Don Shea Don Shea, Writer & Editor
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Gettysburg Review 10.4

     It was right there on the TV news. You had to look. You couldn't not look.
     It's not as if the squirrel was being hurt or anything. It was just being asked to water ski. More accurately, it was being required to water ski.
     They put a toy speedboat — battery powered, remote controlled — in a large swimming pool. Behind the speedboat, they attached a string to a pair of twelve-inch water skis, joined in the middle and equipped with an upright tee bar.
     You saw the rest. Slap the squirrel on the skis, fire up the boat, circle the pool. Rodent water sports, involuntary division.
     Watching, you were first impressed by the squirrel's sheer skill in mastering what must have been a novel challenge. On closer inspection, it seemed apparent that the animal was pumped with adrenal terror.
     The squirrel wasn't stupid. Sitting on those skis and holding that tee bar with its front paws was the safest and driest option it had. Balancing precariously, it tried to brush the spray from its face, then lifted its tail with one paw in a hopeless attempt to keep it dry, then abandoned these efforts and concentrated on simply hanging on as the boat circled and accelerated.
     Did you laugh? Did you? Did you smile? Tell the truth.
     Would you ask forgiveness of a squirrel, or do you insist on an audience with God?



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