Picture this — you’re walking around Grounds on a Friday holding your dinner, excited to find a place to eat, when you come face to face with a squirrel. The squirrel fears nothing, especially not you with your Roots bowl and lack of coordination.
A psychological battle ensues. You stare at the squirrel, the squirrel stares at you with its beady, unwavering little eyes. After a minute of judging you, the squirrel decides that you’re not worth its time and climbs away, leaving you to go about the rest of your day with a sense of inadequacy looming over you.
Why are these squirrels so confident and fearless? There’s only one logical explanation — the squirrels that wander Grounds are robotic spies planted by Jim Ryan to watch the University population and prevent us from becoming too powerful.
There have been massive developments in technology over the past few years, so it was only a matter of time before our tax dollars started funding a surveillance squirrel operation. After all, the University is funded by the government and we all know that the government created birds, so corrupting squirrels is the next logical step in the animal hierarchy.
Think about it — do Northern Virginia squirrels like to get close to people? Do Southern Virginia squirrels stare you down as you approach them? They would never dream of it. These masters of evolution know better and sprint the moment they sense any form of human life. The University’s squirrels rarely run away, they can’t if they want to collect information on you. They’ll stare you down and analyze every swiping motion you make on your phone and how heavily you’re breathing after walking two feet. It’s not until you attempt to grab them that these little masters of deception decide to scamper off, fearful of their cover being blown.
These squirrels have listened to all of our wandering complaints and sent them straight to Jim Ryan’s personal computer, ready for him to peruse as he adjusts his Rotunda-patterned tie. Our faithful leader then takes this intel and uses it to inconvenience us. Why is Alderman Library under construction? Why are there now traffic monitors along McCormick Road? The squirrels are at the heart of these developments.
Alderman Library is the core library on Grounds, a place where students love to go to grind out the work they forgot to do last week. By closing this library for “renovations,” the University has made it harder for us to fill our half-functioning brains with sweet, sweet knowledge — effectively stopping us from outsmarting the people who run our academic village! Now we have been displaced to Clemons and Clark, in spaces that lack proper lighting or force you into sitting close enough to hear the business major next to you sigh every time he has to think. The silent first floor of Clemons offers some solitude and reconciliation, providing an ample cramming environment, but now that too has spent half a semester closed for renovations. Nothing is sacred in the eyes of these squirrels.
In the good old days, the sidewalks of McCormick Road were clogged, but they were clogged with free spirits. One could simply sprint across the intersections on the way to classes, forcing the mopeds, bikes, and cars galore to know their place, but now there is no justice. We must wait, shoulder-to-shoulder like little sardines in a can, until the middle-aged man in a shiny vest allows us to cross the road and reach our destination. We are powerless young adults, our autonomy in the hands of our overlords.
How can we regain some semblance of freedom? The answer is simple — we must give the squirrels a taste of their own medicine. How exactly do we do that? I think you can figure that out for yourself seeing as I’ve already spilled enough state-university secrets for one day.