Well, well, well—I have some eagle-eyed readers.
Two weeks ago I wrote about flying squirrels and I promptly received an email from a university professor, let’s call him Dr. C, challenging my statement “Unlike rodents, flying squirrels don’t chew exposed electrical wires.” The professor pointed out, correctly, that flying squirrels are rodents. I should have written: “Unlike other rodents, such as rats, flying squirrels don’t…” I’m happy to set the record straight. Now, let’s move on to—
“Hey, man, you’re a horse’s backside!” says the flying squirrel that lives in the big oak tree in my back yard. “I thought we had a deal: I bring my friends to your feeder, we eat sunflower seeds and look cute, and you sing our praises. Now you’re calling us dirty rodents?”
“Whoa, little buddy, don’t take it so personally. Dr. C says you’re a rodent and that settles it. Why do you even care what humans call you? You should just be happy that we feed you and that we Home Defenders humanely escort you guys out of attics rather than, well, let’s not go into that.”
“Alright, alright, you win. As long as you keep doling out those sunflower seeds, you can call us what you will. A rose by any other name, you know. Now get back to work, ya knucklehead!”
I’ve always known that flying squirrels are rodents, so how did I make that mistake? Well, I just glossed over it because I spend most of my writing energy working on flow and poetry—especially poetry. There’s a deep, satisfying sense of pleasure that comes when a fresh image or engaging last line pops into my head. The afterglow can echo through the my mind and body for hours. I could compare the sensation to something else, but this is a family newspaper.
But, yeah, getting back to science, flying squirrels are rodents.