The Dude Rules

The Dude.

We have discussed squirrels on this page before. I want to make it clear from Jump Street that I have nothing against squirrels. I, too, am a chattering mammal. But the situation at my place is getting out of hand.

All gray squirrels look pretty much alike to me. And the squirrels in my front yard have refused, to a man or woman, to be interviewed. So I cannot tell you for sure — with sources from two squirrels who have been reliable in the past — that the dude who’s been showing up on my windowsill early every morning for more than a month is the same guy who threw that tremendous head fake in the column vide supra. But I bet he is.

Let us call this squirrel The Dude.

So. I have set up my home office in such wise that I can look out a window over the computer screen to see the sun rise. Then pull the blinds.

Outside this window I hung a bird feeder, so I can see our delightful denizens of the air munch down and, as I understand their language, argue about this and that.

Eat your heart out, Dude.

Now, this particular squirrel — The Dude — believes, in his rodent mind, that he can steal my birdseed from my bird-feeder and my birds, on his own say-so.

Mostly finches and sparrows. When that cowbird show up and try to thow his weight around, I show him what weight is, with this knuckle on glass.

Big fat Catbird, so proud of hisself: fat wimp — lousy father.

But here’s the thing: This bird feeder was designed by a Homo sapiens.

If a big fat thief — say, a squirrel or a cowbird — jumps on it to try to eat seeds, the contraption sinks down and closes all windows of ingress — et voila! — no seeds for you, pal.

Now, I have been watching this daily drama for weeks, and it had never got to the point that The Dude made the jump to the feeder — and gets Shut Out.

Until t’other day.

I repeat: I do not hate squirrels, or The Dude, or the family Sciuridae, which, I hardly need tell you, includes flying squirrels. (Try it, Dude. Let me watch you.)

For more than a month I have been looking forward to seeing The Dude take that leap to the bird feeder, so I can see the look on his face when he finds himself Shut Out.

It should be evident by now that I have been snapping photos of The Dude — obsessively? perhaps obsessively — for weeks and months, as he believes he is approaching his Promised Land.

I hope it also is evident that despite my fulminations and recriminations, I love the little guy. And that if I can do one more thing in this life that will make me happy as I lie — I hope — in my own bed on my dying day, it will be that I photographed that little dude’s humiliation — tryna steal seeds from the birds.

Well, my friends, I missed my chance. Here’s what happened on Wednesday.

I saw The Dude make the leap to the bird feeder. I saw the look on his face as he realized he had been Shut Out.

It may not have been to die for, but it was worth way more than two months sitting at home wondering if I was about to die of some fucking virus.

Why did I miss this classic shot?

The photo that could have elevated me into the realms of the immortal photographers?

Because I couldn’t find my camera.

And why couldn’t I find my little camera on Wednesday?

Because I had put it into the washing machine in the pocket of my shorts.

Which I found out Thursday.

So, Mr. Squirrel Dude: We shall meet again.

You come bearing your sharp teeth, your mammalian intelligence and your wiles.

I’ll come, probably, with a young woman on my arm, telling me in Spanish — in which I am fluent — “No, Mr. Kahn, the squirrels wish you no harm.”

And we’ll see who eats what when then and why, Dude.


(Courthouse News editor Robert Kahn outweighs The Dude by about 137 to 1. His next column will prove the theorem: There is no such thing as one mouse.)

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