Thursday, October 21, 2010

Squirrelus Bruinus: here, there, everywhere

I have nothing against animals. I am quite happy to live alongside them in perpetual peace and harmony. They nibble and scurry around in their own little worlds; I do the same in mine. Unlike some people, however, I do not melt like a BaskinRobbins cone in 90 degree heat the moment a furry being (or something resembling one) appears in my field of vision. I am mildly fond of dogs, see cats as furry, devious creatures, and have no use for spheroids like hamsters. I am no animal hater. Just a trifle ho-hum about their beady eyes and soft, warm fur.

I used to think of squirrels in the same abstract terms, until I came to the horrible realization that they are giant, marauding anarchists. 

If you have been around UCLA in any capacity during the last few years, you know exactly what I am talking about. These squirrels are freakishly brazen. They are not intimidated by human presence in the slightest. In fact, many of them systematically gang up on an unsuspecting freshman quietly enjoying his greasy pizza, causing him to flee in alarm. Then these thuggish balls of fur gleefully dismantle the giant slab of cheese and pepperoni. I strongly suspect UCLA is their natural habitat now. I wouldn't be surprised to see, twenty years from now, an enterprising graduate student study these squirrels as a research project.

Now just to make sure you folks don't think I am joking, I am posting a picture I took today of a squirrelus bruinus boldly bouncing around the Court of Sciences. Today was a rainy day too, but that clearly didn't faze this tough guy. Plus, posting this picture also allows me to flaunt the amazing abilities of my brand new iphone.
Aggressively nonchalant

Ice cream, pizza, bread, naan - you name it, they eat it. I have seen these wily creatures tenaciously drag 56%-eaten slices of pizza out of trash cans. That must be at least a month's worth of food. The campus authorities seem to have noticed these problems as well. Food courts now have ominous signs forbidding students to feed these squirrels because (and I am quoting now) "this is not their natural food." If only you had a chance to see these posers gorging on an ice-cream cone at 1 pm on Bruin Walk.

Even pigeons don't like these fellows! Citizen Lafayette and I had the rare privilege of seeing a pigeon chase a particularly obstinate squirrel around the coffee house for over 20 minutes.

These anarchists will not sleep in peace (or more accurately, crack nuts in peace) until they succeed in destroying every semblance of order in our society. There is a specter of anarchy haunting UCLA today. And we must unite!

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