Chalk One Up for Squirrels

By Ray Brennan

When I was a freshman living in the first floor of the Tinsley dorm, some of my friends and I used to joke that there were trolls that ran rampant across the College Avenue Campus, and that they were the ones who really ran the show. We hypothesized that they utilized secret passages, feasted on the undigested corn from our waste products, and used squirrels as their method of transportation, harnessing them like so much cowboys on horses. On one afternoon, however, the stories went a little too far.

I was walking with my friend Sarah down College Avenue near Ford Hall toward Scott Hall, when a squirrel ran to the center of the sidewalk further down our path, paused, and stood straight up on his hind legs. I jested to Sarah that the squirrel must have been under the control of one of those mangy trolls, and vowed to scare it off. I ran at the squirrel full speed, belting out a battle cry in an attempt to drive it away. As I got within several feet of the squirrel, I realized that it was not afraid of me and was not going anywhere. It maintained it stance, on its hind legs, and didn't move a muscle. I screeched to a halt when I got within a foot of the rodent, got scared out of my mind, and sprinted off in the other direction. The fact that the squirrel showed no fear as I ran toward it freaked me out. In that split second, the joke about the trolls could have been real for all I knew. I just knew that I wasn't sticking around to find out. When I got back to my friend Sarah with a frightened look on my face, she was laughing hysterically. That was the day the trolls had won. Son-of-a-gun, the trolls had won.

©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005