Hissy Fit - April 2022 - Au Revoir, Squirrel: It’s All Your fault

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


April 2022
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen 

The Lowcountry is an outdoor paradise,
and it’s never more alive than spring.
Living here for many years, I have seen some amazing things
when it comes to animals in nature.

I witnessed dolphins in action not only strand feeding, but I actually saw them setting up their plan and interacting with each other. This is a learned practice indigenous to the Lowcountry salt marshes, and it’s something I will always be in awe of. Once, I walked close to five miles to where Fish Haul Creek splits the beach. My long walk bore a reward—a pair of bald eagles wading in the sea foam on the shore. I stood in amazement at their stature and power.

Alligators are always intriguing, and I have been surprised in seeing two baby alligators riding on their mother’s back, a turtle lazily perched on top of a gator’s head and a large gator crossing the road in front of my car. When they are up on all fours and right in front of your car, it seriously feels like you’re in the presence of a dinosaur. It’s cool and creepy all at the same time. I also had an aquarium when I was a child and learned the perils of a mother guppie. First, they give live birth, and secondly, they eat their babies. Pretty wicked if you ask me. I could go on and on, as nature gives us an endless perspective on how our world operates and how we all are connected.

However, none of these sightings prepared me for what I saw outside of my kitchen window just last week. I had to do a double take because it scared me. My brain couldn’t compute what I was looking at. Then everything became clear: It was a chubby squirrel hanging upside down on my bird feeder having a feast. As I stared at it, it vehemently stared back, almost as if it was saying, “Look, Mom! No hands!” This squirrel had attitude, blatantly daring me to interrupt its intrusion. I was appalled.

But why was I so irritated by this squirrel wanting some sunflower seeds? Squirrels need to eat, too. Right? And they are kind of cute, even though they are technically rodents. Fact is, before hanging my new bird feeder, I had nothing against squirrels. But now, I feel like Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) in Caddyshack, declaring war against the varmints—squirrels, gophers, snakes—anything that attempts to dine at my bird feeder other than birds! Though my bark is bigger than my bite.

My solution, thus far, has been to knock loudly on the window and yell at them. I say “them” because they are multiplying. My boyfriend offered to kill them with a pellet gun, but I declined. I don’t want to add dead squirrel guilt to my already riddled-with-guilt conscience from not vacuuming my room long enough as a kid, or wanting to eat out of the pink dish. (Who knew how important pink would become to me one day?) So, death is not an option…yet.

However, I have figured out why I’m so mad at the squirrels, and for the record, it is their fault. Number 1: They are greedy! No matter the variety of bird that comes to the feeder—cardinals, wrens, warblers—they take a nibble and move on. But not squirrels, they belly up morning, noon, night and snack. Practically every time I go into the kitchen (which is where I can see the bird feeder) at least one squirrel is there filling it’s face. They act like it’s the Golden Corral. And, they are intently disrespectful, which is their nature since they are rats with fuzzy tails. They jump, hang, maul and grope the feeder. Of course, they have broken the tines that support it. Once, I walked into the kitchen, paying no attention to the feeder, and suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I glimpse the feeder violently swinging toward the window. It startled me so that I jumped and gasped. Of course, it was that gluttonous rat bastard fleeing the scene, which made me reconsider death by pellet gun.

I have observed these squirrel thugs and come to the conclusion they are juvenile delinquents; they have no intentions of playing nice with others. They don’t care; they destroy things to get what they want, which is to fill their guts with MY bird seed. They have no manners, no grace and no gratitude. In other words, they suck! That’s why Carl Spackler became obsessed with reducing those pesky gophers—which are also rodents—to nothing more than greasy, grimy gopher guts. I totally understand his over zealousness to rid the Caddyshack golf course of blatant rodent terror and destruction to the point of going a little mad. I mean, really, 1,500 gallons of water in the gopher hole? Enough TNT to take down a building? I feel your pain, Carl! I can leave my hose on, but where can I get TNT?

Since squirrels are juvenile delinquents, always causing trouble, I’m sure they can’t read. But if one of them can, they better know I’m putting them on notice. Your days at my bird feeder are coming to an end. You know Bill Murray lives very close, just up in Charleston, and he will come down here and light up every last one of you. Don’t forget he is: “Licensed to kill gophers—and squirrels— by the government of the United Nations. A man, free to kill gophers—and squirrels— at will.” And he understands your evil ways! You squirrels better listen up. Carl (a.k.a. Bill) said, “To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They’re like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that’s all she wrote… In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher.’”

Ditto, Squirrel. Ditto.