By Wayne William Cipriano
I have just about had it with Rocky, the Door-Eating Squirrel.
The trouble started as it always does, when I decided to “improve” a well functioning item –– in this case, a fairly presentable, perfectly operating basement door.
For some reason that I cannot bring to mind presently, I thought sheathing the outside of our basement door with a piece of ½” particle board was a good idea. Now everyone knows particleboard has but one positive attribute to line up against its legions of negative qualities –– it is cheap. And, since it was cheap and pretty much useless for anything else, I nailed it to the outside of the door, perhaps as a cushion against the weather.
Mother Nature’s sense of humor is on display as I watch Rocky eating the particle board, or more precisely, just the very top surface of it. Of course, I respond.
First comes hot pepper sauce thickly sprayed on. Rocky relishes the tan it adds to the delicious door. Then, I apply flat gray primer paint but Rocky actually seems to prefer it painted judging by the increase in door surface consumed per day.
Yes, when I hear the door being eaten I jerk it open screaming like a fool. It does chase Rocky off, but lately when I hear chewing and rush out yelling I see a few other squirrels sitting in the trees sort of checking me out.
Is this a set-up by Rocky to make me look ridiculous in front of family members and friends (Rocky’s and mine), some sort of Judge Judy-like entertainment? Well, we shall see about that!
In order to save the door, re-establish the proper relationship among the inhabitants of our place, and to serve as an object lessen to other potential destructors, Rocky must go.
My cousin Billy, due I think to a series of tragic squirrel interactions in his youth and known as the Southbury Scourge of Squirrels, dislikes them intensely. He refers to them as “nothing but tree-hugging rats with fancy tails and effective public relations.” Billy suggests burning down Rocky’s tree and waiting along his escape path with a flat shovel.
I’m trying to ignore Billy’s plan and think of some more humane way to save the basement door, but standing and yelling at Rocky while others of his/her species watch, and chortle is quickly turning me from Gandhi to Attila.