Thursday, January 11, 2007

Squirrel Conspiracy (aka: 'Squirrelspiracy')

Dear Friends,
Some years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor in South Dakota's Argus Leader. The letter regarded what I then perceived as an imminent threat to Sioux Falls' integrity as a city; namely, that a Squirrel had, through self-sacrifice, electrocuted himself by diving headlong into a substation or some such thing. The result was that power was lost in about 7000 homes. To my surprise, they printed the letter (in an abbreviated, less dire form). In it, I argued that treating Squirrels as people only encouraged them to act more and more like people, an extrapolation of the concept would naturally result in Squirrels attempting a coup of the city government, I argued. Few heeded my calls.

Several days ago, a squirrel in Roseville, MN did the same thing, though under slightly different circumstances. Therefore, I've revised said letter to issue the warning once again. However, in doing so I met with a few questions unique to our times. For starters, I characterized the Squirrel as a "suicide" squirrel testing our defenses for the good of the whole (worldwide squirrel organization).

Obviously, times have changed. I began to think "Maybe I shouldn't write this? People might read into it as some sort of commentary on the current terror campaign, or suicide bombers in Iraq. What about being sensitive to September 11?" It struck me that my own good humor was being thwarted in the name of some nebulous threat meant to ensnare an already fearful populace, becoming ever more fearful. With the realization, I pressed on, and sent the following to the Pioneer Press--it remains to be seen whether they'll print the shit.

The story in question appeared as thus:
Saint Paul Pioneer Press: A rather "industrious" squirrel rummaging around a Roseville substation caused an electricity outage Saturday afternoon that left 2,422 customers without juice for less than an hour, Xcel Energy said.

The 2:09 p.m. outage was centered in Rosedale Center mall, affecting some businesses, such as J.C. Penney and Don Pablo's restaurant, but not others, such as Macy's, according to officials with the utility, the mall and stores.

No serious incidents were reported, police said, and the mall stayed open. Power was restored 39 minutes later, said Xcel spokesman Paul Adelmann, who said squirrels often cause outages.

"This squirrel was probably doing what squirrels do this time of year: look for nuts," he said.
"We do our best to put in animal-proof equipment, but they always seem to get where they're not supposed to be. They can be industrious, and I suspect this one was."

The squirrel, which caused a short that tripped several circuit breakers, probably didn't survive the jolt, he said.

The Letter to the Editor, entitled: Nuts!
As quoted in the Pioneer Press on Monday, October 16: "A rather 'industrious' squirrel rummaging around a Roseville substation caused an electricity outage Saturday afternoon that left 2,422 customers without juice..."

This so called 'industrious' squirrel took power from Rosedale residents by "falling" into an Xcel Energy substation, causing a short. But to think of the incident as merely a rogue squirrel is fallacy at best, and a threat to national security and our very livelihoods as citizens at worst. There are thousands of squirrels in the Twin Cities area, and our dependence upon this precious electricity the scoundrel interrupted is never so clear as when we must live, even briefly, without. We straddle a thin line connecting us to the so called "grid"--a line more easily walked by the nimble squirrel, but just as simply severed by a purposeful misstep. Don't take the death of this squirrel as a mere metaphor of life...for it was no ordinary death, but a willful testing of our defenses before power is taken en masse, with implications beyond mere energy security.

An Xcel spokesman was quoted as saying "This squirrel was probably doing what squirrels do this time of year: look for nuts." I say, that line of thought is what is nuts, and it's a treacherous road to travel. Squirrels can get into anything, and disrupting our energy supply is a mere inkling of what is to come. The squirrels of this town are plotting against our very freedom as Americans! And so I issue a dire warning: Before the spring comes to pass, the squirrels will take power from the citizenry and our government. Never mind November 7, for all are lame ducks in the face of foul rodents.

I don't know why I issue this warning now. It is already too late. The squirrels have the trees and power lines secured; the higher ground is theirs. They've been watching us for years, and know our habits well. So you may heed my warning, and perhaps save yourself by expatriating to Canada, where the threat has not yet--not yet--sufficiently materialized, but know this: when the squirrels take power, let there be no doubt whose side I will take. All hail the new reign of terror, the squirrel people are upon us!

Note by author: A slightly abbreviated version actually appeared in the newspaper, which serves a region with millions of readers/residents. The masses have been warned.

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