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Date:12/18/2014 2:27:09 PM
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Culling, Part II, Chipmunks and Downspouts
I hate chipmunks. I admit it. They are not the cute little creatures of Disney fame but rather the despoilers of garden produce, the death of annuals (flowers) and even the predators of nest eggs and fledglings. To be honest, I kill over 20 a year with my pellet gun. The vermin (so to speak) that I hate the worst are red squirrels (just chipmunks on steroids), the chipmunks themselves, and then starlings and grackles (they, too, predate on songbirds).

Whether I am walking around my own house, or delivering mail in Green Bay, I often hear chipmunks squeaking and scurrying up the aluminum downspouts as I go past. It's an irritating sound to me (because, as I've just mentioned, I hate the little buggers). Once, at my own home, when one scurried up my downspout, I (with perverse pleasure) put the muzzle of the pellet gun to the mouth and pulled the trigger. I don't know if I actually killed it, but the rattling, squeaking cacophony that came from the tube was impressive!

So one day last week I observed a chipmunk scuttle up a length of aluminum tubing that was laying unconnected on the ground. A thought crossed my mind to pick up that section and swing it, causing the lil' critter to catapult out the far side like a furry little cannon ball. I then thought, of course, that, "That would be wrong . . . "

A few minutes later, as I was walking my route, I mentioned all this to an old retired gentleman who spends a lot of time out in his yard. He responded, "Oh, I've done that!" He continued, "When one goes up my downspout, I stuff a leather glove in one end and unhook it. I give it the ol' heave ho and they fly out the other end like they've been shot from a cannon. See the neighbors' garage? One went right over the top!"
I doubled over in laughter as he added, "I can't imagine what goes through their minds as they're flying through the air."

I asked him if the chippies made any sound as they were launched, as if I was expecting a wavering "Hamster Dance" type of squeal fading into the distance.
"No" my newfound hero answered, "They don't make any noise."

Too bad, I thought. It would be really cool if some poor schmuck, walking along the next street over, would hear the increasingly noisome wail of an incoming chipmunk as it sailed in and thumped along the ground at his feet. Better yet, I thought, to have it splatter against someone's bay window and then slide down like in the cartoons.

Later on I encountered my friend, Father Patrick, as he walked his beagle Ramona. I confessed to him my delight in considering wrongful action against a simple rodent. He heard me out and then offered his appraisal, "That would be cruel, I suppose." The good Father then paused, "But," he added, "I can just imagine how it would look to have a chipmunk hit a window pane and slide down with a squeak."

Chipmunks and guilty pleasures. We all have one or the other, or both. --Gary.
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