The British call it pancaking. Squirrels call it life enhancing. Others call it heat dumping. Most of the big dictionaries don’t define it, yet. However, it is thought to be of recent coinage, which is nice. Etymology is such a gas.
I, myself, stumbled across the term in, of all places, the Washington Post. Apparently, in our summer of climate change and blistering heat waves, there’s been an outbreak of squirrels sprawling out — face down, limbs outstretched, lying still —in New York City parks. So the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation took it upon themselves to issue a tweet, assuring us the squirrels are just ‘splooting’ — a practice of stretching out on cool surfaces to reduce their body heat.
Truth be told, all animals sploot. Dogs, cats, bears, even birds, although birds tend to perch and spread their wings, allowing cool air to flow through. There are, in fact, a number of splooting positions one can enjoy:
>> The Classic Sploot — one leg remains under the body, with the other leg kicked back.
>> The Side Sploot — one leg is tucked under the body, while kicking the other leg to the side.
>> The Full Sploot — all legs splayed in front of and behind the body in a full-body stretch.
It’s a relief to know this is a recognized condition and has a name, because I suffer from it. I do, I’m an accidental splooter. Of the sudden onset variety. My debility isn’t caused by hot weather, but by the withering revelations of espionage and treachery and assorted diabolical activities from a former White House resident who shall remain nameless. Let’s just call him Individual 1.
These gobsmacking announcements come out of nowhere and floor me, quite literally, leaving me spread-eagled, face down, and insensible in public venues. I’ve had to quit checking twitter as I wait in line or stand idly at intersections, libraries, fast food places, wherever. It’s embarrassing and dangerous to go full sploot among unwitting strangers.
So be alert for this possibility. Do not approach these victims, don’t call for security, don’t request medical assistance. But do check your own twitter account and prepare for a sudden, unexpected landing. This is not a warning, Sploot Season is very real. Good luck and proceed accordingly.
copyright © 2022 the whirly girl
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