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Friday Freewrite #12 – Squirrels vs. Chipmunks

September 2, 2011

Freewriting is an exercise in timed, stream of consciousness writing. It’s a fun and useful activity for writers of all types. Every week, I’ll provide a prompt as a springboard for freewriting. For more information on what freewriting is all about and how to do it, see this post.

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Today’s prompt is a question courtesy of several people at work:

Squirrels or chipmunks?

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I hope this prompt has stirred some interesting thoughts and ideas for you! Freewriting is inherently messy and sometimes deeply personal, but if you feel comfortable sharing your results, please post as little or as much as you’d like in the comments.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2011 5:49 pm

    It is an endless education, a thankless crusade against ignorance. The rodentia surrounding the Girl Scout camp falls into three categories: chipmunks, ground squirrels, and mice. The mice hardly count, because the campers are blissfully unaware of their presence while the cooks try more varied ways each year to stealthily dispose of the population inhabiting the kitchen. The Dining Deck, however, being an open-air mess hall, is the domain of the former two.

    In fact, as far as most people are concerned, ground squirrels don’t exist. There are squirrels, and there are chipmunks. Squirrels have big fluffy tails and live in trees; chipmunks are striped, tiny, and just adorable when sneaking under the table to eat a napkin. The thought that something between the twain exists is not a popular concept.

    Both ground squirrels and chipmunks are about the same size, though ground squirrels are bigger. They both burrow, hibernate during the winter, and steal toilet paper to make nests with. They both will chew through backpacks and sleeping bags for leftover trail mix, raid uncovered garbage cans, and gladly go bottoms-up into a mugful of punch left out on a table. They both have been proven to carry the bubonic plague.

    I will gladly stomp on both of their heads.

    But to the connoisseur of plague-infested rodents, the distinction is easy. The stripes on the chipmunk’s back will flow up over the head and disappear into the vanishing point of the nose, while the ground squirrel’s stripes remain staunchly parallel up to the neck, leaving the head an even golden tan. It is easy to remember the distinction as the native ground squirrel’s name is the “Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel”, though the mnemonic loses its power if one cannot comprehend the connection between mantle and head. Fourth graders have a notorious time with this.

    The squirrel is a pest in its own right, though not so annoying as neighbors that leave peanuts out to feed them or as belligerent as so-called “dogs” weighing it at twice the squirrel’s weight when faced with said fattened squirrel. But this matter, including the preference of greys to reds, will be left for a future time.

    • Anita M. King permalink*
      September 5, 2011 3:55 pm

      Wow! You’re quite the expert on these critters.

  2. September 9, 2011 12:26 pm

    The squirrels are evil. They are in league with the little green gnomes that haunt the band room at my high school. They’re plotting to take over the world one high school at a time. Just wait, you’ll see. There are far more squirrels than chipmunks, and that is evidence enough for me.

    • Anita M. King permalink*
      September 10, 2011 7:29 pm

      I never realized how evil squirrels are before. Taking over camps and high schools everywhere…you’d almost think they rival cats in their scheming!

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