meet scooter t. squirrel.1 he was a gift from my mom.2 i saw a picture of the cutest taxidermy squirrel holding an acorn and thought, huh, taxidermy squirrel. WANT. so, i went on ebay and while i didn't find one holding an acorn, i did find one riding a vespa. a squirrel riding a vespa! i was in love. in theory. in practice, owning a taxidermied squirrel seemed well, odd and maybe a little gross. so, i sent the link to my mom knowing that she'd find it hilarious and forgot about it. months and months later, on christmas day, my parents showed up at our house with a large box. as soon as i pulled the first bit of paper out of the box i knew what it was.
so, he's lived with us for awhile. in chicago he sat on our window sill - with a few other squirrels.3
i don't know why it never occurred to me to take him out in the world before. seems pretty obvious. except for the part where our old neighborhood was at the crossroads of five gang territories and our street was occasionally used for high speed chases. a photo outing with mr. squirrel in chicago may have been dangerous.
here in portland though, in our nice quiet neighborhood? oh yes, mr. squirrel and i were going to have fun.
but here's the thing - a taxidermied squirrel on a vespa attracts attention. of all sorts. one person stopped to take a picture and she wanted to talk - about mr. squirrel and the chicken on walkabout on our block4 and her errant owners. half a dozen people stopped to talk to me. two people stopped to ask if he died of natural causes. a couple people just stopped to say how cute he was. a mom and son stopped. mom thought he was awesome. her son said, "that's just not right."
kid, you're not entirely wrong.
1 the t is for theodore.
2 yes, this gift speaks volumes about my relationship with my mother.
3 he was the only taxidermied squirrel. he is not the only taxidermy i own.
4 sadly, there were no photo ops with mr. squirrel and the chicken who had escaped from her yard.