2005-04-29 - 7:46 p.m.
I've just wandered past a small park in downtown in Manhattan. It's just big enough to get a game of hop scotch going, if everyone kept their hands and arms inside the vehicle. There is one bench, and one random statue of a dead rich white guy who no one's heard of but that's about all. However, despite the paultry standings of this little botony experiment, there are squirrels running amuck.
Less than ten feet away there rolls the honking, angry, roadkill ready stampede of New York traffic, and yet somehow a few cute rats - let's not confuse them with the unsavory types - nibble away on discarded honey roasted peanuts from the Nuts for Nuts carts.
Now, it's not like there is an over abundance of squirrels fluttering about the city. Not like you ever see a squirrel getting into a fight with a stray cat over a bunch of Mcdonalds' food tossed out in the garbage. You don't see them. Anywhere. But in the parks.
It would be nice to think that these squirrel are the industrious types. Leaning over the rail in New Jersey like Travolta, thinking, one day...one day...that'll be me in that city, skiddishly running from everything that gets near me, but in the city...and then the squirrel would don a white jumpsuit and tear up a lighted dance floor.
But even I can't believe that. Squirrels can't swim...and the Hudson is really cold. I know this.
There is only one possible explination.
They were imported by the parks department.
Somewhere in this city is someone who's job it is to monitor the squirrel population and ensure that at any point in time, there are some cute fuzzies running around. Should the group dip in number at any point, this person actually has to procure one, import it onto our shores, and release it in the dark secrecy of night - to maintain the illusion. mind you - parting ways with the young critter it has wrenched from it's home only to dump it in a carbon monoxide stew destined to shorten it's life span by a few years...or months...how long to squirrels live?
It's like the fresh air fund in reverse.
Stare into their little eyes...you'll see the dispair...the longing for mom-mom and pop-pop...a real nut picked off a tree, and only occationally doing an impression of Frogger.
Either that or...can you grow squirrels...are there squirrel seeds available...I have to kick this crack habit...
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