When I couldn’t sleep as a child, my dad would tell me to “pretend to be a squirrel.” The thinking was that squirrels have such boring lives that I’d fall asleep by the sixth or seventh acorn. He was right. Even after I saw The Sword in the Stone, my imagination couldn’t cook up too much about being a squirrel that was worth staying up for.
The other night, Collin and I both woke up in the middle of the night (maybe there was an earthquake or something) and couldn’t fall back asleep for hours. I told him about the squirrel trick. And he RUINED IT.
Collin, you see, loves animals. Even squirrels. So when he started imagining being a squirrel, Collin got REALLY EXCITED.
“Oh my god, I would get those little nuts, what are those called, the ones with the little hats on them? I would get a bunch of them and hide them all in one place. But I would eat some of them too. Or maybe I would eat an apple and spin it around really fast when I chew on it. I saw a squirrel doing that when I was in undergrad and it was super cutie.”
“Collin, this is not how this game works.”
“Oh, and when people walked up to me, I would do THIS.” (He spreads his arms out, stiffens up, and darts his eyes back and forth.) “Squirrels LOVE that move.”
“You’re destroying my childhood.”
“I don’t understand how this helped you sleep.”
“Because squirrels are boring to me! Run down a power line, jump to a tree, eat a nut. Repeat.”
“Maybe Hitchcock squirrels. Diedrich squirrels have cutie little squirrel adventures. Like maybe while the squirrel was sitting up in a tree the tree gets chopped down by a lumberjack and he has to try out being a flying squirrel to survive…”
Several hours later, without the help of imagined squirreldom, I finally fell asleep again.
Last night, I was in a sour mood. Collin asked what he could do to help, “Chocolate? Squeezes? Cute pictures of baby squirrels?”
“Hitchcocks say squirrels help you sleep; Diedrichs say squirrels make you happy.” Then he showed me this picture:
And I admit, it made me smile.
“Can you think of any baby animal cuter than THAT?”
“Challenge accepted” I said.
This turned into a game of one-upsmanship, attempting ever-escalating cuteness in Google Image search results. Collin refused to accept the harsh truth that mammals have the advantage in this game, but pulled out some upset victories:
And what do you know, a few baby animals later my bad mood was completely vanquished. Let me say this again: cute animals made me feel happier.
Marriage changes you.