One day, I threw some slightly stale bread into the yard for the birds that love to forage there. Within minutes after I got up the back porch stairs, and into the house, a critter, much like the one in the photo above, its cheeks stuffed with as much of the bread as it could gather, was on my porch scratching at the back storm door.
I rapped gently on the glass, hoping to scare it off, but it wasn’t fazed. It lifted onto its haunches, begging for more.
At that time, our Sheltie-Cocker-Beagle mix was queen of the yard, and went after squirrels with a ferocity that never failed to surprise, as she was affectionate to a fault with all humans. As soon as she caught sight of the critter, though, her predatory instincts went into action, and she started to bark. That ended the squirrel’s greedy campaign.
I stopped signing petitions in 2016, after I realized none of them accomplished anything, except providing the host organization with enough data on me to become a pest.
Despite checking all the “No emails” in my email settings, repeatedly, I should add, and unsubscribing to future emails, also repeatedly, the requests for more signatures and donations kept pouring in.
That’s when I marked all of them as Spam, and let my email software do the rest.
This year, conditions being as they are, my husband and I decided to give additional support to our favorite charities and candidates.
That’s when this happened.
Phone: Ring, ring.
Male: Hello, is this Barbara?
Me: Who is this?
Male: I’m with ****, and I’m calling because as you know, we need your help more than ever. So, could we count on you for a monthly pledge of $1,000?
Me: I’m sorry, but I gave what I could give. So, no.
Male: But (prepared blather…).
Me: I said, no. I wish I could help, but I can’t.
Male: I hate to be persistent, but…
Me: (Interrupting) This is a difficult time. There’s a pandemic. Everyone is hurting.
Male: I realize that.
Me: Then you should also realize there’s a limit to how much people can give.
Male: (Blather blather blather, gimme gimme gimme, shameless attempts at emotional manipulation…)
Me: (channeling my mother) Listen, honey, I know you need funds. That’s why we gave you as much as we did. But now, rather than showing respect for that generosity, you’re badgering me, and addressing me by my first name when you don’t even know me, an assumption of familiarity I find frankly insulting and offensive.
Me: NO. ENOUGH. All I want to hear from you at this point is, Thank you for your support, Ma’am.
Male: (hesitating, a few seconds, then) Thank you for your support.
Me. Ma’am. Say it.
Me: Thank you for calling. You have a nice day now.
Sometimes, the only way to deal with troublesome critters is to bark at them.
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