I came to a startling scientific discovery taking a walk this morning: squirrels have really bad short term memory.
Oh sure, they can survive a winter by recalling where they hid their nuts, but do they not remember that dodging cars is equally as important to their survival?
I realize this discovery, drawn from an observation of just one dead squirrel, lacks the rigor and statistical significance that a study of this stature demands. But short of driving my car around recruiting additional participants, I am comfortable sharing my findings at this time.
You see the squirrel in question, who regrettably I was not able to interview due to its unfortunate condition as newly minted road kill, met its demise during this unusual period of time when there are virtually no vehicles on the road.
The road in this instance is the street that runs in front of my house. In all the years I have lived on it, I have never once seen such a tragedy befall even a slow, unobservant animal. There are no Slow Squirrel Crossing signs posted on my street because they are just not necessary. The squirrels do just fine.
So why today, on an empty street, did I come across the losing end of a squirrel vs. motor vehicle contest?
I can only draw two possible conclusions. Either the squirrel was extremely unlucky or it had forgotten in the space of a few short weeks what a car is. And also perhaps that cars are really fast and heavy in a very terminal kind of way.
Given that vehicles and crossing guards have all but disappeared from the section of my street where I found this two dimensional corpse, it seems reasonable to me that the poor thing simply neglected to look both ways. It is an easy thing to overlook when there are no cars on the road.
My findings were confirmed a short time later when, walking down the middle of the road scoffing at the stupidity of a squirrel that is struck by a car when there are so few around, I was almost run over by a UPS truck. The scary event crystallized the thoughts in my head, and as a man of science, there was really only one conclusion I could draw.
I am a squirrel.
During this pandemic more and more animals are striking into urban areas because there are no longer cars and people on the streets to scare them away. Deer dotting the downtown. Pigs packing parking lots. Goats grazing playground grass. Monkeys mobbing malls. Sharks circling swimming pools.
Since they are often spotted in pairs, this could suggest that they might be searching for an ark.
This makes a great deal of sense to me, and explains the two hyenas I spotted the other day eating out of my trash can.
It could be worse. I could be walking alone in Kenya where huge swarms of locusts, undeterred by social distancing, are now obscuring the skies and decimating the landscape and food supply.
A scientific journal recently reported that because our streets are now so massively quiet, man-made vibrations to the earth have diminished substantially. These vibrations appear to experts, who for some unknown reason listen to the ground for a living, as distracting white noise. With the background hisses and pops gone, seismic activity and other potentially cataclysmic events that shake the earth are much more discernible.
It gives me some degree of comfort knowing while I am stuck indoors in the midst of this pandemic, I may finally get reliable warning when my house is about to be leveled by an earthquake or washed away by a tsunami. And if a meteor craters my home, someone other than me will be able to hear it.
I am not an overly religious guy, but when I go outside for a walk and people have suddenly disappeared from the streets and sidewalks, it kind of portends bad things ahead. Particularly if they left happy.
Not to alarm you, but if you are reading this right now you have probably been left behind and can expect fire, brimstone, earthquakes, tornados, flooding, pestilence, swarms of locust, and the coming of the Antichrist.
On a more positive note, this is just another day in the news cycle. So despite what seems like clear, irrefutable evidence for the Biblical end of days, I am inclined to follow scientific theories that global warming is responsible for the end of the world.
As for the Antichrist, well, at a time like this we need strong leaders. As long as he wears a mask and keeps his distance we will probably be just fine. Remember, we are all in this together.
So if we don’t see each other for awhile, it doesn’t mean we have all just disappeared or been left behind.
But it does mean that we need to look both ways before crossing the street.