A Squirrely Story
A scrub tech told me a story today. She said that she was deeply saddened by an incident that happened to her “on the way home from work yesterday.” I was trying to comfort her and assuming that it might be family problems. Maybe a sick cancer riddled grandmother or something. I thought I’d try to help by getting her to talk it out. Share her feelings. Women like to do that. I had a few psych classes back in nursing school and I was sure I could help. If nothing else, I needed the practice. Anyway, I asked opened ended questions and she told me.
“Well, it went like this. I was driving home from work yesterday and a squirrel ran out and I hit him. He was injured and twitching and spazaming on the side of the road. I felt terrible. The squirrel twitched and looked like he was suffering. I wanted to stop but the traffic was heavy. I then decided to turn around and go back. My daughter was with me and she was not as sensitive as I. She said, Mom, you can’t go back, that thing might have diseases, let it die in peace. I was horrified that she would be so unfeeling. I wanted to turn around and get a box and a little blanket and help him stay warm and comfort him until he finally passed away. I argued with my daughter and eventually I couldn’t stand it. I turned around and went back. When I got back to the spot, he was gone. I just knew he had crawled off into the woods somewhere and was suffering terribly.”
She looked at me and said, “well, isn’t that a horrible story?” I couldn’t keep it up. “It’s just a squirrel… a tree rat. I’m sorry, back home, I shoot them all day and eventually get enough to make a stew.” She looked at me and suddenly looked like she might cry. “I was just kidding… here I’ve got a squirrel story that has a happy ending,” and she perked up just a little. I started, “Well, I was heading to Vernonia a few weeks ago with my wife. We were talking and weaving through that tiny mountain road. Then all of a sudden a squirrel ran out. I hit the breaks and squealed and swerved almost going off the cliff. Then cla-clump! I heard the squirrel under the tires. I managed to correct the skid just in time and we didn’t go into the ravine. But it scared me pretty bad. We both looked back to see the totally dead and totally flat squirrel in the middle of the road. My wife started yelling at me saying, I can’t believe you killed the squirrel. The cute little squirrel… you killed it. I was getting a little angry and I responded, Hey, you saw me swerve and skid, you think I wasn’t trying to miss it… and it still managed to get under my tires. She looked back and said, Hey, because you swerved it was killed. Those things have natural instincts. He was running to get across in the right amount of time. Because you unexpectedly hit the breaks, you threw off his timing. If you would have kept driving, he would have made it. I fumed. I mean, how could you argue with that. It was pure woman logic. I drove on to Vernonia. Well, things were going fine and almost forty minutes into the ride we were coming into town. We both had almost forgotten about the hit and run squirrel accident. Just then, I saw another squirrel running across the road. It was a wide straight city street and the rodent had started from the opposite side. He was making a B-line straight for me at a dead full-squirrel-sprint- speed. I didn’t swerve. I didn’t hit the breaks. I tried to keep going at the same constant speed. Just as the squirrel disappeared under the car, I cringed and closed my eyes… and then we heard the ca-thump of the squirrel inter the tires. We both turned around and looked back. That poor squirrel was flatter than bible paper and not even a single twitch. I looked over at my dear wife. I could tell that she was a bit embarrassed over her anger out-burst from the first squirrel death. I said, “Well.” She looked a little sheepishly and said, Hmmm… I guess his timing may have been a little off.”
The nurse said, “What? that was a terrible story.” Blinking back the unbelief of her disappointment, “Well, it wasn’t so sad… and now we know it wasn’t the timing thing… I mean with your squirrel.”