Repost: Of Mice and Memory

I have mouse issues.

Being a farm girl, you’d think the pesky buggers wouldn’t disgust me as much as they do.  I find them dirty and unpredictable.  I much prefer snakes or spiders.

When I was a little kid we lived in a farmhouse that was originally a log house.  Mice lived in the walls and at night they used to scratch and scuttle keeping me awake.  My sisters and I used to bang the walls with our little girl fists in order to scare them into stillness.

Once in awhile they’d make an appearance inside of a room.  Then dad would bring in our dog “Lady” or the cats and they’d take care of the pesky little problem for us … albeit in a gruesome and “executionatory” way.

Some days mom would ask me go outside to gather rainwater for her houseplants.  I’d put my foot in my black, red toed rubber boot, first tipping it upside down to make sure it didn’t hold any furry little surprises (my dad had once put his foot in his boot and was surprised to feel “something” that wasn’t supposed to be there.  He put his hand in to check it out and got brutally assaulted!  Ok, he was nipped, but still, I found it traumatic).  After confidently ascertaining that my footwear was indeed safe for donning, I’d go to the rain barrel just to see floating bloated bodies of the vermin.  I’d drop the watering can and run away in an attempt to suppress the gag reflex.

One year the mice were so bad they were cheekily stealing my mom’s bedding plants.  The lawn was riddled with bumps and burrows.  The cats had piles of corpses by the door as offerings to the family.  Mom had given explicit instructions that when we were mowing the lawn if we saw a mouse, we were to chase after it with the John Deer rider mower and not just run it over with the blade (she swore they ducked in the grass) but to nail them with the tire thereby ensuring their death.

But the most disturbing mouse story of all occurred one infamous, bleak, day in seventh grade.  I had a old. dark green locker where I obviously kept my textbooks, my binders, my jacket and …

…my lunch.

I used to pack my lunch in a paper lunch bag that was then placed in a plastic bread bag and then was secured in my knapsack THAT WAS HANGING ON A HOOK in the locker. One horrible afternoon, right after the lunch bell had rung, I innocently went to my locker, opened the creaking door, pulled my lunch from my knapsack and

horror,

oh the horror!!!

There it was.  A two-inch in circumference chewed through the plastic bag, through the paper bag then straight through the wax paper to the cheese and mayo sandwich that lay beneath.  This only meant one thing; the culprit could still be in the knapsack.  No junior high boy at the time was heroic enough to look for me so I had to dump the contents onto the floor of the hall and look for myself.

Speaking of heroes, at work we have mousetraps strategically placed throughout the office. One fine morning, the trap by the entrance was flipped over and one of the administrative assistances swore there was a tiny tail protruding from underneath.  Thank God for the Head of Maintenance.  A true hero.  He came to our rescue in his superhero suit consisting of work gloves and black plastic bag.

Our relief was short lived when we realized that an empty trap meant…

…they were still out there.  Free to roam around and wreck havoc.

Seriously though, what purpose do mice serve other than as part of the food chain? Keeping carnivores satiated when big game is scarce?

It think my repulsion comes from their unpredictability. They show up when you least expect them, or evidence of them does shows up.  And lets face it; little dark droppings or a half nibbled sandwich can be just as disturbing as an actual mouse sighting,  When you do spy them, they guiltily scurry away, and you KNOW they’ve been somewhere they shouldn’t have been. They have the propensity to surprise and not in a good way. They look the liar.  They scuttle away head averted, eyes down, not that they’re humble or frightened, but rather conniving and thieving.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a good mouse experience other than seeing them being used as snake bait.

I feel really discriminatory about this.  It’s not like I view all vermin with such repulsion. Maybe an intervention is in order.

I’ll watch “An American Tail”, “Ratatouille” and  “Stuart Little” just to give the little buggers a chance to redeem themselves.

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