Thursday, August 9, 2012


I have been living in the midst of a pine forest for a little more than 8 years now, and during that time I have made my peace with sap. The pines here continually ooze sap. Sometimes it actually falls from the pines like a super fine mist settling on windshields and...really...juts about everything. I have sat in it, rubbed up against it, gotten it in my hair, clothes, beard and all over my hands so that they were as black as if I had been wrestling with Uncle Remus's Tar Baby.

The squirrels, however, somehow miraculously never seem to have any problem with sap. They are always fluffy. I live in the midst of pines, but they actually live in the pines. They scamper along their branches, up and down, round and round all day long. They make their nests out of green pine needles. They actually sleep in sap-covered needles. They mostly seem to eat the nuts out of the green pine cones. Those things are basically glazed in thick, gooey sap. I don't get it. You would think that squirrel fur would constantly be matted down and spotty with sap, but their tails are always fluffy and their fur always seems clear of sap. If some scientist could uncover the squirrel's secret for remaining sap free I think it could reveal some very marketable information. Fortunes could be made!

If only the squirrels could talk.


Anonymous said...

Monsieur Tate,

Picture one of your children. You (in your legendary benevolence) have given him (we're selecting one of the younger two for this thought experiment) a delicious confection known as "cotton candy." As entropy must always increase, beating an erratic tattoo as it drives us from order to chaos, your child will end up covered in a thin slime of sugar fluid, particularly around his face, hair, hands and arms.

So too the merry squirrel. However, like your progeny, something interesting will happen if given enough time. The portions of the child's anatomy which can fit into his mouth will slowly become cleaner as he consumes the remaining sugary fluid. Again - so too the merry squirrel - they eat tree sap (maple is a particular favorite).

The difference in the experience of child and rodent lies in ability. A squirrel can wrangle just about any part of his body (especially that enormous tail) into contact with his mouth. Consequently, when he is sapped he'll not be content merely to wait for a rainstorm like your van or wait for a bath like your son. He'll instead seize the opportunity, combining toilet and snack in the tradition of Cosmo Kramer.

Respectfully Submitted,

A Fan


A brilliant and handsomely phrased response. I salute you, anonymous!

Tom said...

Now that you like it (and fellow Octogonian Steve Maxon identified me), I'll claim it.


Like it? I love it!