Monday, July 13, 2009

The Dead Squirrel Conundrum

The following exchange has recently been unearthed from the online archives of the University of Western Ontario's school newspaper, The Gazette. It occurred in October of 1998, when the instigator of the discussion was just a budding first-year undergraduate student.

Get that dead thing outta here

Re: Dead things on campus

To the Editor:

A few days ago, I was wandering down the main path leading up UC Hill (or down UC Hill, depending on which direction you're going), when I came across an odd sight. A dead squirrel was beside the path and it was in perfect condition.

I'm used to seeing smooshed squirrels by the side of the road, but this one looked like it was just walking along, doing whatever squirrels do, when its body ceased to work. Ok, so I suppose squirrels can have heart attacks too, but it was still a bit freaky.

Anyway, I figured that within a few hours the little guy would be taken away and given a proper burial by Western's fine janitorial staff. However, when I walked by again a few hours later, it was still there, in exactly the same position as before. Ok, so nobody had noticed it yet. Fair enough. But the real shocker came when I walked past again the next day and still, nobody had taken it away.

While I personally wasn't terribly upset by the sight of the dead squirrel, I'm sure that one person out of the thousands that walk by that path every day was. You'd think that one of those garbage sucker machines could come along and suck the thing up before some squeamish person pukes on it.

This would make an even grosser mess, causing someone else to puke on it and eventually you have a chain reaction going (ever seen Stand By Me?) that could lead to a very slippery hill. I won't even mention the smell.

This letter has two points. First, whoever is in charge of removing dead things from the campus should be a little more swift in the future. Second, if you see any dead things lying around, please suppress the urge to vomit.


Undeclared I

Someone else

Re: Dead things on campus, Oct. 21

To the Editor:

I was meandering up UC Hill yesterday, as did Mike [REDACTED], when I noticed the dead squirrel. The only difference was that it was between two rocks, which had undoubtedly been used to pound the creature's body into the flattened state I found it in. Also, its tail had been snapped off and was found a few feet away.

Needless to say, I was disgusted. Yet, unlike Mr. [REDACTED] (and other students), I took action. I contacted The Gazette and the University Students' Council, which in turn called the police. The office I met with on the hill called someone from maintenance and, presumably, the rotting and bludgeoned corpse has been disposed of.

At the time, I had no idea the body had been there for a few days. I personally thought it had been part of a cruel prank. Mr. [REDACTED], why didn't you contact someone the moment you found the body? Why didn't you complain after seeing the pitiful squirrel for a second day? The problem with most people is that they always assume "someone else will do it."

Please remember that we are all "someone else" to someone else – it is best to get things done yourself. Next time, Mr. [REDACTED], take action – don't just complain about it.


Psychology I

Squirrel response

Re: Someone else, Oct. 22

To the Editor:

I'm writing in response to Sarah [REDACTED]'s letter in Oct. 22's Gazette.

First of all, I must say that I truly respect her for reporting the mutilated squirrel on UC Hill to the appropriate people. This shows that she is much less apathetic than myself and all of the other people who noticed the squirrel.

However, I must defend myself by saying that my letter was not so much a complaint, but more of an observation. Western's campus is one of the most beautiful in Canada and the maintenance people usually do an excellent job of keeping it clean. I just found it odd that it took them so long to dispose of this unusual piece of trash.

Secondly, to whoever ripped off the dead squirrel's tail and then flattened its body – WHY exactly did you do that? Beating dead squirrels puts you above even the "preppy gang" on the wimpiness scale.

Perhaps you've had traumatic encounters with squirrels in the past (I know I have), but what you did will just make the other squirrels mad at you. I suggest you move to a city without trees.


Undeclared I

Them crazy squirrel lovers

Re: Squirrel Response, Oct. 27

To the Editor:

I'd like to apologize for my hasty and frustrated response to Mike [REDACTED]'s letter (Oct. 21, "Get that dead thing outta here").

I misinterpreted his letter as being a childish complaint, rather than the commentary it was meant to be. However, I still believe he should have taken action. I'm glad to know he's not the lazy, apathetic whiner I first took him to be. Sorry, Mike!

Further, I am just as puzzled as Mike [REDACTED] as to the condition I found the squirrel in. Who exactly beat the dead body to a pulp? Who snapped its tail off? These acts of brutality are NOT supported by our society! I never thought a fellow Western student could stoop to such a level.

To that person, I'd like to say two things. One, I have no respect for you and what you did. Two, why didn't you take the time used to massacre the corpse and do something more productive, such as study, or even contact maintenance to have it cleaned up? Or more importantly, appreciate the beauty of our campus. For, by acting the way you did, you showed us that you have no pride in this, OUR Alma Mater.

I understand and respect the fact that not everyone loves squirrels. However, that doesn't mean you have the right to act in such a fashion. The first step to becoming a human is learning co-existence. Don't forget to inform the rest of us of the day you gain an opposable thumb.


Psychology I

It should also be mentioned that the day the last letter was published, I sat down in a random free seat in my psychology class, and noticed that someone sitting beside me was showing the paper to her friends. Eavesdropping, it became clear that she was, in fact, Sarah, the author of the letters. I introduced myself and she apologized again for her letter. Hilarious. I wonder if she stayed in psychology? I hope so, because I'll probably run into her again someday and can bring up our epic squirrel discussion.


Anonymous said...

Did you see Up?

Dug: Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, "I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead." Ha! It is funny because the squirrel is dead.

shine said...

It's amazing what college students do in their free time...

EVILFLU said...

I'm really sad that somebody took off his tail and smooshed it with a rock!! Who does that? :/

Very cool that you found the person who replied!

Anonymous said...

awww... it's like some sort of stars aligned there... and represented itself in the form of a dead squirrel. You shloud've asked this Sarah for her number!

Phronk said...

Sass: I haven't seen it yet but now I simply must.

Shine: I know. Students are the scum of the earth.

EvilFlu: Yeah I'm pretty baffled about that. I'm hoping it just got run over or something and looked like it was smooshed by hand. Stomping a dead squirrel just isn't really human.

Lainy: Hehe, how romantic! I would've asked if she was cuter.

(or at least I can say I would've. In reality I'd probably be unable to say a single word.)

Hey Lady! said...

Yes, I'm bored and procrastinating and not doing my work and reading old posts. Could not help but comment on this one... I find this all very shocking. Not that someone did not take action after initially seeing a dead squirrel, or that someone crushed an already dead squirrel, but that anyone cares enough to write about it in the paper, and that the paper thinks it important enough to publish. That shows an abundance of time I never had while in college.

Phronk said...

Hehe, I'm glad this crappy blog helped with your procrastination. It is rather surprising. I think the paper took it about as seriously as I did, and just published it just for the LOLs.