Ah, Spring! The time of year when our thoughts turn away from mundane tasks such as shoveling snow while mummified to frolicking in public places wearing a Speedo and a smile. From toques and scarves and long underwear to the carefree state of déshabillé.
But one likes to be fit if exposing so much of oneself, and the question then becomes, “how can I really get into a shape pleasant to the eye?” When faced with questions such as this I like to observe the world around me to best find the answer. And I’ve decided that emulating squirrels will hasten my getting into tip-top physical condition.
As you’ve already surmised, “Of course! It makes perfect sense!” That’s because squirrels are perfect role models in every way. You never see an overweight squirrel. You never see a squirrel wheezing and huffing when they scurry up a tree. You never see a bunch of squirrels idly hanging out on some scraggly low-level limb, knocking back gut-rot and hacking smokes. You never see them at hospital, or on talk shows lamenting their physical or mental inefficiencies. You never see a squirrel on the limp, or taking medications, or pitching medications or wearing a ribbon that promotes, “squirrel health.” That’s because they’re healthy buggers, as healthy as healthy gets, I believe, and that’s reason enough for me to get with the program because what squirrels have, I want!
Now, as you can imagine my Spring has been very, very busy. And from early results, boy howdy, do I need this regime.
It’s the shimmying up the trees that’s giving me the most trouble so far. Even the top-quality climbing spurs I bought aren’t a great help. I’m nowhere near as fast as my mentors, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be. I find I need a lot of resting while climbing and sometimes this gets a little embarrassing. It was after midnight when I was having a workout at the local park recently and there I was, about ten feet off the ground and taking a little rest, huffing and puffing and generally waiting for my eyes to re-focus when a flashlight beam enveloped me and an officious voice calmly inquired, “may I ask why you’re humping that tree?” Fortunately the nice man in uniform had a good sense of humour, and once I’d explained my fitness schedule to him he had a good laugh and left me to my own devices. Heck, he was so impressed with my novel approach he said he was “sure to tell the other fellows at the shop.” You just can’t keep a great idea down.
I must admit, the whole squirrel diet has been a little tough to swallow. I now know why squirrels collect so many cones – those seeds are damn small, and I find it takes quite a few to make a meal. I’ve stuffed the spare bedroom against next winter already, and cancelled planned visits from family and friends as my dwelling becomes subsumed as storage space. Eating plants has been much easier. Except for the unexpected trip I took when I ate that purple flower, the flora has been plentiful and tasty. I’m really looking forward to the Fall when all the neighbour’s gardens start producing. This fitness thing is a year-round endeavour, you know.
One of the reasons squirrels are so fit is their energy. Study them as long as I have and you notice their eyes are always darting, their movements are sharp and sudden and their whole attitude is coiled energy, released in bursts. This has been hard to emulate, but now that I’m drinking about thirty cups of coffee and eating a handful of Dexedrine tablets each day I think I’m getting close. I find ingesting these substances has the added benefit of making the seeds and nuts and plants taste better, plus I don’t need to eat as much. And while the caffeinated climbing upwards has improved, the coming down is much, much harder. But hey! everything in life is a compromise.
So that’s my new fitness regime, and except for the odd rotten branch it’s working out splendidly. So look for me at the beach this summer. I’ll be the healthy guy flitting about harvesting nuts and plants and on the lookout for a thermos of coffee. On the lookout, too, for birds of prey riding the warm air currents high overhead, and the nasty coyotes and weasels and such, terrestrial terrors they are, lurking in the bushes. Nasty brutes, the lot of them, and their jealousy of the fitness level sported by us squirrels drives them, sadly, to murderous intent. But no matter, really. That’s just a price we pay for being in such great bloody shape.