Squirrel Story 🐿

How I got attacked by a squirrel when I was in college—and why I absolutely deserved it.

(Richard Sagredo/Unsplash)

This week has been a week of rodents on MidRange, starting with the beaver, continuing with a gopher, and ending with the squirrel.

And in the case of the squirrel, I have an up-close-and-personal tale that I must share that dates to my college days.

When I was in college, I had figured out the perfect way to stay on campus during the summers—in exchange for working a maintenance job in my college dorm and then doing security in that dorm one weekend a month, I was given the ability to stay in the dorm for free, complete with full-time maintenance job.

That job, which I did over three separate summers, had its ups and downs—at one point I twisted my knee because the ground had gotten too slick under me when running a floor machine at 3am in the morning—but overall if you’re in college and looking to stay in the cool college town, I’d recommend it. It’s not terribly difficult work and you can even take classes if you feel compelled to do more than stick around in your dorm room. Plus, I learned a lot from cleaning out hundreds of dorm rooms. You dorks forget a lot of stuff!

So anyway, one day, my team of fellow college students was tasked to empty out external trash cans, of which there were many. The dorm building, which was laid out in the general shape of a TIE Fighter, had a forest-y area behind it, which meant that a little wildlife was always nearby. And as I was opening one of the trash bins, a squirrel jumped out at me and onto my person.

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What I looked like when the squirrel attacked. (Demi-Felicia Vares/Unsplash)

The encounter was brief, lasting all of ten seconds, but the impact to my psyche was incalculable. Like me, the squirrel did not know what to do, and so we were in this brief tango of who will bite the other person. I mean, I wasn’t going to bite the squirrel, but how was the squirrel supposed to know that?

Likewise, the squirrel could have been a biter. He or she (I did not get the gender, sorry) could have looked at me like a giant acorn, or (more likely) a tree. Or a predator.

The squirrel eventually jumped off. I was scratched up a little, but not too much worse for wear, except emotionally. Fight or flight mode had sunk in, and I think, like the squirrel, I chose flight.

My fellow college students, who I had annoyed over the summer by acting as their supervisor and simultaneously listening to the same annoying and fey indie rock I always do (meaning they had to listen to it as well), took great joy in this this moment. If there were smartphones back then, as opposed to Motorola RAZRs, it likely would have been the first video uploaded to YouTube.

The strange thing for me is that this incident happened more than 15 years ago at this point, and soon after I would actually have some semblance of a career. But in that moment, I was the guy who insisted on listening to Bright Eyes and Cursive on the communal stereo (as Saddle Creek was my label of fixation at the time) when they wanted to listen to Poison and Mötley Crüe. I was the guy who spent the past two months pushing us through 300 dorm rooms in a massive cleaning project.

I had never supervised anyone before! I was a total jerk! I did not learn those skills until later, honestly.

I will be honest with you—I got what I deserved in that day. A squirrel got the best of me. I’m just lucky there is no footage.

In three days, I will turn 40, and this is issue 40 of MidRange. Honestly, this is probably the best way for me to take the piss out of myself before that big day. Just imagine me, getting attacked by a squirrel, before anyone read a single word that I had written on the internet.

Especially keep that image in mind if I write something you disagree with.

Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes

Time left on clock ⏲: 9 minutes, 27 seconds

Ernie Smith

Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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