What if terrorists hook up with squirrels? | Latte Guy | April 1

I’m not one to give much credence to those who prophesied the end of the world, as entertaining as some of those claims and claimants may be.

But one can’t look at a newspaper or turn on the evening news these days without wondering if we’re on the verge of something big.

Japan is ravaged by the three Gorgon sisters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The Middle East explodes in flames and revolution. Countries across the world face bankruptcy and economic ruin.

In our own country, the gulf between the rich and the poor grows ever wider and reasoned discussion and compassion is replaced by acrimonious name-calling and naked greed.

Our government is paralyzed and ineffective, fiddling a mindless death dirge while the middle class disappears and the poor suffer.

Famine, plagues, war, rumors of war, pestilence and Glenn Beck assault us everyday. Could things possibly get any worse? They could, and they have.

Residents of Burlington, Vt., have recently reported being attacked by one or more renegade gray squirrels.

One man reported that a squirrel repeatedly jumped on his back while he was shoveling snow.

Another woman was mauled badly enough by a combative squirrel to have to undergo rabies treatment.

State animal experts have explained the attacks by suggesting that the assaultive squirrels may have been raised as pets, thereby losing their fear of humans.

I have another theory.

Can anyone be sure that these “innocent” gray squirrels aren’t, in fact, actually specially trained guerilla squirrels recruited by our enemies to spread bushy-tailed terror throughout the heartland?

Would it be so hard to lure these naïve and impressionable young rodents into making suicide squirrel attacks on ordinary citizens with gauzy promises of ascending to a squirrel heaven where nuts grow on trees and there are no dogs, owls or teenage boys with pellet guns?

If Congress were not currently so busy trying to take away our healthcare and bust unions, I’d demand an immediate Congressional hearing.

And the scary news continues.

Scientists have recently come across the largest living organism on earth, and it’s neither a blue whale nor Rush Limbaugh.

This massive creature is more than 2,400 years old, or nearly as old as Bob Barker and Larry King combined. It lives in the remote Malheur National Forest of Eastern Oregon.

Perhaps most frighteningly of all, it’s a fungus, one that covers some 2,200 acres to a depth of three feet or more in some places. That’s an area the size of 1,665 football fields.

This particular fungus is an Armillaria ostoyae, more commonly known as a honey mushroom.

Why should we be concerned about an unnaturally large honey mushroom in Eastern Oregon?

Well, for one thing, the mushroom is killing off trees by sending slender black threads called rhizomorphs into the soils and roots of innocent, hard-working, tax-paying American trees, drawing moisture and nutrition away from the tree to feed its bottomless fungal gullet.

Even more terrifying, if terrorists have hooked up with gray squirrels in Vermont, isn’t it only a matter of time before they begin recruiting giant mushrooms and enormous fungi in their nefarious schemes to overthrow what’s left of America?

After all, what lives in those trees the giant mushrooms are killing off in Oregon? That’s right. Gray squirrels.

Coincidence, or irrefutable proof of an inter-species conspiracy to destroy our American way of life?  You decide, but remember; you read it here first.

Tom Tyner is an attorney for the Trust for Public Land. He is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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