Squirrels: Fluffy Frolickers and Part-Time Water Skiers, or Nature’s Most Adorable Terrorists?

My story starts about a month ago when I moved from Tucson, AZ to the thriving metropolis that is Chicago! Okay, well not really Chicago, Chicago… but a small suburb south of Chicago called Oak Lawn, which, let’s just be real here, is exactly like Tucson except the trees are green and instead of landscaping with dirt and well-placed rocks, there’s grass. It should really just be Tucson, IL as                                                                                   a matter of fact. Big Move there, Jennifer.

At least I’m near Chicago and I came here to start my big city life doing…something. I haven’t quite nailed that something down yet but let’s just say I have a lotta stokes in the fire. Yup. Things are gonna happen! Any minute now… seriously. Seriously! Come on, phone… ring dammit! I’m ready to be a cosmopolitan girl living fast in the city, not sitting in a Corner Bakery because they have free WiFi.

Alright, I’m going a bit stir crazy here in bizarro Tucson. Instead of living the big life,  I have seen ALL of TV. Oh yeah… On Demand, baby! I have seen shows I didn’t even know existed. I have seen shows that shouldn’t exist. One minute, I’m thinking, Who on earth is going to watch a show about beards? This is insane! Oh wait… I’m watching a show about beards. Then I die a little more inside.

My big toenail fell off today and it makes perfect sense. Parts of my body are literally jumping ship, clearly in search for a more adventurous life. I wish it luck in it’s journey. Needless to say I’m going a bit nuts with all this energy devoted solely to changing the channel and watching parts of my body shrivel up and die.

I’m not the only thing going stir crazy in Oak Lawn, IL, however. There is an omnipresent population of giant, fluffy, adorable squirrels. I have yet to see a single pigeon… but the squirrels are EVERYWHERE. They have been a great source of entertainment for me since one of my other big and impressive activities is sitting on the porch. Yeah, I read out there, talk on the phone sometimes, or just kind of sit there staring into the abyss wondering what the Hell I’m doing. Jealous? Thought so. But at least there are dozens of giant, frolicking squirrels to watch. They run all over the lawns, up the trees, down the trees, and oh my god I’m like a sad old man feeding birds at the park. Well, I’ll admit that I enjoyed watching those creatures flit and flirt about since we only have creatures that would eat those creatures in Tucson. I’ve seen a squirrel or two there, but they were usually in the air being carried away by a giant hawk. Squirrel  watching was, being the fluffy creature lover that I am, awesome.

Well, it was awesome. The one thing I enjoyed most while in the midst of a pre-midlife crisis, was ripped brutally from my remote control calloused hands. One squirrel, in particular, went from being an adorable, playful animal to nature’s most dangerous terrorist. He was the Ted Bundy of squirrels: way too cute to be dangerous until you end up strangled in the woods somewhere.

Let me just start by saying that I have witnesses. This is going to sound so far-fetched, especially with my declining mental stability, but I assure you that there is absolutely NO exaggeration in what is to follow. It is a harrowing story of peaceful, nature loving girl, sitting on the front porch talking to her mom who’s hundreds of miles away, innocently watching the resident squirrels do their squirrel things. Then, shit got real. One minute, this gorgeous Snow White-like girl (okay, it’s me), used to having animals trust and flock to her baring gifts of twigs and sweet songs, was in the process of saying to her mother, “Awww… there’s this squirrel right in front of me…” (most likely expecting it to present her with a shiny nut it had picked out specially for her) when it then turned to blood curdling screaming into the phone, and to the neighborhood, “It’s coming after me!!!! AHHHHHHH!” Yes, one of nature’s tiny minions bore it’s teeth, crouched like a guard dog, grunted, furrowed it’s brow, twitched it’s tail, and sprang towards me while I stood screaming in the driveway. My mom, on the other end of the phone, upon hearing her daughter screaming, started screaming herself, “What’s happening? What’s going on?!” most likely thinking I was being hunted down by an axe-wielding madman. My reply? “The squirrel is chasing me! The squirrel is chasing me!” My mom hung up.

Now, I had the attention of the neighbors as they watched some new girl run screaming down the street, through their front yards, and around their trees, being chased by a psychotic squirrel. And that thing would NOT give up! It was even crouching in the entrance way to the house, hell-bent on me not getting to safety. Thanks to my countless hours of television watching, I got an idea from some sports show about football or other ball-related sport. I faked left, then dodged to the right and ran like hell. And it worked! I was able to finally get to the front door and get inside with that demon squirrel still chasing me. When I slammed the door behind me, there was “thump” on the other side…

Ha! Stupid squirrel… who’s the one that looks dumb now? Certainly not the strange girl running and screaming to the neighborhood to stay in their houses, lock their doors! There’s a crazy squirrel out here! Yeah, I totally Atticus Finched that situation. I basically saved the neighbors’ lives from the number one al-Qaeda of squirrels. You’re welcome, Oak Lawn.

As it turns out the squirrel, like Robert Dinero in Cape Fear (he’s under the car!), kept trying to come after me even though I was in the house. I could still hear it’s tiny frightening grunts and one of my neighbors who came outside when I screamed “Stay inside!” saw the possessed creature climbing the walls to try to get in through the windows.The neighbor started laughing, and like The Terminator, the squirrel froze, turned it’s head, and with the fires of hell in his eyes dashed towards the neighbor, who was then chased all throughout his backyard until he could get to the door. I had said, “Stay inside! There’s a crazy squirrel out here!” but, like idiot people do when they hear gun shots (me included), he ran outside to see what was going on. He found out.

The call to Animal Control was an interesting one. I have never had to repeat myself so many times and the hysterical laughter coming from the other end was pissing me off. This is serious! There is a rabid squirrel out there with a taste for human blood and vengeance in it’s heart! This is NO laughing matter, sir! But, the laughter continued when he was finally able to catch enough breath to tell me that the squirrel didn’t have rabies, it was just horny. Apparently squirrels get aggressive when they have to bust a nut, so to speak. So, yeah… I was chased around the neighborhood (and consequently met most of my neighbors for the first time) by a sex-crazed squirrel who didn’t understand that no means no.

Later, the forever shirtless elderly man in the apartment next door with giant white orthopedic shoes, patchy skin (he has a skin disease and  he can’t feel hot or cold – hence the anti-shirt policy), and a voice like Daffy Duck due to some throat affliction, stood underneath my window and was trying to say something that I couldn’t quite make out… it was as if his words were being filtered through a shirtless kazoo, but I could make out the word “squirrel” and I was glad to have another witness. Turns out, that the same psycho sex maniac squirrel tried to rape one of his giant orthopedic shoes, so he sprayed it with the hose until it drown. Yes, the squirrel raped his shoe, then proceeded to just sit there getting sprayed in the face by a garden hose until it drown….from a hose…held by the shirtless orthopedic helium-voiced wonder. He wanted me to come and “identify” it, so I went over and there it was: a dead, wet squirrel. Our saga had come to a sad and soggy end. Well, I suppose it was better than hanging sex-offender notifications throughout the neighborhood with a picture of a squirrel on them.

This is what I moved half-way across the country for… What I left everything behind for! Big city adventures, huh? You’re empathizing with that toenail I lost this morning, aren’t you? Well, it’s big exciting journey probably won’t include being stalked and chased by a rapist Taliban squirrel. And I would have NEVER gotten that experience if I was actually living the dream in the city of Chicago…where I wanted to move in the first place. Nope. I’d just have some thriving career in a big, thriving city, with diverse and opulent nightlife, culture, options of amazing things to do every single night of the week – so many, in fact, that I would have a hard time choosing which activity in which to partake. I would be all blase by now, used to the banquet of cool shit to do. I’d have an apartment close to the transit lines and be able hop on and off with careless abandon, always ending up in place where something super awesome was taking place. I’d start dressing like Katniss Everdeen so I could fit in with the big city hipsters instead of wearing my ten year old University of Arizona hoodie every single day. I’d actually have to put on pants.

So, you see… things are really going great here, in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Really. No, really… I’m doing awe-some! Super!I honestly don’t want to burst into tears just because I can tell you exactly how to judge a bearding competition. You know what? I am also really damn proud of myself for busting out my sweet moves to fake out a squirrel who had a giant hard-on for me. I couldn’t have done that in Chicago, no sir! I have learned some valuable life lessons in Oak Lawn that I could never have learned in Chicago: that I’m fast and have the athletic prowess to outrun a crazed squirrel, that there IS such a thing as infamy within a one block radius, that I can make a good first impression by saving the neighborhood and alerting them to a fuzzy sexual predator, that one can live with every known (and probably unknown) disease as long as you never wear a shirt and have magical orthopedic shoes that can take a raping, and that some squirrels will let you spray them in the face with a hose. However, the most important lesson that I’ve learned, is that throughout all of this, no matter how many TV shows I can pack into a single sitting, no matter how many consecutive days I can wear the same clothes and no one notices, or how many times I blow my new rape whistle when I see a squirrel… I can still keep my dignity.

RIP Nutty: May you rape and water ski freely in heaven.


By:  Jennifer Kinkaid