My neighborhood has lots of squirrels. I sometimes feed them. I’ve noticed they practice an effective scam to ensure that they get more nuts. Here’s how it works.
1. Stand on my lawn looking cute and hungry.
2. Look up attentively as Don throws an almond or peanut to within six inches of your big, hairy squirrel feet.
3. Look left and right and up and down as though searching for the nut, but never look directly at the nut or walk toward it. Then look up and make eye contact with Don. Wait.
4. When Don throws a second nut equally close, repeat the fraud. If possible, shrug your little squirrel shoulders to indicate that you are baffled about where all the nuts are going. Look pathetic and clueless.
5. Continue this swindle until Don stops throwing treats. Then take your sweet time eating this bounty of nuts...relaxed and confident in the knowledge that you have tricked Don into sharing more nuts than he would have if you revealed yourself to be a capable squirrel behaving in a professional manner.
6. When all the nuts are gone, raid the bird feeder.
What are the critters up to in your neighborhood?
Don—Pittsburgh, February 7, 2020