The squirrels are out to get me. The first day back on campus, walking from my car to class, the sidewalks were lined with a militia of squirrels armed with acorns. This was not the welcome back I expected from my Alma Mater.
There is a legend that existed on campus when I first went here about the squirrels residing here. One of the Presidents of the university decided to beautify the campus and use university funding to purchase special squirrels from Australia. These squirrels had bigger ears and a more reddish tint to their fur. He did not take into account the local eco-system, the Missouri weather patterns and what effects this might have on his new furry friends.
That year we had an extremely harsh winter, it killed all the Australian squirrels. However, before the squirrels died off, they had a chance to mate with the squirrels native to this area. When the grounds thawed and Spring came back, this was unfortunate for the squirrels but a treasure trove of studies for the Criminology department. One of the squirrels they found, though slightly frozen, had many recessive genes and was completely bald.
I never had a fear of squirrels until one sunny day in 1998. It was the Spring semester and my first semester in college. I was feeling pretty stoked with a brain full of information. I was walking past a trash can when suddenly the can started making noise. To the best of my knowledge, trash cans usually didn’t make noise when you walked past them, at least they didn’t in 1998. Suddenly a squirrel rose up from the interior as if he was being propelled by a tiny wind machine and landed claws out on the edge of the trash can; his beady eyes staring at me. I stopped, not paused, but stopped walking, moving and breathing. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The weight of my back-pack had become too much. My heart was pounding; either he was going to back down or I was going to fall over from the weight of the books on my back. It was a staring contest, he darted to his right and I sighed with relief.
My friends know naturally I am a jumpy person, this is something I try to conceal for as long as possible when first meeting someone, but this squirrel had my number from the start. He knew what buttons to push, I’m just lucky he didn’t take my lunch money.
What interesting attributes does your campus have? What is unique to your university?
The above picture is from the Missouri State University online magazine.