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March 17, 1994 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-17

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, March 17, 1994 - 3

No guarantees: i
Wouldn't life be great if it came with a guarantee? If it
did you can bet I would have been student council president
in high school. I wouldn't be worried about finding a
ummer job. And it wouldn't matter how much, or how
little, I studied
for an exam. It
JESSIE A A A wouldn't matter
because I could
4 just exchange or
return all the
little things in life
that don't meet
my expectations.
Think about it. It would bejust like when I was a little
kid and I didn't make the right play in the game and would
yell, "Do over!" If life came with a guarantee, I could yell
"Do over!" whenever I wanted.
And with this guarantee l could always be assured that
my heart wouldn't get broken.
A friend recently told me about how scared he was about
this new relationship he was getting involved in. Appar-
ently, he hadjust started seeing this woman and was already
pretty interested in her and he thought it might be getting
serious. The problem was that he didn't know if that was
*what he wanted.
He was concerned about moving forward for fear of
breaking this woman's heart, or more likely, getting hurt
himself. He was asking fora guarantee.
We talked for a long time late one night / early one
e morning about what having a guarantee would mean. He
siid that it would mean that no matter what he did she wasn't
going to get hurt. I assured him that she would not be able to
promise him she wouldn't be hurt. There's always that
chance in any kind of emotional relationship. Again he
{wanted a guarantee.
And there is nothing that puts the lack of life-guarantees
in perspective like a funeral. Last week, former Daily photo
editor, Kristoffer Gillette, passed away in his sleep at the age
of 23. All of us who knew him were shocked and surprised

WEEKEN
life, all sales final K
that such a thing had happened. For days I searched for a
reason for why such ayoung, talented person would be taken
away before he had really gotten started. And as I sat
tearfully at his funeral, I kept thinking, "Life just doesn't
give us a guarantee."
There is no clause that says that we will live to a ripe old
age and be blissfully happy. There is no place to exchange
all those things in our lives that didn't meet our expectations.
There is just no telling what the next day might bring.
But if we keep sitting around waiting for life to offer us
some kind of guarantee that we are going to be happy in
relationships or live to see old age, we are going to miss
out on a lot.
Wearegoingtomissthethrillofgoingoutwith someone
new and exciting for fear that it will end in disaster. We will
spend too much time wondering what the next few months
of our lives will bring, instead of figuring out how to spend
the day we have in front of us.

There is no clause that says that
we will live to a ripe old age and be
blissfully happy. There is no place to
exchange all those things in our
lives that didn't meet our
expectations.
And the fact is, that if everything in our lives went
according to how we wanted it to go, we wouldn't
appreciate the good things we are given. We can't possibly
understand what joy is if we don't comprehend sorrow.
If life could give us a guarantee, it would certainly be a
lot easier, but we probably wouldn't enjoy it as much.
Because at the end of every day we would know exactly
what was going to happen next, and how fun would that be?
We have to learn to take risks, to expect the unexpected and
learn how to move on after the unexpected happens.

The Dave Matthews Band (left to right): Carter Beautord, Matthews, Leroi Moore, Stefan Lessard and Boyd Tinsley.

Squirrels will soon take over the planet

y BRIAN S. GRANT
Shall the squirrels supplant us?
Sounds a bit like paranoia, doesn't
it? How could these harmless, innocent
animals possibly replace us on the evo-
lutionary scale? It's impossible! Squir-
rels are passive. They eat nuts, live in
their trees and avoid the human world
We have nothing to worry about.
Perhaps. However, maybe we
should examine our fine, fuzzy "friend"
further before dismissing them as
merely stupid and content creatures.
Sciurus carolinensis and Sciurus
niger (the gray and fox squirrels) are
two examples of what are commonly
called "ground squirrels." Measuring
an average of 25 centimeters long,
these squirrels are all over North
America. However, these are only
two of the over 225 species of squirrel
that exist around the world. They range
from the African pygmy squirrel,
measuring a meager 10 cm at best, all
the way up to the giant squirrels of
Asia, reaching possibly three feet in
length. Hell, some species can even
fly. Think about that.
Nevertheless, despite the obvious
diversity of these animals, most people
tend to group squirrels into one of two
*categories: rural or urban. The reason
for this is simple: city squirrels
(including suburbs and universities)
act extremely different than their rustic
,cousins. While country squirrels can
scurry around trees so cleverly that
predators don't even know where they
went, urban ones have been known to
watch television, listen to music and
even wait for traffic to stop before
crossing the street. In a world made as
much of concrete as wood, with as
many buildings as trees, they have been
forced to adapt to a new way of life -
one surrounded by humanity and all
its trappings and designs. And adapt
# they have!
Although agray squirrel has a fond-
ness for nuts (especially acorns, hickory
nuts and walnuts), its stomach has ad-
j usted to berries and bugs, birdseed and
bagels, even popcorn and cough drops.
In fact, they have even developed a
preference for "human" foods.A couple
years ago, the Joint Cooperative would
leave bits of granola out on the kitchen
window ledge. The squirrels were
grateful, but hardly content. They

began to ignore the granola, entering
the kitchen to get at the good stuff.
One was even discovered on a
newspaper, either reading itorpeeing
on it. Eventually, Ernie the Bug-Man
was called in to deal with the problem.
However, outofhiselement, Ernie was
unable to halt the invasion short of
using the storm screen for the windows
(even though it was summer). The squir-
rels had won the battle, but lost the war,
and stood outside the window for weeks
in angry resentment. Hell hath no fury
like a squirrel scorned!
And squirrels aren't as dumb as
we'd like to believe. For centuries,
naturalists had wondered if, and how,
a squirrel remembers where it buries
its food. Some claimed that they
didn't. However, two biologists from
Princeton University uncovered
convincing evidence that squirrels, in
fact, have good powers of recall and
use a "mental map" to guide them to
their caches of food.
We also may owemore to the squir-
rels than we originally suspected. Ac-
cording to a naturalist, the North Ameri-
can forestsowe theirexistence, in part,
to the gray squirrel. Of the thousands of
nuts hidden by each squirrel every year,
some are usually left unused and often
go on to become trees. Furthermore,

the American Revolution may have
been won with the aid of squirrels.
Because they made for such difficult
targets forearly American hunters, these
hunters became some of the best sharp-
shooters in the world; it was the
militiaman with his rifle that played a
key role in winning that war.
In short, there are more to these
creatures than meets the eye. These
urban squirrels have easily adapted to
our human world, and shall continue
to do so. Where will this lead? Where
will it end?
They're watching us. Eating our
food. Climbing our buildings. Walk-
ing our streets. They're probably even
reading our books when the libraries
close. Either that, or they're pissing in
them. Needless to say, the point is that
they're learning, and they'relearning
fast. And the scary thing is that they're
learning OUR habits, our way of life.
It's been said that a New York game
warden tamed a squirrel that would sit
on his shoulder and watch television; it
particularly liked professional wres-
tling. So what shall they become in 10
generations? 100 generations? Only
time will tell.
However, given the shorter lifespan
of a squirrel, that may be sooner than
we think. Now, think about THAT.

Band ma]
By TOM ERLEWINE
With the deluge of blues-based
improvistory rock groups, the Dave
Matthews Band comes as breath of
fresh air. At first glance, they seem to
fall in the same category as all the rest
- after all, they also have a strong
following, based solely on their long
club shows that freely flow from genre
to genre, including healthy doses of
pop, jazz, folk, rock and various
African and South American rhythms.
Considering the band members
backgrounds, that musical richness
comes as no surprise.
"LeRoi Moore played sax at the
bar that I used to live in and work in,"
recalled David Matthews, "then we
got to be friends there. This was about
five years before I even really knew I
had any aspirations to play music.
(Bassist) Stefan Lessard and I met in
that bar, too." What all these musicians
had in common - including drummer
CarterBeauford but with the exception
of classically-trained violinist Boyd
Tinsley - was that they were
experienced jazz players, something
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kes it up~
that Matthews had no experience with.
"People say, 'Do you call it jazz'?"'he
explained, "and I'm like, 'Well, I've
never played jazz in my life so I
couldn't call it jazz.' We have an
element of that but I think that is
brought in by the guys that have played
jazz before. And I love that, but
couldn't even pretend to have my
head plugged into that knowledge -
I don't know jazz. I know I like it but
I don't know about it and I know I can
dig it, but I can't dig into it that long.
That element is brought in by those
guys, but my songs are very major
key / minor key, simple, straight-
forward pop songs-easy, easy ,easy.
These guys bring in an angle that

ts they go

really throws somethingI
it."

twisted into

While the Dave Matthews Band
often features long instrumental
sections, the leader himself hasn't
stepped into the spotlight that often.
"I'm pretty terrified of it," he admitted.
"ButI've been venturing into (soloing)
a little more lately and having quite a
lot of fun with it too. But mainly I hide
out behind the words." And behind
those words are some dynamic pop
songs that have slowly been gathering
quite a following across the country.
"Pretty much for the last two years
we've been on the road," explained
Matthews. "In the beginning we were
See BAND, Page 5

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