A recent video making the rounds on Facebook about a baby squirrel made me cheer.
If you have not already seen this clip, take a moment.
Watched it? Good.
For those who could not be bothered, let me give you a quick snapshot of what you missed.
A man is gently holding a squirrel, clasping it close to his chest in a gesture of love and affection after having rehabilitated the sick critter.
He is near a tree and talking to the squirrel and encouraging it to return to nature as the squirrel takes a few tentative spider-like shimmies upward.
A happy ending, right?
Yes, until a cat flashes into view, grabs the squirrel in its jaws and there is much screaming.
Score one for the cat I say.
I have had an enmity toward squirrels dating back years.
As a kid in the Bronx I recall digging “squirrel traps” with my friend Michael Butler.
Vietcong-like, we would dig holes, fill them with thorns from bushes and cover them with grass in the mistaken belief we would “catch” squirrels.
Why we did this I do not know. Bored boys in the Bronx is all I can suggest.
Flash-forward about 30 years and I am a first-time homeowner, complete with a shed in the backyard.
One of the first times I went in there I jumped out of my skin because a squirrel had built a nest by chewing a hole into it.
I spooked the squirrel. The squirrel spooked me. And the game was on.
I boarded up the hole.
The squirrel created a new one.
I cleaned out the nest — carefully.
The squirrel flipped me the paw.
And so it went.
Think of Bill Murray fighting the gopher in “Caddyshack” and you have some idea of what I was like.
Years later, the boys and I and my fiancée rented a two-family home that had a spacious attic. And in the attic was, you guessed it, more damn squirrels.
They chewed through the walls and left piles of sawdust everywhere like some beaver-wannabes.
But the all-time craziest encounter I had happened on a magnificent Sunday afternoon in May and we opened the inner and outer doors to the apartment to take advantage of the weather.
My fiancée and I were in the living room watching TV when we both perceived a blur of gray fly through the hallway.
We both looked at each as if to say, “Did you see that?”
Sure enough, a squirrel had bolted into the house.
It hid briefly in our bedroom, escaped into the kitchen, jumped into my lunch bag briefly before bounding upstairs and hiding in the kitchen there.
It remained a fugitive for a day as I tried to corner it with sticky traps (it left clumps of fur but otherwise escaped) and tried to lure it out with peanut butter.
We eventually opened the doors and it ushered itself out the same way it found itself in.
I just remember seeing its hind legs bounding across the street like its ass was on fire.
The cat in the video had the right idea.