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HomeLatest NewsWith midterm elections looming, a dog's confidence can inspire - USA TODAY

With midterm elections looming, a dog’s confidence can inspire – USA TODAY


‘I AM GOING TO CHASE THAT SQUIRREL AND CATCH IT. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT SQUIRREL WILL BE MINE AND WHEN I POUNCE AND GRAB IT IN MY MOUTH I WILL … well … I haven’t thought that far ahead.’

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As we tread water in an ocean of midterm election news, let’s take a moment to ponder more pleasant topics, like uselessness and failure.

For dog owners, those qualities are on vivid autumnal display, as squirrels fritter about prepping for winter and our canine friends delude themselves into thinking they will ever catch a busy squirrel.

It’s a hapless, hopeless desire. It’s trying to push a boulder uphill and forever getting flattened.

The Great Squirrel Delusion

My own noble dog, Rosie, suffers from the Great Squirrel Delusion. With her, as with most domestic canines, I suspect, it unfolds like this: We are walking and she’s on a leash. She spots a squirrel ahead, audaciously existing. She slows, lowers her body and then, as we near the bushy-tailed target, hauls off like a whirling dervish of fur and legs, forgetting two key things:

A) She is tethered to me via a leash.

B) She couldn’t catch the squirrel if there were no leash, she were on a motorcycle and the squirrel only had one leg.

An apex predator she is not. And yet, the optimism, the certainty that her mouth will soon be filled with squirming squirrel meat, never flags. There’s something admirable about it all, I suppose. And maybe, in the weeks ahead, we could all use to learn a little about never giving up.

So I convened a focus group consisting of Rosie, a squirrel and a local wolf. The interview is transcribed below.

Rosie: HELLO! THERE IS A SQUIRREL HERE. I CAN SEE THE SQUIRREL. IT IS RIGHT OVER THERE IN A CHAIR AND I AM GOING TO CHASE THAT SQUIRREL AND CATCH IT. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT SQUIRREL WILL BE MINE AND WHEN I POUNCE AND GRAB IT IN MY MOUTH I WILL … well … I guess if I’m being honest I haven’t thought that far ahead. What will I do with that thing?

Local wolf: Oh, for the love of carnivores, you domesticated nitwit, you’ll eat it. You’ll sink your bloody incisors into it and devour its flesh.

Rosie: I will? YES! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WILL DO WHEN I CATCH THAT SQUIRREL WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN THIS TIME.

Squirrel: Hah!

Rosie: WHAT WAS THAT, SQUIRREL THAT I’M ABOUT TO CATCH?!?

Local wolf: He’s laughing at you, you pitiful creature.

Rosie: OH, YOU ARE LAUGHING AT ME, SQUIRREL? YOU WILL SOON FEEL MY WRATH AND RUE THE DAY YOU MET ME. JUST BECAUSE THE PAST 12,345 TIMES I HAVE CHASED ONE OF YOUR KIND HAVEN’T ENDED IN A TECHNICAL “CATCHING” OF ONE OF YOU, THIS TIME WILL FOR SURE BE DIFFERENT AND YOU WILL BE CAUGHT! BY ME! OF THIS I AM CERTAIN.

Squirrel: nibble nibble nibble

Rosie: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!??! ARE YOU NIBBLING AN ACORN WHILE I SIT HERE CLEARLY POSING A DEADLY THREAT TO YOU? OHHHH, YOU WILL REGRET BEING THIS CALM WHEN I HAVE YOU IN MY MOUTH AND DEFINITELY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO WITH YOU. AND WHEN YOU SCREAM, I WILL DEFINITELY NOT DROP YOU LIKE MY FRIEND BISCUIT DID AND THEN RUN INSIDE AND HIDE UNDER THE TABLE BECAUSE THE SOUND IS SCARY!

Local wolf: Oh, dear god.

Rosie: NO! I WILL … DO THE EATING OF YOU AND … FOR SURE NOT ATTEMPT TO PLAY WITH YOU BECAUSE IT’S POSSIBLE YOU’RE JUST A MUCH SMALLER DOG. 

Squirrel: Pfffffffft!!

Local wolf: I mean, you’re literally killing the wolf brand. How is it possible you evolved from us?

Rosie: I AM COMING FOR YOU SQUIRREL!!!

(At this point, Rosie leapt off her chair toward the squirrel, misjudged the distance to the table, bonked her head on the edge of the table and fell to the ground then got up very quickly, pretending nothing happened.)

Rosie: I’m fine. Everything’s cool.

Squirrel: HAH!

Local wolf: This is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen.

Rosie: I meant to do that. I am lulling that squirrel into a false sense of security just as I’ve done with the squirrels in my backyard. I run out every morning and pretend to chase them but always come up short ON PURPOSE! Then one day, I will really try hard and then I will get a squirrel in my mouth and I will … ummmm … and then I’ll …

Local wolf: Greedily devour it?

Rosie: YES! I WILL DO WHAT WOLF SAID!

Squirrel: HAHAHAHHAAAA!

Rosie: NOW I WILL GET YOU, STUPID SQUIRREL!!!

(Rosie again jumped off her chair, landed on the desk and leapt toward the squirrel. The squirrel moved 2 inches to the right, not dropping its acorn, and Rosie flew into the wall.)

Local wolf: It appears all dignity was lost in the evolutionary process.

Squirrel: nibble nibble nibble

Rosie: THAT’S IT! I WILL GET YOU THIS TIME! OF THIS I AM CERTAIN!!

I ended the focus group there before things got out of hand. But regardless of the local wolf’s disgust or the squirrel’s cockiness, the unbridled optimism Rosie and all our canine companions might just help us in the potentially tumultuous weeks and months ahead.

It doesn’t matter how fast those squirrels run. We’ve got to keep believing we’ll catch ’em.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

More humor and satire from Rex Huppke:

Lizzo plays James Madison’s crystal flute while racists play dog whistles.

Sen. Lindsey Graham mansplains abortion ban: ‘I picked 15 weeks.’ Got it, ladies?

What Trump and his wannabes did in one weekend should scare us all.

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