Friday, March 16, 2007

March Madness

I am really disappointed.

Three days ago I replaced the latest in the series of bird feeders that our resident squirrels have destroyed with another one of the same type, but hung from a much longer wire. The theory is that if the little tree rats cannot reach the container by hanging from the supporting branch with their back feet then they would not be able to ravage it.

So far it's working. And I am stunned.

Here is what I thought would have happened.

(1) Most likely scenario. The first squirrel to arrive grasps the branch with its hind feet and lowers itself slowly down towards the base of the feeder carefully controlling its backward bend with its rock-hard six-pack of abdominal muscles. He stops at the point where his prior conditioning has taught him the target should be, opens his mouth for the first big bite of plastic, and gets absolutely nothing - the squirrel equivalent of shooting an air ball. Embarrassed by his bad showing, but still confident of his ability to sink the big basket he calmly and effortlessly raises himself to the branch and lays down to plan his next move - his brow twisted in a look of delightedly challenged confusion. After a brief timeout he lowers himself back down and using his front paws on the wire pulls the bottle up to meet its fate.

(2) Next most probable chain of events. In the book "The World According to Garp" there's a dog that is taunted by a nemesis cat that places itself just beyond the range of the dog's chain and sits mockingly. The canine repeatedly runs (apparently fruitlessly) to the end of its lead until, unbeknownst to the feline, the dog has stretched that restraint just enough to reach it - and successfully pounce. Inspired by this story one of the more literate squirrels will continually drop itself headfirst in a bungee jump-like maneuver until it elongates itself sufficiently to devour the decanter. Unlike the Garp pooch whose plan unfolded over several chapters, the squirrel lengthening will occur overnight and the bottle will be demolished by the time we come home from our morning workout the next day.

(3) Farfetched, but based upon past performances definitely possible. The tree rats will choreograph and execute a reverse squirrel pyramid. This move will be equivalent in daring and degree of difficulty to the most complex structure ever formed by either the dance troupe Pilobolus or the best college cheerleading squad. They will of course rotate who gets to be on the lowest part in order to ensure equity and make sure that the formation doesn't become bottom heavy. Including rehearsals the plan should take twenty-four hours max to implement.

(4) Impossible to conceive. The squirrels surrender sole possession of the bird feeder to, of all things, the birds.

Personally, what with March Madness and all, I'm rooting for scenario number three. There is nothing more entertaining or inspiring than watching a group of underdogs heroically banding together to pull off that big upset.

So come on you guys! In spite of what it may look like, Mars and I really are rooting for you.

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