The rise of the chipmunks and the apocalypse

Joe Pisani bemoans the endless cycle of shoveling snow.

Joe Pisani bemoans the endless cycle of shoveling snow.

Joe Pisani /

There’s a story going around our neighborhood that has incited fear in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls, cats and dogs, even hamsters and gerbils. Especially hamsters and gerbils, and possibly parakeets. A story of biblical proportions.

Let me start at the beginning. A kindly lady was gardening in her backyard when she raised her head from the petunia bed and saw “a BIG black snake staring at her.”

The imprecise nature of the word “BIG” has always troubled me. Whenever my daughters screamed, “There’s a BIG spider in the bathroom!” I’d rush to the garage and grab a tire iron or a sledge hammer, only to discover all I needed was a Kleenex. I’m always suspicious when someone describes something as “BIG” ... especially when it refers to my raise.

But back to the story. The snake wasn’t slithering on the ground. That would have been normal enough, but as you know, we’re living in the “new abnormal.”

It was rising in the air, staring at her. She was scared out of her wits because she expected the serpent would start talking or offer her an apple, so she ran into the house. OK, maybe I exaggerated a little with that last part, but the snake did rise and start swaying. All this had a lot of troubling similarities to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. If you’re not familiar with that story, get out your Bible and turn to Genesis.

She rushed to her neighbor, who raises chickens and I suspect has a ferret running around his living room and maybe a boa constrictor in his bedroom. He explained that snakes are coming out of the woods this season to feast on the large chipmunk population.

Do you still have the Bible handy? Remember Moses and Pharaoh? First it was the fire ants and then it was fleas and frogs and pretty soon the chipmunks invaded Egypt ... or something like that.

This next part is The Truth, absolutely no exaggeration when I say we probably have 200 chipmunks frolicking in our yard, burrowing in gardens, pillaging bird feeders, drinking from bird baths, tearing up the lawn and sneaking into the garage. They’re digging holes everywhere. Send in the snakes, I say.

I wanted to grab my BB gun and plug a few, but my wife and daughters — the same ones who begged me to squash spiders — pleaded with me, “Ohhh, they’re sooo cute!” (To me, the word “cute” is as meaningless as the word “big.”)

It’s difficult putting an end to creatures who rise on their haunches and look at you with the cuddliness of Alvin and his buddies singing, “Christmas, Don’t Be Late” or those Disney characters Chip and Dale. Anyway, I had to do something because there were too many for Havahart traps to control.

It seemed like a 21st Century reinterpretation of the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston, where frogs came out to eat the flies, and Yul Brynner gets really grumpy. But why was this happening to us? We’re not even Egyptian. We’re Italian.

Needless to say, these events struck fear in the hearts of man, woman and beast, and some families were considering leaving for Manhattan, but things aren’t exactly great there, so they may choose Stamford or Bridgeport. Any place without chipmunks.

The last straw was when I went outside and saw a BIG pile of dirt, and a CUTE chipmunk peaked out of the hole. He looked like he’d been tunneling to China on a spy mission for President Trump. When he poked his dirty little head out and grinned, I wanted to scream, “ALVINNN!” I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore so I bought spray repellent, pellets, and sonic devices.

If you still have your Bible out, turn to the Book of Revelation. You’ve heard of the Apocalypse? You’ve heard of the Zombie Apocalypse when the living dead come back, and Robocalypse when robots will rule us, but have you heard of the Chipmunk Apocalypse? It’s here!

Joe Pisani can be reached at