Sunday, November 16, 2014

Crime Doesn't Pay

I broke a rule, and I’ve had my comeuppance.

Last week I was bitten by a squirrel. Before you ask -- he was not rabid. In fact, he (or she) was as rational as you or I. It happened in pursuit of a peanut.

It was a particularly bold customer who came right up to me on my bench and almost demanded tribute. I found one leftover peanut in my pocket and offered it, but I misjudged how hungry the little guy was, and I neglected to let go of it in time. Those teeth are small, but they’re sharp. As they clamped down on the nut, one got the tip of my finger. The fingertips, as you probably know, are particularly well supplied with nerves and blood, and mine hurt like hell and bled like the proverbial stuck pig. I don’t think anyone saw what happened next, and just as well; how would you explain waving your hand around with a squirrel attached to it?

Eventually he (or she) decided he (or she) already had the good stuff, and hanging on wasn’t going to get him or her anything better. The squirrel left, and I turned to nursing the finger. That was when I looked at the ground under the bench and discovered I had contributed a surprising amount of blood to the encounter. The wound is mostly healed now because I treated it like it was ebola, washing the spot with soap and near-scalding water and painting it liberally with iodine. (Iodine is my sovereign remedy for almost everything external.). The bite continued to hurt for three or four days, but it’s now just a memory and a small scar on my finger.

The moral of the story, and there is a moral, comes in here.

There had been a number of incursions into our little world by coyotes. For a while, visits had become more frequent, and more lethal to residents’ pets. Because of a restriction written into the bylaws by people who did not suffer companion animals on the premises gladly, only small dogs are allowed. The result has been that some of the smallest dogs I’ve ever seen live here. Driving around, maybe just catching a glimpse out of the corner of your eye, you could easily mistake some of them for rats if they weren't attached to old people. There are cats here, too, but again, the bylaws work against the larger breeds, and only housecats are allowed.

The result of all this is that the coyotes were finding bite-size morsels unable to defend themselves, and were having a field day. The result of that was the promulgation of a rule that we were not to feed the wildlife so as not to stock the larder even further for the coyotes. 

“Wildlife” in this part of the savannah is rabbits and squirrels. You see where this is leading. By feeding the squirrel I broke a rule, and I had to suffer the consequences. They weren’t the consequences the rule anticipated -- the penalty was a fine, supposed to take a bite only out of your wallet  -- but justice triumphed in its own roundabout way.