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Posts Tagged ‘behavior modification’

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Here in the tolerant offices of The Curmudgeon, we get our share of letters from persons who appear to be nuts.  But sometimes, looking past the obvious reveals a diamond of insight and brilliance.  We recently received such a letter in response to our post,“Killer” Squirrel Traps Couple in House, located directly below this one, and reprint it here along with our reply.

Dear Mr Curmudgeon,

I think it’s such a shame that such a cute looking animal can have such a nasty side and a poor reputation. What an awful waste of visual cuteness.

Maybe someone somewhere could set up an internet course for squirrels on how they can improve their behavior. There are courses for everything online these days, so why not give squirrels a chance to turn themselves around. Or does that sound nuts?

Dear Esteemed Mr. Witto,

A shame indeed, because squirrels can be awfully cute.  I don’t think you’re nuts, and if you are, remember that some of the greatest minds in history were considered nuts.  Pasteur and his germ theory of disease, the Wright brothers and their flying machine, and myself and my theory that the first part of the second part equals the last part of the fourth part.  “Ridiculous!” they said.  “Indecipherable!” they wailed.  And now, Mr. Witto, your theory that squirrels can be rehabilitated with an Internet course on Squirrel Behavior Modification.

We all – you and me and other great minds – have been tagged with simple-minded analogies such as they/they’ve/they’re elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor; not the sharpest knife in the drawer; are not playing with a full deck: 1 slice short of a loaf; a sandwich short of a picnic; got only one oar in the water; a brick short of a load;  gone off their rocker; have a screw loose; goofy in the head, and labels like crazy, wacko, whack job, loony, insane, bonkers, lulu head, cuckoo, crackers, loopy, dunder head, nut job, nut case, nutty, and just plain nuts.

Another example – which I believe you are familiar with, Mr. Witto – was the recent notion that a site could be assembled with the wittiest minds of our generation from all over the world who are available for hire to those seeking the services of witty writers.  “It can’t be done,” and “impossible,” the naysayers said, and yet just such a site has been created.  If someone were to go to The Wittery and post their job, they would find these talented, funny individuals vying for the honor of performing these jobs, and one might even find myself there, though I go under a different name, a Christopher something or other, I forget.  They could read profiles of these writers and their samples, or visit the Wittery blog for a hearty laugh.

And now comes your brilliant idea to offer squirrels an Internet course for Behavior Modification.  I can picture it in my advanced mind and see it broken down into several courses designed to save the squirrel from mass loathing, shooting, hunting, skinning, and even being eaten by those so inclined to eat the disgusting little beasts.  The classes, as I initially envision them, would be broken down thusly.

1. Bird Seed Ain’t Squirrel Food: Stay Out of That Feeder
Explores the detrimental effect of squirrels breaking into bird feeders to stuff their greedy mouths.
2. Chewing Through Wood and Plastic Harms Squirrel Teeth
How chewing through items breaks buck teeth and leads to tooth decay.
3. Attics Are Horrible Places to Live
Attics are haunted and frightening and ghosts will eat your babies.
4. Trash Bins are Poison
Squirrels will suffer deformity if they venture into trash bins.
5. Chewing Through Wires: The Shocking Truth
Dangers of electrocution and fires.
6. Cartoon Behavior 101
Squirrels will study cartoons from Disney and Warner Bros. depicting cutesy, furry, loveable creatures and how to emulate this behavior.

As you can see, Mr. Witto, I have put no small amount of thought into your idea.  I think I’ll start the Internet course myself.  I can hear the tippy tapping of little squirrel paws typing away on their keyboards, and I hear the ringing of bells – the bells of the cash register as I rake in millions.  Naturally, you’ll receive full credit and a generous portion of the profits.

So thank you, Sir.  Together, we’ll create a new generation of squirrels, that are lovable, cute, and loved by men, women, and children everywhere.

With much gratitude and admiration,

Crusty

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