Skippy the rabid squirrel is coming to a town near you

Skippy the Rabid Squirrel's last known location.
Skippy the Rabid Squirrel’s last known whereabouts.
Everyone needs to get away sometimes. Even rabid squirrels. For those who noticed The Box was missing from last week’s line-up, there’s a good explanation for that — and you may or may not like it, depending on your proximity to a blogger named Kerbey at I Don’t Get It. That’s where Skippy was headed last Tuesday when, following my weekly cry of “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” he skittered out the newsroom door and hopped aboard a casino shuttle headed to the Eugene Airport.

As many of you know, Skippy is a crucial part of helping me make a weekly random selection from The Box, which contains dozens of submitted photos that have remained unclaimed and unidentified in our newsroom since the 1980s. To ensure impartiality, I wait until my fellow reporters are deep in thought (deleting all traces of inappropriate Google searches) before spreading the photos on our newsroom floor and releasing Skippy. The photo closest to the first person to scream is selected as our mystery photo.

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel in his natural habitat. Pretty much.
“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel in his natural habitat. Pretty much.

I then put my investigate journalism skills to the test by attempting to identify the image — but not before prying Skippy from the leg of one fellow reporter, named Jack, who insists on wearing corduroy pants. Skippy really, really likes the feel of corduroy.

As I mentioned, however, last Tuesday was different. At first I thought maybe it was because Skippy needed a break. Maybe it was a case of spring fever? Or maybe it was because Jack wore cargo shorts to work? It wasn’t until a I found an email requesting our assistance that I realized Skippy had gone to retrieve the following mystery photo from Kerbey.

Apparently, I need to explain to Skippy how emailing photos eliminates the need to physically retrieve them and, perhaps more importantly, can help avoid emergency landings by panicked flight crews.

I'm sorry ma'am, but male strippers don't take IOUs...
I’m sorry ma’am, but male strippers don’t take IOUs…

Because Kerbey is an accomplished investigator herself, she was able to offer an important clue: she was pretty sure the woman to the left of the woman holding the card is Rose Marie from The Dick VanDyke Show. And being a professional journalist, I believe her.


Even with that solid lead in place, many questions remained:

1) Why was a young Estelle Getty of The Golden Girls grabbing the wrist of the woman with the card?


2) Given that I was too young to be a male stripper at that time, why is everyone laughing?


3) Why did that man’s sideburns come back in style but not his sport coat?


4) Is it just me, or does the woman in the very back appear to be at a control panel aboard the Starship Enterprise?


Being an investigative journalist at Siuslaw News, it’s my job to do more than raise questions; I’m also responsible for making coffee. In addition, it’s also my job is to find answers to questions like those raised by this photo, and then explain my conclusions in a way that makes you forget I never actually left my desk. That said, based on my 15 years of journalistic experience and extensive research over the past 10 minutes, five of which was spent making more coffee in the break room, I feel confident with the following conclusion:

This photo was taken during a rehearsal for the original Star Trek pilot episode, when Rose Marie was playing the role of “Uhura” and “Spock” was supposed to be played by Estelle Getty — with the guy in the sideburns playing “Captain Kirk.” The sideburns was the only part of the pilot that made it into the final version of the show. The photo captures the exact moment everyone who was involved in the project realized what a huge mistake they were making. The woman in the glasses, in an effort to stop production, is preparing to rip up her SAG card as Estelle Getty attempts to stop her.

Rose Marie as "Uhura" should've been reason enough to stop production.
Rose Marie as “Uhura” should’ve been reason enough to stop production.

And there you have it. It all makes sense once the pieces are put into place. Just don’t think about it too long.

Do you have a mystery photo? Do you like rabid squirrels? Then I invite you to send yours to, (the photo, not a rabid squirrel) where you can rest assured I will get to the bottom of things. But please no photos of anyone wearing corduroy pants.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

30 thoughts on “Skippy the rabid squirrel is coming to a town near you”

  1. Nailed it. I laughed aloud at this one: “The photo captures the exact moment everyone who was involved in the project realized what a huge mistake they were making.” You also get a glimpse of how controlling Estelle Getty was, and not a lot of people talk about that. I don’t think that even a pink carnation could spiff up the new Captain Kirk’s look. I bet he smells like musk.

    1. I always had that feeling about Estelle Getty, even if she’d played “Dr. Spock.” Thanks so much for playing along with this, Kerbey. It was really fun, and I continue to marvel at the photos you dig up — and your commentary.

      Welp… it’s time to go slap on so more musk… 😉

  2. I love it!! I just laughed so hard here at the office! It’s a good thing most people are at lunch right now. Before you even mentioned anything about the photo, I too thought it was a naked man… not sure of whom, but of someone who might have have a few short comings, lol.
    I would like to put more of my two cents in but, I have to make coffee!! That’s right… I have that duty as well, only we here in sunny Miami drink Cuban coffee…. it’s really crack with a coffee look 😉

    1. “Short comings…”
      I’m really glad you stopped there!
      Cuban coffee that’s really crack that looks like coffee? That actually sounded really great (I like my coffee strong) until I tried describing it as “hot liquid crack.” Just doesn’t sound right like that.

      Enjoy your day, my fellow coffee maker, and I hope you get to laugh eve more 😉

  3. I’m no journalist, barely even a blogger these days, but isn’t that Edith from All in the Family playing the role of the SAG card ripping Klingon? I may be wrong, kind of doped up from the drugs the dr gave me for the bite i got from a suspicious squirrel skittering around with fragments of photographs in his blindfold.

  4. I hate to say this, but Skippy doesn’t look like a squirrel at all. Maybe an abominable beaver? Or is that what rabies does to squirrels?

    Estelle Getty FTW!

    1. The legitimacy of Skippy’s squirrel lineage has come up more than once, so you’re not alone on that. But I have to say “abominable beaver” is something I only heard once before — and I’d like to forget it ever happened.

      And no, it had nothing to do with Estelle Getty.

  5. I never EVER thought I’d have to say this, but….your investigative skills are slipping. Perhaps you’re slipping something into the coffee?
    Clearly you overlooked the one key player in this whole scenario. Who is the woman to the left of Rose Marie? Why is she there and what is she doing. Wait? Am I the only one who can see her? Did you slip something into my Mountain Dew???

    1. Lol! I guess I felt, since she had the crest of Gryffindor on her sweatshirt, that everyone recognized the young Ms. McGonnigall. Then again, I don’t drink Mountain Dew…

  6. Shhh! Don’t talk about crack coffee or our indominable Rob Ford will be on your doorstep in a flash. And you don’t want that – ask Ross. As to the photo – I’m a dyed in the wool Trekkie and I suspect your analysis is on point Ned. After years (read decades) of watching Star Trek, I finally saw the pilot one night and it more resembles your photo than it does the current Star Trek. I would posit that the show that was originally submitted for Network approval was precisely captured by your photo before it morphed ( I like that word – short, succinct and meaning-laden) into the pilot which then morphed into the current series with we are so familiar. Congratulations Ned on once again bring understanding and order to an otherwise confusing world. .

  7. This photo reminds me of my trip on a cruise ship. Hubby & I had stopped in to see some light afternoon entertainment. The cruise director was initiating a game where people who brought items to the stage the fastest would get a prize. When the cruise director asked for a woman’s bra, my husband grabbed my arm & held it in the air to show I intended to participate, then I quickly divested myself of said bra without removing my shirt & he was the fist one to the stage with my bra in his hand! I’ve long since forgotten what the prize was, but I remember how embarrassed I was!

No one is watching, I swear...

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