A squirrel invaded my office.

Incident 1: Squirrel ate a box of donuts (I knew I should have polished them off). No witnesses.

Incident 2: Squirrel ate popcorn. Co-worker opened a screen and chased it out the window. A plastic square was installed in front of a hole in the wall. No, I don’t mean a restaurant.

Incident 3: Squirrel chewed through the plastic plate, then peed and pooped everywhere. Supervisor discovered the evidence, and began a cleaning frenzy. I accidentally vacuumed up a charger, took apart the vacuum to extricate the charger and unsuccessfully put the vacuum back together.

Field instructor visited. I pretended that everything was normal and that I wasn’t just sitting on the ground minutes ago, wrangling a screwdriver and a sad vacuum.

Heard scratches through the wall. Steel wool was stuffed in the hole, then covered with a plastic plate. Got a trap (the humane cage kind) to put in front of another hole, along with some delectable pears and peanut butter. As supervisor prepares the bait, she murmurs, “One peanut butter pear… two peanut butter pears… three peanut butter pears… four peanut butter pears…”

Supervisor offers me some peanut butter pears. I am a poor grad student. I cannot resist. I eat Squirrel bait, and like it.

Heard more scratching and tiny thudding steps. Finally turned to look and saw Squirrel staring down at me from the mantel. Watched with silent amusement as Squirrel crawled around and clambered up and down the pillars. Silently hoped that Squirrel would venture down into the trap. Realized that Supervisor might call and ask me to do something and scare Squirrel off, so sent an email with the subject line: “Shhh the Squirrel is in the Office and I See It…”

Supervisor ventures out to talk to me, and I speak in hushed tones, “Shhh… the squirrel is here…”

“What? Where?”

“It’s here… shhh… I sent you an email about it…”

Supervisor takes out iPhone to take a picture of Squirrel. iPhone snaps and flashes, and Supervisor jolts, already wired from being on Squirrel alert.

Eventually, we sit down at the same table, staring at Squirrel, who takes a long time to decide whether or not Squirrel wants to jump down. I feel like I am watching Animal Planet, and think to myself, Well, it’s not like I have anything better to do on a Friday night…

Squirrel jumps and clambers around the office.

“No, no, no,” Supervisor says. Peeing and pooping will no longer be tolerated in the office.

Squirrel scrambles away from shouting humans, and jumps back onto the mantle.

The staring commences once more. Eventually Squirrel descends from Squirrel’s perch, and I pray silently that Squirrel will venture into the trap. Catching Squirrel means victory, and Supervisor has promised, “Go into the trap and I will take you home…” Home being nature, several miles away from the office. It’s a pretty sweet deal. Some peanut butter pears… a free ride to a nice park… I think of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and how difficult it is to hitchhike, and how wonderful it is to finally get a ride. I am sympathizing far too with Squirrel.

Squirrel heads to Supervisor’s office. We chase after Squirrel, Supervisor whooping, hurrying Squirrel out the office door, down the steps, out the building. The door closes.


Elsewhere, Donglegate has unfolded and the ramifications are rippling. Perspectives from:

Venture Beat




Know Your Meme

Ars Technica

Mother Jones

The Blaze

Boing Boing

Adria Richards

Today’s post was supposed to be about a thought, but Squirrelgate was just too good, and I think in the midst of this Donglegate seriousness, it’s nice to have some levity. After all, I got so engrossed in reading about capital punishment in Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean that I rode three stations past my train stop.

2 thoughts on “Squirrelgate

  1. Squirrelgate is way super astonishgingly superlatively more cool than Donglegate. AND it happened to you, so that also puts it higher on the Life Relevance scale. WooHoo! Peanutbutterpear for the…. almost win? I bet Amy would like peanutbutterpears. Must find out soon. Must buy pears. OhwaitIanhaswhoopingcoughnotgoingshopping…. maybe next week!

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