense of my young.
Thankfully, I wasn’t carrying a gun, because this is Florida, and I would have been well within my rights to misunderstand that squirrel’s intentions and stand my ground by blowing its furry little face off.
Which is why I practice self-gun-control. I recognize that, if I carried a firearm, the odds of successfully using it to defend myself are immensely slim in proportion to the odds of discharging it due to accident and/or active imagination.
My mother once told me that, if she’d acted on all of her maternal instincts, a lot more people would be dead right now.
She has remained responsibly unarmed all these years, and I really wish more Americans would just voluntarily follow her lead. We’re so conditioned by a culture which reveres violence as entertainment–Have you SEEN those absurdly realistic commercials for first-person shooter video games? Seriously, what is the budget on one of those things?–to believe that we are in grave danger from a stranger’s violent assault.
Not only is this false, but the opposite is true. Two-thirds of all gun-related deaths in the United States each year are suicides. Having a gun in the house increases a woman’s chance of dying from a fatal gun wound threefold, most commonly at the hands of a partner or spouse. The vast majority of gun homicides are perpetrated using a friend or family member’s weapon.
Americans need to put on their big kid pants and accept that we cannot be trusted not to shoot our own eyes out.
In a feat of incredibly predictable yet shockingly influential propagandism, the N.R.A. has turned into a national debate the preposterous suggestion that more guns do NOT, in fact, mean more gun violence. Whichever side of that “debate” you come down on, it’s irrelevant, because no one can make the argument that more people choosing not to own a gun would mean less gun violence.
I’m talking about societal maturation. An second enlightenment. A second generation interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. We need a little less paranoid delusion and a little more playful pacifism. We need to make peace with the squirrels voices in our heads.