A couple days ago M and I were walking through Riverside Park at sunset trying to work up an appetite for dinner because not an hour beforehand we’d eaten Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for lunch, as grownups do. Pretty soon we discovered a city squirrel on our heels. Feeling proud of ourselves for attracting [I have rabies] such an exotic creature, we began coaxing it closer to us with terms of endearment and fake food. The squirrel [Rabies is what I have] inched close enough to M’s outstretched, empty hand [Rabies what] to realize he was being faked out, then he scampered away. “Damn,” said M. “Do you [Rabid rabid raps a lot] have any food in your purse?”
“Yeah right,” I said, insulted that M would assume I’m some kind of snack hoarder [It’s time to bite everything]. I reached into my bag to indicate that it was empty save for my wallet and great literature, and like some kind of witch I pulled out a packet of Chick Fil A granola [Heads off chickens] I’d been hoarding for a week. Never has a more ideal squirrel food [Blood] materialized [Blood] out of nowhere [Blood]. And so began our quest to feed a squirrel [I’ll come in the dead of night like a vampire bat] from our hands.
You know how Emerson said if the stars only appeared one night every thousand years or whatever [I’ll suck the blood from the stars], everyone would freak out because they’re so beautiful? Well city squirrels are actually really cute. Their adorable little faces [Eat the eyeballs first]. Their soft fur for petting [Clot with pink saliva]. Their teenie tiny paws that press down on your hand while the teeth crunch granola [Foam at the mouth]. I love them so much.
After thirty minutes of vigorous effort, I earned the trust of an adolescent squirrel in a tree. He followed the trail of Chick Fil A cereal directly into my palm–who wouldn’t?–and began [I’ll eat you then you can eat me and we can all be the same] chewing ecstatically. It was perhaps the best moment of my life. And then a dog [Sink my teeth into your skin] walked by. The squirrel dropped the granola in its mouth and clamped down on my finger instead. The Disney cartoon I’d been inhabiting [I’m not naturally aggressive I just want to eat everybody] suddenly turned into a remake of Cujo and I was shaking a filthy, rabid rodent off my hand before it could inflict me with its poison.
M and I both felt a little sheepish afterward. M lit a cigarette. We texted my mom. Had I gotten the tetanus shot she’d told me to get when my nephew was born? No. Karma. We left the park in a hurry. Googled “squirrel rabies.” So far I think I’m okay [Cow blood tastes the best], but I’m monitoring my emotional responses more ardently than usual. Now if I feel especially misanthropic or ferocious, I have to wonder.
The most telling part about this story [Last night I killed four subway rats with my bare hands] is that the night after the squirrel attacked my finger, I dreamed about an animal biting the same digit. Except in the dream incident, my subconscious saw fit to transform the squirrel into a bald eagle.
I know a family recently transplanted from Brooklyn. They gave me a tour of their new house down the street. “And this,” they said, “is the shed where we keep all of our stuff from New York.” Their many boxes of books and clothes and sheets had been relegated to a utility shed in the backyard where they held forth with a lawn mower and a broke-down stove. My friends’ personal belongings would have to remain there for a year because that’s how long bedbug eggs can live. I slowly backed away from the shed. These critters crawl out of your mattress at night, anesthetize you, then suck your blood. They destroy relationships, couches, and peace of mind. I did not want them anywhere near me. This guy, on the other hand, is crazy about them:
He took a glass jar swarming with thousands of hungry specimens of Cimex lectularius, better known as bedbugs. The small, roachy-looking bloodsuckers have been spreading through the nation’s homes and hotels at such a hyperventilated pace that by next year they are expected to displace cockroaches and termites as America’s leading domestic pest insect.
. . . . Mr. Sorkin pushed up his shirt sleeve and pressed the mesh end of the jar against the inside of his right arm. Roused to a frenzy by the twin cues of heat and carbon dioxide that “in evolution equal host,” said Mr. Sorkin, the insects scrambled toward the lid, thrust out their stylets and began to feed. For a good 10 minutes, Mr. Sorkin sat there with the proud placidity of a donor at a blood bank. He did not budge. He held the jar. He let the bedbugs bite.
“I can hardly feel it,” he said matter-of-factly, “and they do need to eat.”
You know what else needs to eat? Flesh-eating bacteria. But you don’t see me offering my leg below the knee. Zombies also get hungry. And tigers with rabies. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Have I made my point? Cannibals die if they don’t have a steady supply of brains.
My mom has already dealt with one of her children having a bedbug infestation and I feel like if it happens again she will be like one of those mothers during the Black Death, quarantining her sick children in the house and walking away forever. Those things are so hard to get rid of, at a certain point you just have to cut your losses. This goes for children as well as bedbugs, but at least children don’t suck your blood. Although my kids will because I’m going to have an affair with a vampire bat.
*This blog title was written purely with web traffic in mind. Sorry if I misled you. Good luck with your bedbugs.
Last night Letterman described McCain as a “screech owl.”
1. They’re bisexual, especially in captivity.
2. They’ve enjoyed a short history of radical human advocacy.
3. They would prefer it if you didn’t touch them there.
4. But if you do touch them there, at least make flan afterwards.
This morning the bbf’s mom sent a mass email saying that BABY RACCOONS were camping out in a TREE in her BACKYARD. Best of all, she included VIDEO DOCUMENTATION.
I immediately wrote back: “Mary, get your raccoon-catching net and bag those things. I want them in a UPS box on my doorstep first thing Monday morning.”
I asked the three-year-old grandchild if she had watched the raccoon video. “Yeah,” she said.
“I told Meemo to mail me the babies,” I said.
“Are you going to kill them?”
I assured her that no, I was not going to kill them. I am not a monster. Then I put on a little snuff film called The Land Before Time.
On Saturday I misplaced my only hairbrush, but I didn’t notice until Tuesday. Now the squirrels have moved in to build their nests. My hairbrush should arrive in the mail tomorrow, but meanwhile I have become used to squirrel babies pooping down the back of my neck. And the literary advice they whisper in my ear has really improved the direction of my novel.
The Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, VA is the saddest, most wonderful adventure you can take from an Interstate 81 exit. First, a photo essay:
Hi, furry cow creature. Do you want to wipe your boogers on Darren’s hand?
Look Harper! Baby piglets! We can just throw them some grain from this bucket and…
Holy shit! Roll up the window!
This was actually our second trip to the park. The first time, on Gene’s birthday, we thought it was a good idea to safari in the back of a pick-up truck. I still cannot believe this is legal–we must have signed some incredible waiver when we bought our tickets. Darren was gored by a tusked beast while he was trying to feed an ostrich from his bucket. He still has a scar. This time, we took Harper in a tusk-proof Saturn station wagon. Without automatic windows, we had a few close calls, but mostly we just got snotted on. The zebras were isolated this year, which was fortunate. They will bite off your face if you give them a chance. No wonder Jared Diamond said they were immune to domestication.
Attempts have been made to train zebras for riding since they have better resistance than horses to African diseases. However most of these attempts failed, due to the zebra’s more unpredictable nature and tendency to panic under stress. For this reason, zebra-mules or zebroids (crosses between any species of zebra and a horse, pony, donkey or ass) are preferred over pure-bred zebras. (link)
Wow, that was distracting. So anyway we fed giraffes from our hand, pet pygmy goats, saw a kangaroo with an upside-down baby in her pouch, and whispered sweet nothings to an albino tiger cub. Whatever–I’m so over it. Step it up next year, Virginia Safari Park. I need a unicorn or a baby dragon or something. I can fondle llamas at home.
Lion reunites with her two gay daddies.
Time to dress your dogs and cats in funny costumes.