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mysteries

And of Course, the Squirrels?

Out of all the many, sundry problems James Lee demanded that the Discovery Channel, of all people, solve — including war, unemployment, something to do with housing, and anchor babies — the rapid growth of the human race is what, quite literally, drove him mad. While population growth is a real concern that serious people are worried about, Lee alone was so fed up with human proliferation that he was willing to have us die out completely, through “sterilization and infertility," for the good of the planet.

The man was clearly not entirely right in the head, and criminal psychologists will probably pore through his writings to figure out what, ultimately, drove him to such drastic actions. But as they try to process Lee's misanthropic, Kevin Spacey–in–Seven–like ramblings (which were posted on his website, savetheplanetprotest.com), there is one thing they will likely never understand: the squirrels.

According to Lee, who must have thought his demands were going to be more persuasive than they turned out to be:

Saving the environment and the remaning [sic] species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.


Of course, the squirrels. Of course. He just casually tosses it in there. As if all of us would, if tasked with making a list of the thirteen animals most worth going extinct for, include squirrels without hesitation. They’re a given. There are good reasons for saving each one of these animals, but clearly the squirrel is particularly important.

Out of all the marvelous creatures on this planet, Lee chose to highlight some of the most mundane, which is all the more strange when you consider how much he watched the Discovery Channel (beetles? You want us to die out for beetles? If you said something like, you know, a peacock, we’d at least think about it). But none of them are more mundane than the squirrel. There is nothing remotely special about them — that handful of squirrels who can water-ski doesn't count — nothing that would merit their inclusion on this roster of animals for which we must sacrifice ourselves. In fact, besides common household pets, squirrels seem to be the animal least inconvenienced by human civilization. Give them a backyard, a park — hell, just a couple of trees on the street, that’s all they need. Really, squirrels are doing fine. Don’t worry about the squirrels.

And yet … of course the squirrels. At some point during the course of his tragic life, Lee became convinced that every human had to stop procreating. But even more perplexing than that, somewhere along the way he got the idea that squirrels had some sort of special standing in the animal kingdom, and that we all recognized it. The next time we see one — doing something really uninteresting, no doubt, like cleaning its tail or eating an acorn — we'll think of him.

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Photo: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images