For all intents and purposes, I will forever go down in history with the nickname, “Squirrel Eye.” While this moniker is known to some of my closest friends, especially a certain Hicksville mom who has since relocated to Ohio, I’m about to get all vulnerable and share it with all of you.
Way back when my daughter was in the formerly known preschool Friendship Connection in Plainview, I was a young mom who, like most moms, had difficulty finding time to get everything done before work. During school hours, I found myself scrambling to throw in a load of laundry, all the while multitasking to make sure I made the best use of my free time.
When I arrived home, my dog met me at the front door. She had been waiting anxiously to go out into the yard, because we had an abundance of squirrels that had built a nest in the hemlocks behind our home. Cubby was more than ready to fly off the top step of our deck to catch one. I let her out and went about my business, eager to start my day.
I found the remnants of a loaf of wheat bread and a bag of Shoprite pretzels in the breadbasket. I mused that it might be a nice gesture to toss the crumbs out to the birds. As I crossed to the back of the house, I heard a scuffle on my roof. I hadn’t noticed my dog, whose front paws were on the top step of the deck, clutched white with anticipation.
As I tossed the bread and pretzels out the back door, I heard the scuffle grow louder. As I turned my head to investigate, what felt like a 5-pound bag of potatoes landed on the top of my head. Two squirrels were in the middle of a snit, and my head just happened to be in the middle of it. I tried my hardest to get them off as Cubby continued to bark a general alarm that could easily wake the dead.
The following events happened as though in slow motion. One of the squirrels, most likely the loser of the sparring match, hopped off my head. My neck ricocheted backwards as I attempted to right myself while swatting at the other squirrel, whose rear paws were tangled in my hair. He then proceeded to bend over my head, take my face in his front paws and bit my eyelid with such force that I banged into the back door. Then, as though nothing ever happened, he hopped off and scurried away, Cubby in hot pursuit.
The time to pick up our daughter had arrived. As I washed out the bite with soap and water, I realized that I would need a tetanus shot. At the time, I worked in the emergency department of what was formerly known as Central General Hospital in Plainview. A friend, who has since continued to run with the joke by sending me a squirrel card for every birthday and Christmas, took care of my girl as I drove to the emergency room.
The chief of emergency medicine at the time, Dr. Packy, saw me as I entered through the double doors. His laugh carried throughout the entire unit. When he was finally able to control himself, he ordered a tetanus shot on a chart that was written up as “Squirrel Eye.” A legend was born.
Squirrels are not classically vector-carrying animals. I was relieved to find out that I wouldn’t require a series of Rabies vaccines, as Dr. Packy explained that an animal that small with rabies would die rather quickly after contracting the disease. He patted me on the shoulder affectionately, “Stop worrying, Squirrel Eye. You’re good.”
I don’t harbor a grudge against the squirrels that have since taken up residence in my yard. I continue to feed them, although I bear a scar on my right eyelid that will forever keep me known as “Squirrel Eye, Queen of the Squirrels.”
Patty Servidio is a columnist, contributing writer and columnist with Anton Media Group. The views expressed by columnists are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.