Voted as one of the best articles of 2007 by The Cynic Online Magazine.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is a city with a population of 61,704. The locals care a great deal about visitors. So much in fact, they would like to see the name of the city changed to “Clearwater,” the English translation of the community’s French name. Once a booming lumber town, Eau Claire now serves as home base for Menard’s, a national hardware chain, and Erbert and Gerberts, a regional favorite for submarine sandwiches. In 1996, Eau Claire was considered the safest city in the United States.
Now, ten years later, all of that has changed. Eau Claire, Wisconsin is on the forefront of a new war on terror, against a different kind of enemy.
Forest Hill Cemetery is picturesque, certainly a place anybody would like to be laid to rest. But amid the tombstones scampers terror of a different kind. Dozens of American flags that once adorned the tombs of our fallen heroes, have turned up missing. Initially, groundskeepers thought local youths were to blame for the theft of old glory. Then, groundskeeper Dave Ender discovered the true root of the problem.
“I was mowing, looked up out into the distance, and something caught my eye,” said Ender, who drove his riding lawnmower to a nearby street to get a closer look. “Low and behold, I found the missing flags,” Ender said.
Found the missing flags indeed. In a nearby tree, ripped into small pieces and serving as insulation for … a squirrel’s nest. When questioned if they had ever seen a squirrel with a flag in its mouth, groundskeepers all said no. Investigators believe they are committing the terrible acts of thievery by night, but this writer has a different opinion.
Clearly the city of Eau Claire is at war. They have been attacked by a rodent terrorist. These squirrels steal the flag, a symbol of our freedom, for insulation, and certainly must be stopped. But how could a makeshift army of squirrels pull off such an act on their own? Were they receiving aid from other rodent organizations? I believe this could in fact be the case.
While I have no direct evidence, I am nearly certain chipmunks may have a hand in this crime. It is my theory that chipmunks have somehow managed to dig an elaborate tunnel system in which to transport these stolen flags to nearby Oak trees where they can be intercepted by the squirrels and used in their “nesting.” While there is no evidence of any such tunneling, frankly I just don’t like chipmunks. Call it a family feud, but about ten years ago, chipmunks ruined my father’s garden. Maybe I want revenge, but that’s not the worry right now. The worry is that chipmunks may very well have played in hand in this terrible act against patriotism.
Thus, I called the only place that could handle such an ordeal … the United States Department of Homeland Defense.
After I described in detail my theory, my first phone call was greeted with an awkward silence, then, the signal went dead. Was the connection lost? Were squirrels intercepting the call? I had to be certain, so I called again.
The good news is that squirrels were not intercepting our call. The bad news is that I was told if I called the US Department of Homeland Defense with such matters in the future, they would take “appropriate measures to ensure that I did not call again.” After sharing this bit of information with me, the rather stern agent once again hung up without saying “goodbye.”
Maybe the Department of Homeland Defense thought I had it out for rodents. Please don’t think for one moment I dislike all rodents. I happen to love gerbils and hamsters. From time to time, I even find myself making strange faces at lab rats in the science department. I want to make this perfectly clear: we’re not fighting a war against all rodents. We’re fighting a war against squirrels (and chipmunks). Perhaps I could let go of this theory, if only this weren’t the first time squirrels were responsible for homeland terrorism.
Pascagoula, Mississippi, a sleepy little town with a population of 26,200. In Native American, the town’s name means “bread eaters.” One Sunday morning, as members of the “The First Self Righteous Church” were gathering to celebrate communion, the breaking of the bread, things went terribly chaotic.
The Service began as usual. “Sister Bertha Betterthanyou” sat way up front in the “Amen Pew” and the Pastor spoke of hell and brimstone in his typical fashion. The only unusual element that Sunday morning was a shoebox, carried by a young Ray Stevens. Earlier in the weekend, Stevens had managed to “find himself a squirrel.” As any curious young lad would, Ray wanted to sneak a peak at his new friend. So, he opened the shoebox which accompanied him to the house of the Lord.
In his later years, Stevens recounted the episode in his country music song “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival.” The singer recalls “It was a fight for survival, that broke out in revival, they were jumping pews and shouting ‘Hallelujah!’”
That Sunday morning, there was so much chaos and turmoil that “Sister Bertha Betterthanyou” went so far as to confess sins that would make a “sailor blush with shame.” Clearly these good, church-going people thought the end was upon them. But how could one solitary squirrel cause such a stir?
Simple, chipmunks had a hand in it. While Stevens makes no mention of any chipmunks, I am certain they had something to do with the Sunday morning mayhem. Remember, these little bastards ruined my Dad’s garden! If they can cause such destruction to the cucumber patch, I am certain beyond any doubt they are capable of causing problems for churches in the deep South.
The bottom line, society has changed. The America we live in today is not the America we lived in 7 years ago. As each new day dawns so does a new enemy. Whether that enemy be hiding in the Afghan hills, the deserts of Iraq, or the large Oak trees of Washington, DC. These days, you wake up, and have to face the music, you’re just not safe anymore. Not even safe … from squirrels. Patriotism is being challenged. Stand up for Old Glory, defend her still today!
Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Pascagoula, Mississippi have both fallen victim to squirrel (and chipmunk) terrorism. Where will they strike next? Is your community ready?
Hold on to your nuts AMERICA! There is a new enemy arising in the war against our homeland security. Don’t be deceived by his deep dark eyes and fluffy tail. This enemy means business. He will steal your flags and cause chaos in your churches, all with the help of chipmunks. As the fall season approaches, don’t let America fall. Join the fight against … squirrels! (And chipmunks.)