If you find any dead squirrels in my backyard, it is because they have laughed themselves to death.
It isn’t that I haven’t tried to wing one with my trusty Red Ryder pump-action BB gun with the camouflage stock. It is just that the rascals know I couldn’t hit a buffalo in the backside at five paces. I have even had them — the squirrels, not the buffalo — make faces at me as I pulled the trigger and shot a bloom off the azalea bush.
Marksmanship, like the ability to parallel park, is missing from my DNA.
What has the squirrels roaring with laughter is that there are actually people living on the planet who think I am a squirrel-killer after reading my column a couple of weeks ago about the little boogers being so hot they were pleading for me to shoot them.
Some readers obviously haven’t done their due diligence and researched my past columns about the abuse I take from squirrels. And, obviously, the squirrels have done nothing to dissuade them of the impression that I am the bad guy.
One reader backed into the subject by first taking exception to my criticism of Mexicans in Atlanta. I didn’t have the nerve to remind her that my criticism was for Senor Wences, the dweeb that runs Mexico and how he would act if we came to his country illegally and went to his schools and made him pay for birthing our babies. She added, “Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention ‘animal cruelty,’ shooting those little creatures in your backyard. How sorry is that?”
She wound up telling me that my whole attitude was “said.” I wrote her back and told her I think she meant “sad.” She wrote me back and told me to mind my own business. Squirrel lovers can have such an attitude.
The squirrels thought it was a great letter. They could care less about Mexico. They’d rather spend their time eating my birdseed.
I also heard from an honest-to-God ambassador (I’m not making this up) who said that “the effect of the high heat in Georgia seems to have been to addle your brain. Perhaps the fresh air of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the grandeur of Niagara Falls will restore some semblance of sanity and cause you to wonder why a grown man should draw so much satisfaction from popping squirrels with a BB Gun.”
I don’t have many rules at this advanced stage in my life except that I never insult a proctologist during an office visit, I try to avoid broccoli at all costs and I always listen intently when being lectured by an ambassador. You have to be pretty smart to be an ambassador. Smarter than I am.
I proudly showed the squirrels my note from the ambassador and they laughed and hooted and threw nuts at me. I discovered that squirrels don’t recognize the moral authority of ambassadors when they promptly ate his e-mail. That deflated my ego and I am afraid to tell the ambassador about the squirrels’ lack of respect. Most ambassadors don’t have much of a sense of humor and would not take kindly to knowing that squirrels don’t particularly hold them in high regard.
However, I have taken the ambassador’s advice and am currently inhaling the fresh air of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and observing the grandeur of Niagara Falls — which I would have done anyway since I had already paid for the trip, but don’t tell His Eminence that because I still have to figure out a way to tell him about the squirrels first. Ambassadors can only take so much bad news at one time.
I had hoped that the squirrels might go with me on my trip and we could do a little bonding, but they said “no.” They told me that squirrels up north talk too loud and act like they know everything and eat nuts from the hornbeam trees, which they find disgusting.
Sadly, I don’t expect much to change when I get home. The little devils will still be trying to steal my birdseed and Red Ryder and I will still be shooting blooms off the azaleas and getting criticized by animal lovers who have unfairly painted me as the villain in this never-ending conflict.
If I sound whiny, I am sorry, but I find the whole situation very “said.”
E-mail columnist Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org.