Thing about politics is that it's never too...

A WONDERFUL

February 20, 1993

A WONDERFUL thing about politics is that it's never too early to speculate.

What are we to make about a big advertisement first-term City Comptroller Jacqueline McLean ran in the Baltimore Times recently, for example?

The ad congratulated the African-American community on the occasion of Black History Month. Underneath her picture, Ms. McLean was identified as Maryland State Comptroller.

Everyone knows that Louis Goldstein -- God bless him real good -- has occupied that post for as long as most of us remember. Is Ms. McLean after his job?

* * *

WE KNOW a family that recently returned from their two-week vacation and found an unexpected guest occupying their house. When they opened their front door, they were confronted by a squirrel basking in the living room enjoying the late afternoon sun that streams through the windows.

Apparently the squirrel had made himself at home and was quite surprised that the owners of the house would return. He scurried up the stairs to the master bedroom on the second floor. He made an unsuccessful attempt to jump out a closed window -- the one that had the best view of the red maple in the back yard. He then fled to the bed, where he had made a nest of sorts in the pillows and comforter.

Meanwhile, downstairs, the lady of the house was running around frantically saying, "Oh my God, there is a squirrel in the house. How are we going to get him out. Should I call the police?"

Armed with a golf club, the man of the house returned to the master bedroom and opened the window the squirrel earlier had tried to leap through. With the cold winter air streaming into the bedroom, the squirrel decided to leave his nest on the bed and take refuge beneath it. A few taps of the golf club on the floor beneath the bed and the squirrel sped across the floor to the open window.

Perched on the edge of the window sill, it looked as if he was gauging whether he could leap to a branch of the red maple tree. However, with the human getting closer, he thought it was wise not to delay. He leaped, hit the flagstone patio 20 feet below and scampered off into the bushes of the backyard.

The owners of the house then sheepishly closed the fireplace flue, which they neglected to do when they had left the house. They got out the vacuum to clean up the tiny squirrel droppings that he left around the house. They also stripped the bed and washed all the pillow cases and sheets. While the squirrel was the messiest houseguest the family had seen, he could have been worse. Unlike an earlier houseguest, also of the rodent family, he didn't eat any of the breakfast cereals that were sitting in boxes on the counters in the kitchen.

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