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Chipmunks and Other Animal Adventures

I think I’m just going to call this “Classic Column Wednesday” at least until this book is finished.  However I decided to actually re-work a Classic Column so it is partly new.  Now what am I going to call this?  Pseudo Classic Column Wednesday?  Sort of New Column Wednesday?  Anyway, here it is.  It seems I’m not the only person with furry rodent issues.

My brother-in-law (who is a Partner for KPMG) is in town last week at a training conference in The City. I had dinner with him at Boulevard and we split a bottle of Silver Oak.

There are a few things you should know about my brother:

1) He is from Argentina

2) He is tall, dark and handsome

3) He is a wiz with numbers

4) He can grill any meat there is

5) He is deathly afraid of rodents, namely mice and rats. They made him scream like a little girl in pigtails and wearing a frilly dress.

So he tells me that their dishwasher wasn’t working. When they pulled it out they found a huge pile of dog food behind the appliance. They also found a pile of dog food under one of the sinks in the back behind the trash can. I thought it was the kids messing with their parents heads. Definitely the kids or the Blair Witch. One or the other. Actually they are kinda interchangeable. But no, it was chipmunks. He said he even saw one running across the kitchen floor.

Wait a minute… Aren’t chipmunks rodents? Mice, rats, chipmunks…. different clothes but same rodent critter. I asked him “Why aren’t you screaming like a girl about the chipmunks? They are bigger than mice!”  “They are different.” was all the explanation I got from him. Great.

As a Christmas present one year I cleaned my sisters laundry room which included tossing, sweeping and bulldozing the condos the mice made with a comforter and a duvet. Rodents really don’ t bother me.  In my free time I’ve been known to put a few dollars on rat races.  Yes, they do have rat races, just like horse races or pig races!  There is even a wheel where they put a mouse on top of a roulette wheel inside a little house, the wheel spins, the mouse stays stationary, the house comes off and the mouse runs for one of the various holes along the side of the wheel with numbers on them.  We all scream like maniacs, yelling for the mouse to pick our number.  I know, pathetic but not as pathetic as Twilight.

So chipmunks? REALLY?  You aren’t scared of them because they are wearing a different suit?  Well, it is a very fashionable suit that does raise them above their mouse/rat/squirrel cousins.  I think it is the stylish racing stripe.  I told him he could get a cat and the cat would take care of the rodents.  He wasn’t buying it, he’s a dog person.

I thought he should reconsider.  I told him about this kitten I saw outside the other day. It was in the backyard of the neighbors behind me. They have a whippet and this kitten was doing the psycho spinning, twirley dance of death in front of the dog. The dog stared at her in utter indifference. Then the kitten leapt straight in the air, turned and landed on the dog. The dog just looked at the kitten like it was nothing and turned away. The kitten leapt off and ran, hell bent for leather, into the house.

This made me think of two things:  What makes kittens so psycho and what does “hell bent for leather” mean?  My bro response to that was “THAT is exactly why I like dogs!  They are not crazy.”

I will leave you with a fine summary from one of my fav columnists and one of his famed “Cat Columns” from the Chron:

“Conclusion: Kittens exhibit poor impulse control, signs of incipient paranoia, delusional behavior, physically inappropriate gestures and unprovoked aggression. They are most probably insane. Thank you.” – Jon Carroll

Kittens: Natures Secret Weapon

I have decided that kittens are mother nature’s way of killing us with cute.  They are a manic weapon of mass destruction rolled into a wee fur suit.  Sure puppies are cute.  I love puppies.  I love the smell of puppies.  Baby smell has NOTHING on puppies however puppies do not have the plotting force of mayhem that kittens have.

Dogs are followers.  They hang with a pack and know their place in the world.  Cats are solitary preditors and plot to rule the world.  A world where the giant monkeys serve them and dogs are their playthings.  I have determined that kittens have this excess of energy that allows them to run up your walls, jump onto your door frames and plot the over throw of society at the same time.

Kittens seem to have 2 personalities.  The cute, sweet faced, mellow kitten and then the insane hyper bomb of destruction.  It is the cute persona that keeps us from killing them, thus ensuring their plan for World Domination. I know all about this.  My cat Alia, nick named The Abomination,  is a perfect example.  She was sweet and mild and good natured until a switch turned on and she started bouncing off the walls like Donald O’Connor in Singing in the Rain.

You may say that behaviour is learned and not all kittens are plotting your demise but you would be wrong.  Take Galahad.  I met him this weekend.  He is a sweet grey kitten with white paws and chest.  He is small and thin and lulls you into a false sense of security.  You think he is just so sweet & tiny there is no way he could be a threat until one night you wake up and find yourself staring into the eyes of “Gary”.  Gary is my name for his alter ego who wants to cook you and eat you for supper.  Gary is the one who bounces off the wall, attacks the other animals, manically pursues things that aren’t there and stares at you while you sleep, wondering what cuts would be tastiest.  Gary attacks your feet, chews on wires and carries your pens off to some mysterious hiding place – never to be seen again.

You may think he is playing.  Oh no, don’t let Gary fool you.  He is part of the great cat plan to take over the world.  As cats get older, they hide their plotting behind facades of boredom.  They lull us into a false sense of security.  It is the kittens you need to watch out for.  They are enthusiastic, they are determined and they can kill with “The Cute”.