Recently I read about a woman named Dixie Goldsby who had a problem: what to do with a chipmunk that had stowed away in her car after she wrapped up a camping trip in Utah. Apparently her camp site had a small population of chipmunks that, attracted by Ms. Goldsby's organic snacks, kept making daring daylight raids into her car to grab the food. When she packed up and left, one of the little critters remained trapped in the car and made the trip back to the lovely hot tub loving town of Marin, California.
Ms. Goldsby brought her new friend to the WildCare animal rehabilitation center in San Rafael, where they had the bright idea to fly the chipmunk back to the campsite where his friends and family would undoubtedly be happy to see him and ask, in their beautiful chipmunk language, what the heck he was doing in a state where the population likes actors so much they keep electing them to run the state. This had to be done, because, as Ms. Goldsby correctly opined, if it were anywhere other than Marin, the animal would be shot. I'd like to add that he'd also be smoked and slow-roasted and enjoyed with a cold glass of beer.
Karen Wilson, WildCare's executive director, explained why they were taking the time and expense of dropping the critter back on his home turf:
"We are trying to make the point of how each animal that comes through our center, we do our best for," Wilson told the Marin Independent Journal.
In other words, animals are people, too.
A Marin pilot donated his time and airplane to take the chipmunk back; Goldsby and a member of WildCare went along, and as of this writing the critter is back home and presumably happy, though I’m sure he misses the hot tubs that are a state requirement for every home in Marin. But what the article didn't say was whether or not they dropped the critter from the plane and expected him to open a parachute.
I’m trying really hard to come up with why this operation was a colossal waste of time, but deep down I understand why they did this. After all, don’t you remember those classic cartoon chipmunks known as Chip & Dale? Those two have seen to it that chipmunks everywhere get a little extra care and attention. This chipmunk had no name--he was christened “chipmunk 1344 from Utah”--which makes it sound like he was an undercover secret agent. That would actually make a pretty good movie. Imagine the whole car trip as the only way to insert Chipmunk 1344 into California to stop a great chipmunk criminal conspiracy involving Chip & Dale, who, tired of being on the shelf, are cooking up a scheme to murder Mickey Mouse and recapture the spotlight. Or something.
I’m sure a real writer can come up with a plot. And, perhaps, somebody already has.