I’ve been wanting to set the record straight on something for quite some time now.
Back at college, my much-beloved Mount Holyoke College, to be precise, there were lots and lots of squirrels. These squirrels were less than impressed or intimidated by the flocks of students swarming around their habitat, and were both bold and inventive in methods of panhandling. More than once, I saw one run partway up the leg of a stationary student, obviously making the case for a share of her bagel.
One day, around the dinner table (the Gravity Pit) in my dorm (North Mandelle), the topic turned to our squirrelly friends. I spoke up and put forward my theory that there was, in fact, only one squirrel on campus. His name was Bob, and he did the rest with mirrors. And trapdoors. And a complex system of tunnels.
Imagine my surprise when, upon visiting the ol’ MHC website a couple of years ago, I found a student quoted as saying, “all the squirrels on campus are named Bob.” She then attributed this to some more recent student, or recent professor, or some fol-de-rol.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my school, and I ADORE the fact that I was responsible for the creation of an mini-campus legend. But, um, can I get a witness?
In the last couple of years, since I saw this bit on the website (it’s still there, by the way), I’ve tried to corroborate my story. Whenever I’ve come across an erstwhile member of the Gravity Pit Gang, I’ve asked if they remember this happening (my making the Bob quip). They do. In fact, my friend the editor of the school yearbook that year even reminded me that she attributed the saying to me in a caption on the last page of the ’93 yearbook, under a picture of Bob.
Now you’re saying “you petty, awful, egomaniacal squirrel-hater. Why can’t you just leave it alone, and hug the knowledge to yourself that you were responsible for this slightly charming, but quite minor incident!?”
Well, ’cause. I don’t really mind if the story goes that “no-one knows how he got that name,” but for layers of lies ond rumour to be laid on what is quite likely my most lasting contribution to my school is unacceptable.
I just don’t know how to set the record straight without coming off as petty and mean. And how many people will just roll their eyes and say, yeah, sure, YOU started it all. ok, ok… snicker.
MHC has a long tradition of perpetuating the eccentric last wishes of its alums: witness the gift to the school that ensures every student receives milk and cookies every night after dinner. This is, of course, my plan of last resort. Leave a small bequest, ensuring the well-being of Bob at Mount Holyoke College. Maybe the establishment of little squirrel refuges dotted all over campus. Or a day when everyone skips class to feed and cavort with Bob. Or a little, life-size statue of Bob, placed somewhere out of the way, with a simple plaque (“To Bob”), to mystify future matriculants.
I must call my attorney…