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counting coup or what?
counting coup or what?
Counting Coup, or What?
Well, I’ve slaved over this and re-written extensively, to try to get past the censors. I’ve deleted pretty much all of the adjectives. Oh, and I had to pretty much entirely delete the part about the night I on the to the with the twin and half a gallon of lube.
Anyway, I don’t want to talk about me today. I want to discuss those… squirrels! They’re sitting at the edge of the road on every switchback. When you drive by, they dash across the road at the last minute and throw themselves under your tires. Sometimes, they cross the road, then double back to dive under your car! If you try to dodge them, they dodge too, then they dive right under your car. I manage to avoid squishing more than one or two a year, but there are three or four flattened ones on the road every day.
Today, one of them did that to me, on my bicycle! The lazy little thing only dodged back and forth across about a quarter of the road, then at the last split second, dove under my wheel. I managed to yank the wheel away without crashing, and just booted him with my foot, which was locked into the pedal. THEN, on the way back, the SAME SQUIRREL, in the SAME place, but on the opposite side of the road, did the SAME THING to me!
So what is up with this? Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard all the arm-waving pontifications about this being some vital natural behavior that we’ve disrupted by building a highway through squirrel habitat. Nobody has offered any proof or a clue as to WHAT the evolutionary advantage to this is, though. And there is nothing resembling the shoulder of a highway that they could have evolved to sit on and dash across. Anyway, if it were an evolutionary thing, you would think that 100 generations of flattening the ones that dash under cars would be a strong counter-selection for that trait.
No, I think it’s got to be cultural. So is life as a squirrel so bad that they’re all trying to off themselves? I don’t think so. The oak woods have been expanding for a century, leaving plenty of acorns. Tourism is increasing, bringing plenty of rubes to throw popcorn at them. No, I think the fuzzy rats are fat and wealthy. Looks to me like they’ve got the ultimate in teen angst going. I think there’re ten more of the fuzzy little things hiding up in a tree, egging-on the one in the road.
“Come on Joey, you can do it!”
“Don’t be a chicken, man, go for it!”
I’m thinking they get, probably, ten points for making a car swerve. Maybe twenty points for touching the sidewall of the tire. Fifty points for touching the floor pan. A thousand points for making a car go into the ditch. They’re probably having a contest with the deer. But the bicycle… that critter was just being obnoxious.
(Heh, heh. Mama hawk is sitting on a limb outside my window with one of those squirrels held in one claw. From time to time, she casually shakes the hell out of it. Must be some revenge going on there...)