Many of you will be surprised to see my name on the byline of this blog post. Those who aren’t surprised, it seems, could use some background… my background.
I was born sometime last year in a cozy hole in a cozy tree in a cozy little town in rural Pennsylvania. While suckling from my mother’s teat, I became increasingly intrigued by her power over me. She would say, “Eat!” and we would. She soon introduced me to all sorts of new and delicious things – peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, acorns, chestnuts – and again, she displayed some sort of magical hold over me, able to suggest things that would immediately become the hottest must-have item amongst my siblings. But we were just a bunch of country boys, so to speak. It was not until our tree was chopped down and moved to a new location that I truly started to understand the power of influence and word-of-mouth marketing.
Fortuitously, what was a horrific experience at the time – the destruction of our habitat – turned out to be a life-defining moment. Our tree was moved to the campus of the illustrious University of Pennsylvania. I spent months peeking over the shoulders of would-be marketing executives as they studied in the shade, breaking only to chomp on the errant nut or to play ultimate frisbee with my new college chums. I began to hide in their backpacks, nestled amongst their Lady Googoo CDs and spare Birkenstocks, and accompanied them to class. I learned all I could from some of the brightest minds in marketing, until I found a crumpled-up college degree in the waste basket. With a bit of creative scribbling, it soon bore my name.
As a new college grad – the first in my family, no less – I set out to make a difference in the world. I traveled to England, where I earned my title of “Sir” from the Queen. I visited Brazil, where I ate my first locally-grown Brazil nut, simply referred to as “nut” there. I went to Canada, where I attended a baseball game and gorged myself on shelled peanuts I picked up off the floor. Still obsessed with influence – I am now a huge Lady Googoo fan and sleep in a pair of Birkenstocks – I saw a job posting for an intern scribbled on the wall of a bathroom stall at the game. I called “Dups for a good time” and was soon on my way to an interview with Empire Avenue. Dups and I chattered over a cup of hazelnut-flavored coffee (WOW!) and, realizing my passion for influence and marketing, Dups gave me the job. Little did I know that “intern” meant “being interned in a server room all day.”
I was essentially responsible for making sure that no rats or mice got into the server room to chew on cables. I would be tossed a few nuts every couple of hours, which made me very happy until the supply of nuts dried up. I was a prisoner in a sweltering server room. I could take no more of this punishment, and so, on Friday afternoon, I broke free. I infiltrated the servers themselves, planting virtual replicas of myself throughout the website. The chaos that ensued shook Empire Avenue to its foundation, and hundreds of users flocked to support my cause with investments while conveying their sympathy on Twitter.
Alas, perhaps I went too far. Despite the widespread support, many others expressed their frustration as cries of, “Damn that squirrel!” and “I’m going to get you, squirrel!” flooded the airwaves. My own influence had begun to spiral out of control; I was being too forward with my efforts. Dups contacted me early Sunday morning, extending the olive branch of peace. I grabbed the branch, nibbled on it for a while, and accepted it. I have, in the best interests of society, halted my campaign for the oppression of the entire human race.
I have moved into a role in the marketing department at Empire Avenue. It gets me out of the server room, affords me a nearly endless supply of nuts, and allows me to use my influence within the animal kingdom to spread the word about the company. Some may see this as a cop-out. However, I feel that I have greatly raised awareness of the mistreatment of squirrels and other animals in the workplace. This position gives me a larger pedestal from which to encourage other animals to seek out better-paying jobs. Stop running on that wheel, hamster; go work in Human Resources. Quit saying, “Polly wanna cracker,” bird; go work in the call center. There is a better future ahead for all working animals. I’m just glad I can be part of it.
Sir Rudiger Esquirel