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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Squirrel-Roach Conspiracy

(This has been a long running joke on the Mercer University campus, so I wrote an "article" about it for our student newspaper "The Cluster" for the April Fools' issues. It didn't make the cut, but here it is for your enjoyment.)


It’s mid-afternoon and the sidewalk on the quad is abandoned. Not a leaf in the nearby trees is moving. A lone student passes by, walking to class. Suddenly, the trees seem to come to life, and the student finds herself being bombarded with acorns by the squirrels that haunt the trees.

A similar scene occurs later that night as a student makes his way back to his dorm. Out of nowhere, a giant roach scuttles across his path by his feet, startling him and making him jump back.

As any student can tell you, scenes like this play out almost everyday on the Mercer campus. Innocent students find themselves attacked by the pests that call our campus home. Considering the frequency of the attacks, it seems high-time that the patterns involved be investigated in order to better understand exactly what is going on.

The first and most obvious modus operandi of the attacks is the timing. The squirrel attacks occur only during the day, while the roaches only come out at night. In fact, there are no reported incidents of a student being attacked by both a squirrel and a roach simultaneously. This in itself is suspicious, but there are further patterns that emerge.

Both the squirrels and the roaches use similar tactics, relying more on fright than on any sort of physical harm in attacking their victims. While the squirrels are known to use acorns as weapons, they are never thrown at a high enough velocity to cause any serious injuries. Instead, the most harm seems to be done when a student, startled by the sudden movements overhead, trips and is injured. This is similar to the roaches’ method of running out from under the bushes and frightening unsuspecting students.

The third note-worthy pattern of the attacks is the apparent lack of motive, and the randomness of the victims. While the victims are primarily students, this appears more to be a result of happenstance than anything else. Anyone who walks on Mercer’s campus seems to be fair game. Also, there have never been any reported thefts in relation to these crimes. The attacks appear to be done simply out of maliciousness, with no motives of theft or revenge ever evident.

Given the similarities of the M.O.’s of the two groups, and the fact that no squirrel has ever been seen in the presence of a roach, the conclusion is inevitable, if strange. It is a theory that has long been quietly discussed on Mercer’s campus, and gained recognition and plausibility when a Facebook group was made to discuss the issue. And bizarre as it may be, it needs to be seriously considered.

Students of Mercer, it is time to consider the idea that’s these attacks might all be the doings of a single culprit. There are just too many coincidences to accept that two different groups are responsible for these attacks. And so, this reporter humbly proposes that they are squirrels by day, and roaches by night.

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