I opened the box and wiggled my hand through the packing… when I touched fur, I knew immediately what it was. Even before that I knew…my family had stopped their unwrapping to watch me and my first reaction to this package. When I pulled it out, I was without words. I loved it, I was horrified by it, I was sad, I was ecstatic. It was a squirrel. I mean, I’m the squirrel guy, right? A completely appropriate gift for me, right? I’ve wanted something like this almost since I started Bob the Squirrel over a decade ago. What could be wrong?
Modern impulses dictate that whenever something oddly cool comes within range of your iPhone, you must take a photo of it and spew it into the social media realm. That’s what I did. I wouldn’t even call it an instinct, it was more of an involuntary reaction. I put this squirrel out there. Let the “Likes” and “Retweets” come forth!
There was something that just didn’t feel right. Even after the likes came rolling in. I kinda sorta ignored those not feel rights for the moment.
I put the squirrel on the shelf above my drawing board… as inspiration, as motivation, as a place of honor.
Then I called it a night. Long holiday. Back to reality in a few hours time.
I don’t sleep well on a good day. Last night was not a good day. I tossed and turned all night… my brain not allowing my body and deserved or undeserved rest. I “woke” up this morning and I immediately knew why the night was so rough.
It was the squirrel. The stuffed, once alive in a tree or garbage can, squirrel.
I’m a devout animal lover. I can’t even watch a pet food commercial without feeling some sort of feeling for the animal. I won’t visit a zoo. I can’t even watch a movie with a dog or other animal in it… because nine times out of ten, if there’s an animal on the movie poster, chances are good that the animal won’t make it to the credits. I can’t even go into a pet store that sells dogs or cats. My problem… we all have them.
So, here I am, the creator of Bob the Squirrel. I get weepy when I see a squirrel, post car tire, at the side of the road. How hypocritical is it of me to feel that way and yet, have a stuffed squirrel looking down on me as I draw? How can I swear up and down that I’m an animal lover and at the same time possess a “trophy”? I often profess that I am the world’s biggest hypocrite… but this much hypocrisy is too much.
I appreciate the gift. I do. Hell, I wanted to get myself one many times. Talking and walking are completely different. I was face to face with that squirrel and it just didn’t seem right.
I’m not preaching to anyone but myself. If you have animal heads on your walls, that’s you… and I have no right to and would NEVER berate or belittle you. It’s just not my thing. Especially since I’ve spent so long with Bob… and plan on spending much more time with him.
I thanked the person who gave it to me and explained my morning after feelings. She was cool with it and understood. No sense in everyone feeling bad, because that’s not what this post is about. It’s about feeling what’s wrong, accepting it and correcting it…walking the walk and talking the talk.
The squirrel will be taken off the shelf and boxed up. I realize now that I got the best possible gift from all of this: self realization and preservation.