“It just felt like…I don’t know man…like maybe if I could find the perfect nut, one that had been held by children in the 60’s – maybe as they watched Neil Armstrong step on the moon live, on one of those cool-ass monochrome TVs, and their pops smoked cigarettes and lounged on a dope corduroy couch – like somehow if I could find one of those nuts, down in the basement of some bookstore that was about to go out of business, like maybe then I would feel like I belonged. You know?”
Randall the Squirrel is nervous, agitated, and totally unprepared for the cold arrival of winter to his neighbourhood in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. Chain smoking a Civil War pipe he appraises the scudding snow clouds as they roll in off Lake Ontario, and openly ponders asking a better off buddy if he could crash on his spare branch for a few months.
“I’d chip in for nuts, and am a pretty good roommate, especially if you’re into drone music. I have 8000 records no one else has ever heard of that I carry in a dumpster on the side of my unicycle. Makes balancing a bitch, especially on top of the fences, but man do I get some looks from the ladies. C’est la vie bro. Chez la via. Have you gotta light? Mine’s ornamental.”
In an interesting evolutionary twist that has confounded zoologists, mammalogists, and mixologists, Randall – and his small sub-tribe of likeminded hipster squirrels – seem to be impervious to the biological imperatives supposedly written in bold on the instincts of all creatures; as best outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Dr. Gabbie Chippendale, of the Institute For Studying Squirrels Don’t Ask Why, explains what she has observed after thousands of hours of staring out of the backyard window wishing she’d become a knife sharpener like her father, and his father before him:
“Instead of starting with the basics of life, such as sustenance, security, and safety,” Dr. Chippendale says in carefully measured tones that almost cover her bone-weary boredom with life in general, “Randall and his ‘hombres’ seem capable of ignoring what should be major existential concerns in favour of pursuing odd, arcane and at times down-right asinine ideals. Instead of collecting nuts and looking for places to live, they spend a great deal of time unicycling, roasting coffee beans grown in soil hand-delivered from Panama, talking about how cool whales are, and reconciling themselves to the painful dichotomy of the permanence of tattoos, and yet fleeting impermanence of existence itself.”
“What she said brah,” Randall adds, sighing and nodding solemnly as he waxes his whiskers. “It’s just life y’know? Gets a brother down. Gets. A Brother. Down. Let’s be brothers, we’ll get tattoos it’ll be rad. Got any nuts?”