There have been times in my life when I had to take a stand for what was right, even when sitting there and taking the unfairness would have been easier. Even when it meant getting physical.
Even when there was a chance of getting rabies.
Let me explain...
It was my senior year in college, and I was frantically studying for a final exam at the College of Fine Arts cafeteria. That studying stuff was hard work, so I decided to treat myself to a delicious looking, albeit ridiculously expensive, chocolate chocolate-chunk cookie to go along with the lunch I brought from home.
I was an extremely poor college student, and forking out $2.50 for a cookie was something akin to a down payment for a home. But I considered it a reward for all of my hard work and thought that the accompanying sugar high would propel me towards academic greatness as I took my exam in an hour.
Having scored a prime seat on the nearby lawn, I plopped down to eat my sandwich, and as I sat there and nibbled my turkey-on-wheat, I heard some rustling beside me.
I turned around just in time to catch a sneaky squirrel snatching up my gourmet goodie and dragging it away, the weight of the cookie slowing him down to a snail's pace.
The cookie I had been lovingly anticipating eating. The cookie that meant I would be dining on ramen noodles for dinner. The cookie that was still wrapped in cellophane.
And at that moment, I snapped.
Vermin was taking off with my $2.50 cookie. That squirrel didn't care how much that cookie cost. He was just looking at sugary goodness. Free sugary goodness. And I wasn't about to sit there and let this rodent injustice happen to me.
So I jumped up and chased that squirrel down.
That's right. I charged after that teeny pest in an attempt to retrieve my treat, looking like a lunatic as I zigged and zagged all over the lawn.
I finally caught up to the crook, then pried the cookie from the squirrel's fangs in a manner that would almost make me consider a career in wrestling. Seriously? Did this squirrel have pit bull lineage?
Having taken back what was rightfully mine, I proudly walked back to my spot, feeling accomplished and ready to take on the world. Take that, Squirrel! No one messes with a woman and her chocolate!
I was seated for all of three seconds when that sucker scurried over to me and tried to recoup his loss. At first, he tried begging. I tried to verbally ration with him.
It was the most insane argument I've ever had in my life.
When I didn't give in, he lunged for me. One minute he was sitting on his haunches, pleading for me to share, and the next, he was in my lap. I held the cookie high above my head, out his of reach, and before I knew it, the squirrel scrambled up my torso and lurched for the cookie.
I'm going to pause for a sec and let that image sink in.
As a freaking tree.
But I held strong. I wasn't about to let this flea-ridden dirt bag make off with my cookie, and after swatting him repeatedly with my nearby blue book, the squirrel got the hint and darted away.
Feeling content, I started to unwrap my prize when I realized something.
I was left with a cookie that a squirrel had sunk its teeth in to.
There was no way in hell I could eat that tainted cookie. Unless I wanted to cap off my hard won tug-of-war with a trip to the health center.
Still, winning that battle was a defining moment in my undergraduate career. It showed me that I could be persistent. It showed me that I could stand up for myself. It showed me that I have some serious issues with sweets.
And just to be sure I taught that squirrel a lesson, instead of throwing it away, I took that cookie with me.