There may be no greater example of the brutality of Time marching on than this. Oh children, how it grieves me that, alas, I must be the bearer of this heartbreaking news, but, yes, after nearly 40 long, glorious years, the water-skiing squirrel show is ending. Please wail and gnash your teeth now. I’ll wait. For truly, this is the end of an era, as never before in our history, nor ever again in our future, will we see the likes of Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel.
Well over four decades ago, Chuck Best, an auxiliary trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol rescued a baby squirrel that had been blown out of a tree during a hurricane. Add one toy power boat and a couple of Styrofoam water skis to a squirrel who can’t argue about it because you saved his life, plus he’s a squirrel, and by gosh, you’ve got a show! Tragically, though, in 1997, Officer Best drowns while trying to rescue his step-father who had fallen out of a boat. Neither of them was wearing a life jacket.
Now widowed, Lou Ann Best, unwilling to sink into her grief, cut a teen-tiny life jacket out of a foam beer coozie, popped it over Twiggy’s little squirrel head, and added an important message about water safety to the show. Put new AA-batteries in the boat, kids! We’re back in business!
Now, after countless thousands of loops around the shallow pool and one final, blow-out performance at last week’s X-Games, Twiggy and Lou Ann are hanging up the skis and looking forward to a quieter life in a 55+ community. Lou Ann is 55+; Twiggy is 10+, but that’s probably comparable in squirrel years. This is the eighth Twiggy in an illustrious line of skiing Twiggy squirrels. I guess Florida gets a lot of hurricanes, so lots of weirdly talented squirrels probably fall out of the trees all the time. Personally, I think I’d hang around the tree that dropped the squirrels that could pick Lotto numbers or make tacos.
So while we try to wrap our heads around a future filled with global warming, Russian espionage, and cilantro, let us take a moment to remember the Golden Years of Twiggy the Water-skiing Squirrel. And remember to wear your life jacket when you’re out on the boat. Even a toy boat (say that five times fast: toy boat, toy boat, toy boat…).