As an Arizonian there was one thing that greatly excited me about coming to Kalamazoo College above all others: the squirrels. Who wouldn’t love the furry, little friends who romp up and down the huge trees on the quad? They are the cute residents with large poofy tails who share the space with us. However, there is an important issue that must be discussed when it comes to squirrels. There is a dark side to them that few people see, and I take the task upon myself to enlighten you.
First, they are far from cute. At first glance they seem playful and adorable, but under closer inspection they reveal themselves to be soulless beings the size of small cats with dead black eyes and whose sole aim is to terrorize the student population. For example, what is an easier task than emptying your dorm room’s trashcan? Normally, there would be nothing to make one fearful of such a mundane chore, but when squirrels enter the equation, this simple task becomes a treacherous endeavor. I have heard many horror stories about those sharp-clawed, fuzzy-tailed creatures leaping out at unsuspecting students innocently attempting to clean their rooms. Apparently squirrels commonly take up residence in the campus dumpsters. They can routinely be heard rummaging around in the trashcan placed around campus outside as well. So, if you hear a scuffling sound while walking past a trash can, drop everything and flee!
The squirrels have us on the run and they know it. Their egos have grown to match their ability to scare us silly. One day while I was walking to Humphrey House for class, I encountered a squirrel in the middle of the sidewalk. My guard was up, knowing their war-like nature, but I did not worry too much. I knew I had the advantage of size and expected it to scamper away. As I drew nearer my fear grew. The squirrel made no effort to move out of my way. I stopped about four feet away from the beast, which was larger than I had originally thought. It stared me down. I slowly began to inch around it, while it followed me with its eyes knowing it had beaten me. I did feel a little pathetic, having let a squirrel force me to move out of its way and not the other way around. However, I managed to escape the encounter unscathed, which is enough of a victory for me.
I caution you about squirrels. They are more audacious and daring than most people realize. From a distance, though, they are still adorable. I have seen few things cuter than squirrels leaping through several feet of snow. You can use them as a unit of measurement. “Why yes,” one could say, “he was about three squirrels deep in snow.” And it is quite entertaining to watch them as they chase each other through the fallen leaves in autumn (even though those encounters are cruel battles as they try to steal food from their fellow squirrels or attempt to chase intruders out of their territory). Stay safe out there and remember to enjoy squirrels from a distance.