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I’m not a gopher, I’m not a woodchuck. I’m a beaver, let’s be clear. You couldn’t pay me to be a woodchuck. You think we live in a classless society? Wake up and smell the river.

Allow me to introduce myself, and forgive me if I seem a bit peeved. My name is Lewis. It’s nice to meet you, wish it were under better circumstances.

I guess you expected a name like Bucky. Bucky Beaver. That’s clever, isn't it. Maybe I'm more than a little peeved. Maybe I'm downright cranky. You’d be cranky too, if someone chased you through the woods.

You call it the woods, I call it my home. That’s where I live, in the woods. The place with all the trees and rocks. Sticks and grass. The place you clear to put up your houses.

It’ll be winter soon. I’d like to put up a house, myself. A lodge, in beaver-speak. Not like the lodge your uncle joined. We don’t drink highballs or wear funny hats. Lodges are serious business with beavers. The Mrs. and I will stay there all winter, assuming I get this thing finished.

Yes, I’m married. Yes, with children. Susan and I have three. You seem surprised. You’re right, I suppose. I’m not the handsomest guy on earth. I mean, I’m not Tony Danza. But Susan accepts me and we’ve done alright; that Tony Danza is handsome though, isn’t he. That show still on? It’s hard to keep up. You know what they say about beavers.

It’s a stereotype but it’s true, in a way. We really do stay busy. Just now, for instance. I’m gathering stuff to fix up the lodge—sticks and leaves and whatnot—Susan would have my head on a platter, I came back empty-handed—

and this girl walks by. She’s holding an iPhone. Just walks right through my grass and leaves. Oh look, she says, it’s a beaver! There’s a beaver in our backyard!

I’m thinking to myself, settle down there, little lady. I’ve seen a beaver or two in my day. It’s not all that exciting. She’s punching buttons on that iPhone like crazy. I run and she comes after me. She’s taking my picture, snapping away like I’m Tony Danza or something.

So you’ll excuse me if I seem cranky. If my tone is a little brusque. But I have a lodge to build before winter. I don’t have time for Ms. iPhone there, chasing me through the woods.

Through what she calls “her backyard”. Through what I call my home. Most of which has been cleared away, since people keep putting up houses.

I admit, I’m no Tony Danza. I’m not Bucky Beaver, either. I’m the largest rodent in North America, for all the good it does me. Ms. iPhone there walks right through my grass. Right through my leaves. Chases me out of my own backyard. A beaver, she says, like I wasn't here first; like I'm the outsider.