Day 10: Squirrels and seduction

Someone sent me a squirrel.

If I wanted to know who sent it, Facebook said, I had to send squirrels to sixteen other people.

I have more than sixteen FB friends, but I wasn’t sure they wanted squirrels. In fact, I was afraid they might be offended or, worse yet, think I was trying to attract undue attention. Or, worse than that, think I wanted them to send me a squirrel by return click.

I didn’t want to be unfriended over an unwelcome rodent.

But I wanted to know who sent the squirrel, so I tried to outwit the system. I clicked on three names–teenagers I thought might like being singled out for the honor–and sent them squirrels. Then I clicked on the link promising to identify my benefactor.

The resulting page complained that I hadn’t followed instructions. “Sixteen people” means sixteen people. I was thirteen short. Until I sent squirrels to those thirteen, my squirrel-giver would remain anonymous.

A footnote, however, contained an out. If I didn’t want to bestow squirrels on the majority of my friends list, but still wanted to know whence mine came, I could do so by acquiring Giftie Credits.

Curious, I pursued this option.

Curiosity waned when I discovered that Giftie Credits come with a price.

I could get 160 Giftie Credits for ten dollars.

Or I could perform certain actions:

  • subscribing to a DVD service would bring me 317 Giftie Credits;
  • participating in a trial of green tea would bring 455 Giftie Credits;
  • ordering a trial something-or-other designed to allay my fear of wearing a bikini next summer would net 380 Giftie Credits.

Because I get DVDs from Netflix, don’t care that much for green tea, and don’t own a bikini, I declined those offers.

The “FREE Slim Seduction Trial”–408 GCs–sounded interesting but didn’t seem practical, so I passed that up as well.

Instead, I slid the pointer up to the toolbar and flew to my very own Facebook Home page, where commerce does not dwell.

When I joined Facebook, I intended to keep up with family, friends, and my old paralegal school. I wanted to make professional contacts. I thought I might get in touch with former students and co-workers. I expected to read about piano recitals, graduations, and book signings.

I didn’t expect the squirrel.

And I still don’t know who sent it.

In fact, I haven’t even seen the little devil. I’m sure he, or she, is as cute as a bug, probably a lot like Perri on the cover of the Disney LP I had when I was eight. But I don’t know where he is or where he came from.

Not knowing isn’t acceptable. I want answers. I don’t like to be left hanging.

I shall try to be patient. Perhaps in time the craving will dissipate.

But if it doesn’t–if the desire to know becomes unbearable–I might be forced to check out the Slim Seduction Trial.

With 408 Giftie Credits, I could send a lot of squirrels.


“Squirrels and Seduction” appeared in Whiskertips in 2009. An updated, revised, and corrected version appears here at the request of my most ardent fan, who does not want to write a post from scratch tonight.


Image by Dave-F, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, via

Day 9: Emoting


Austin Mystery Writers met tonight.

I was prepared. I bought frozen stuffed peppers Sunday evening and at 4:40 this afternoon turned the oven on to 350. David took it from there.

Frozen stuffed peppers is our Tuesday night default. David is the default preparer of frozen dinners and cleaner-upper of kitchen. For all this I am grateful.

I wasn’t prepared for the blog, of course. That slipped up on me. I’ve given myself thirty minutes to write and post.

The AMW meeting was productive. CP and I exchanged manuscripts–sounds a lot like fourth grade: “Exchange papers with the person across the aisle and we’ll check our answers”–and read and discussed them.

We spent most of the time talking about what wasn’t on the page: real plots and false plots, what our characters want, how to increase suspense, plot points and midpoints.

For at least the tenth time, we hashed out my structural dilemma.

Originally, I had a perfectly good plot. Then I decided to make a major change. I’m now dealing with fallout.

Periodically I say, “I can’t make this version work.”

CP shows me how I can make this version work.

I repeat, “No, I just can’t make it work.”

CP says, “Okay, then, go back to the way it was. Kill Mr. X.”

And I say, “But I don’t want to kill Mr. X. I want to kill Mrs. Y.”

That’s a classic strategy: I argue that I cant until my partner agrees with me. Then I argue that I can.

My mother and I spent most of the 1984-85 school  year engaged in that conversation. I was working at a university as an assistant instructor while writing my thesis. I was to receive my M.A. in August and then return a couple of weeks later as a full-time lecturer.

The catch was that by early July my thesis had to be approved, typed, signed, copied, and submitted for binding.

No thesis = no M.A. = no lectureship = no income.

Hence the weekly discussion:

K (wailing):  I’ll never finish my thesis in time to graduate.

M (in the soothing tone that was both patronizing and irksome):  Oh, you’ll get it finished.

K (louder wailing): No, I won’t. And if I don’t finish, I won’t have a job next year.

M (dropping the soothing tone and sounding frighteningly reasonable): Well, if you don’t think you can finish the thesis, maybe you should start looking for another high school job.

K (hysterical, offended wailing): You don’t think I can finish it! I’m going to finish it! I have to finish it!

Somewhere along the line, I think about March, my mother stopped bothering with words and began substituting, “Um-hmmmm.” Having heard predictions of academic doom since my freshman year (“I failed my biology test. No, really, I failed this one.”), she said her lines mostly to appease me. She knew I had to vent.

I suspect CP, like my mother, has figured out her role in the drama.

Image of Elisabet Ney’s Lady Macbeth by cliff1066, used under terms of Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.