Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Will, Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, Anni-Frid and Henry

It is said that Shakespeare has an observation on any and everything that could possibly happen in life, for example. "He hath eaten me out of house and home." (Henry IV).
And it's true. For years several generations of squirrels have been doing just that -- ingesting sunflower seeds, ears of corn and barbecue grill tires.

(A quick note on the middle item from "Ear corn or whole corn on the cob is fun to feed the furry creatures in your yard. As you might imagine, squirrels love to eat this entertaining treat...

Consider this, if you have a problem with squirrels dominating your bird feeders, buy some whole corn on the cob and establish a squirrel feeding station away from your bird feeders. Given the choice, squirells [sic] would rather munch on these cobs than hang from your feeders.")

That may be true of the "squirells" -- whom I actually believe were an American "Girl Group" of the early 1960's ("Dedicated to the One I Love"). But "squirrels" (at least at our house) still go for the forbidden seeds first, and then dine selectively on the yellow kernels, frequently letting them sit for several days in their special "Squirrel Corn Holder" (a wooden platform with a long screw onto which the cob is forced).

Maybe our mistake was placing that device on the oak trunk that serves as the main passageway from the tree-rats' penthouse drays to our centralized bird-feeding area located immediately across the front lawn. The rapacious rodents, with their little minds and big eyes fixated exclusively on the harder-to-get, and therefore more interesting sunflower seeds, rush right by the more phallic feeder station. It is only on their way back home that, now completely full but never totally satiated, they even notice the vulnerably placed kernels - a selection of amuse-bouches, which they linger to dine on at a more leisurely pace.

Squirrels, which tip the scales at around one and one half pounds per, eat about their weight in food each week. I would have thought "per day" but that is just based on my non-scientific, informal observations - and ever-escalating critter food expenses.

Now they are devouring the tires on my barbecue grill. The wheels are six-inch all-weather, crack-proof plastic. They clearly are not indigestible.

I have not actually seen them gnawing on the treads. And I have never, ever come across any polyethylene leftovers. I only really noticed the damage when I rolled the kettle cooker from the now dark backyard to our spot-lit driveway for some mid-winter, outdoor cooking. "Ka-thump." Stop. "Ka-thump." Stop. "Ka-thump. Crash" (as the metal ash catcher disk came loose.) Stop and curse.

This has happened before. Replacement parts are readily available online for a not unreasonable price. But that's not the point. I am feeling unappreciated and exploited by these ungrateful bushy-tailed little rats.

So, what to do? Are there thoughts of encouragement (or discouragement) specific to selfish squirrels anywhere in the 884,429 total words of Shakespeare's 43 works?

No. (At least according to

But I did come across "The Shakespeare Quote Generator" which will substitute terms of your choice into Shakespearean quotations selected by the website. Here is what it generated for me.

"Thou canst not say I did it: never shake Thy gory squirrel at me." (Macbeth)


"Banish plump Squirrel, and banish all the world." (Henry IV)


"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless squirrel!" (King Lear).

Cute, but not really helpful.

But wait. ABBA, the Swedish pop music quartet similarly boasts a lyric for every major human event. Back to Alas, there are no squirrel-centric ABBA lyrics -- even though their 139 opuses outstrip the output of the Bard of Avon by almost four to one. Not could I find an online algorithm machine to create any random ABBAisms.

However Henry David Thoreau, who had basically zero "Top 40" hits, did have this to offer. "The squirrel that you kill in jest dies in earnest."

I am not totally sure what it means. But my initial (and perhaps self-serving) interpretation is that a humorous turn-of-phrase can slay even the fiercest foe -- without getting any blood on my hands.

So here is my best, personally generated, shot. "The first thing we do, let's kill all the squirrels."

Actually that seems funnier in its original form.

No comments: