MJ. The dead Kennedys. Jon & Kate. All the scandalous headlines in the news and yet I find myself far more interested in a local celebrity. A squirrel to be exact.

It all started a few months back when we were walking Jez through the neighborhood. A small gathering of kids stood on their front lawn feeding birdseed to a squirrel. I reeled Jez in as she tried to lunge toward the tame little critter. The squirrel ran for the curb and an adult appeared on the front stoop.

“That’s Stubby,” the woman said as the kids stood there staring.

We’d completely interrupted Stubby’s feeding time without even realizing it. I felt like a jerk. We quickly made our way on down the street and out of sight.

Now Jez and I see Stubby almost every morning. We’ve even gotten close enough to notice that he’s missing most of his fluffy tail—thus the name. We usually find Stubby hanging out with other squirrels. Jez chases his friends away, but never really messes with Stubby. Does she recognize him? Maybe she can tell from his girth that he’s crossed over from a tree-dwelling, trash-eater to being someone’s pet? Or perhaps she’s just waiting for the right moment to gobble him up. Regardless, the more I think about Stubby, the more I think he illustrates a couple of important lessons to keep in mind as we all make our way through the days. First, watch your tail. Second, eat heartily when you have the opportunity.

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