Once upon a time, when I was in outside sales in Michigan, I had an appointment in a little town out in the middle of nowhere. I'd never been there before so I looked at a map and took what I thought would be the most direct route. And it really did take me through some pretty country. Pretty, but lonely - which I am totally cool with.
Anyway, there I am, driving down this straight highway with no one else around when I see ahead in the distance at the top of a small rise, a squirrel sitting on his hind legs staring across the road. I remember thinking that at some point as I got closer, he would run across the highway or run back into the ditch. He didn't. He just kept sitting there, looking east in the perfect squirrel pose.
When I approached the point where he couldn't run across the highway without getting flat, I still figured he'd save himself.
As my front tires passed him, and I could no longer see him, I assumed he'd skittered off. I mean, squirrels have a healthy sense of self-preservation... Or so I thought.
Until then my back passenger tire made a soft thud.
In the rearview, I saw him laying on the side of the road - not moving. Mr. Squirrel had indeed committed suicide by car.
I can only assume he decided enough was enough. He'd had it with a life of gathering nuts and hiding them only to discover he could never find them again. He'd reached a point where he couldn't stand one more day of endless running around, eating acorns, and chasing other squirrels. As he stood there beside the road, I wonder if he was thinking 'the very next car that comes by, I'm ending it', and I just happened to be the next car.
I felt really really bad about hitting that squirrel that day. Since then, I've come to terms with it. In the end, there really wasn't anything I could do. I couldn't swerve because he wasn't in the road until the middle of my car. There was no way to anticipate he would do that. One cannot discern the mindset of a normal squirrel on any given day, let alone a suicidal squirrel on a gray Monday morning.
Fear not, Suicide Squirrel. You will live on in my memory. Enjoy your eternity in the big oak tree in the sky.
I just wish you hadn't been such a little asshole and picked my car to run under. Seriously, I felt really bad about it.