Thursday, March 29, 2007

War on Mice

Diary entry, March 25, 2007

You can just forget about Mickie, Minnie, Reepicheep, Jerry, Despereaux Tilling, and Stuart Little. Mice are evil. They are inherently, intrinsically, irretrievably evil. They aren't going to save the world, they don't wear clothes, and they don't fall in love. They don't talk, they aren't cute, and they don't paddle canoes.

My compliments to Walt Disney, E.B. White, and Kate DiCamillo, but you all were really wrong. Really, really, wrong. Even C.S. Lewis got it wrong here. Sorry, folks. Welcome to the real world. You were destined to find out sooner or later.

The fact, as I said, is that mice are evil. And the forces of evil have a certain little tendency that I'd like to tell you about. They like to portray themselves as cute and cuddly and sweet and lovable. They want to appear on your silver screen and work their way into your unsuspecting heart and captivate you. They want to make you think that they are like you. They want to be your friend.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am no friend to evil, C.S. Lewis or not.

My experiences with the species Mus musculus began at a very early age. I may have lived in Orlando and I may have gone to Disney World, but Mickie and Minnie never succeeded in worming their way into my heart.

You can't say they didn't try, though. Knowing that I was destined to become a woman who loathed evil in all its forms, they worked relentlessly to sabotage my sense of decency. Andrew and I used to find them in plastic form, fully clothed and smiling, at the very bottom of our Rice Crispy box during breakfast. Sure, we used to argue over who got to keep them, but I never let my guard down. The only nice thing about Minnie was that she wore a pink dress and had a bow in her hair. Come to think of it, it was a very short pink dress.

Speaking of plastic form, isn't it interesting how all that body hair disappears when mice make media appearances? I always found that fact very revealing (no pun intended) of the true character of mice. Evil likes to cover its ugliness with something attractive.

But back to the history of me and mice (proper grammar protocol would dictate that I say 'mice and I', but my sense of dignity prevents my placing the name of mus musculus before my own). It's a very interesting story. Come to think of it, I am a rather interesting person, but that's another story for another time. Interesting has its downfalls, you know.

I was lying across my bed at 5 AM this morning, trying to convince myself that I wanted to put my feet on the cold floor and start the day. I was mumbling to myself about the things I had to do, the places I had to go, the people I had to meet, and the evil I had to fight, when the very impersonation of evil itself scurried across my threshhold. Yes, a mouse.

I stared, horrified, at the whiskered felon who was sniffing the tile only a few feet away. My mouth went dry and my toes curled under my feet and my heart skipped a beat and the clock stopped ticking (to tell you the truth, it hadn't been ticking previously). I blinked and swallowed, then clenched my fist and pounded my quilt. The evil omen squeezed himself under the door and pattered away.

I hate mice. I can live with cockroaches and and crickets and ticks and chiggers and flies if I must, but not mice. If spiders were mankind's greatest nemesis, I would be superwoman. I've done battle with ferocious canines and attacking roosters and bolting cows and bucking horses and uncooperative goats and poisonous snakes and insane cats. I'm a country girl. But I don't do mice.

I swallowed hard and reflected on the terrible truth that a mouse had just entered my hallowed chambers and emerged unscathed. I bit my lip and wondered what else had been roaming my room during the night. For an entire 15 minutes, unable to move a muscle, I reflected on the entire history of conflict between myself and the evil force we refer to as mice......

My first impressions of mice were formed at a very early age. Like most children, I had passionate thirst for knowledge, and, like most mothers, my dear mother took advantage of me.

It happened like this. My mother, beset with toddlers who had not yet acquired an appreciation for standard practices of hygiene, sat my brother and I down and told us about the Bubonic Plague. The Bubonic Plague (also known as the Black Death or the Black Plague) was a terrible thing that happened in Europe a long, long time ago (the 1340's and beyond, to be exact). It was a sickness that was spread by mice and rats, and the only way to keep from dying was to wash your hands 100 times every day and take the yucky-tasting vitamins you were supposed to take. Because the Europeans weren't smart enough to do that, most of them died, and the mice ate them. We might get the plague too, if we weren't good little children, and didn't wash our hands...or something like that.

And so, from a very young age, I had the privilege of knowing the truth about mice (thanks, Mom!). Mickey and Minnie never stole my heart. The pet store never fooled me. I never watched Tom and Jerry. The Tale of Despereaux made me sick. A mouse falling in love with a little girl? They called this a classic? Children read this in school? Sorry, Miss DiCamillo. This was worse than Stuart Little. This was worse than Winnie the Pooh!

.....But that was then. This, believe it or not, was now.

I finally mustered the courage to touch the infected floor with my bare foot. I stepped out of bed gingerly. After checking under the bed, I got ready for the day, though with extreme caution.

Finally, I was ready to head upstairs. Normally, I walk all the way upstairs in complete darkness at a brisk pace, the result of many years of trial and error and several bumps into walls. This time was different.

I opened my door as wide as it would open to allow the light to shine into the hallway. After peering intently into the darkness, I ventured slowly out into the hallway, stomping my feet to scare away any intruders. Fyi, bare feet on a cement floor don't make a very frightening sound, but I certainly tried. I reached the end of the hallway and flipped on the light switch. The hall was empty. To be safe, however, I made a dash back to my room.

I reached safety and turned around to see if the light of our energy-efficient lightbulb (Al Gore would be proud) would reveal anything else. Suddenly feeling afraid, I only stuck the very tip of my nose out into the hall.

There was a mouse in the middle of the hallway!

The inevitable occurred.

I screamed.

The mouse ran toward me, then made a left turn into the office.

I screamed again, grabbed my Bible, and dashed upstairs before I had time to chicken out.

The response was immediate. Dad stepped out of his room, blinking and rubbing his eyes.

"What's the matter?"

"There's a mouse in the office!"

And then, just like the hero that he is, he dutifully set a mousetrap in the office. Although he did remark, "Sarah, you don't have to turn on every light in the house."

Oops. Sorry, Mr. Gore.

He went back to bed, while I settled down to read. The minute I sat down, I knew I had forgotten something.

I had to go downstairs again!

So I braced myself and made a run for it. At the bottom of the stairs, I turned on the light and stuck the tip of my nose out into the hallway again to check for my little attacker.

He was sitting in front of my bedroom door!

Not again! He was peering into my room, as though trying to decide if I was there or not. I sucked in a breath of air. He jumped and began running towards me. Just short of where I stood, he dashed under the office door and disappeared.

I swallowed my fears and retrieved the necessary item from my room. Back upstairs again, I sat down at the table and opened my Bible, but not before realizing that my trip downstairs had been completely useless - I didn't need the item after all!

I opened my Bible with a sigh, ready for inspiration. I can't think of a time when I haven't found at least one thing in my morning reading that particularly inspired me. This time, I was looking for something that would address the morning's challenges.

"Therefore leaving the elementary teaching....let us press on to maturity, not...of instruction about washings...of hands...."

I was horrified. What? I always thought it was 'wash your hands or perish'!

Let us press on to maturity? But of course! Fight evil. Fight mice. I could see it now, Mr. Churchill himself....

"Never, never, never give in!....Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the mice and all the odious apparatus of rodent rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in America, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Continent, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Continent or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our friends beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the American Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old....."

And so I have reached a conclusion. The problem of mice is intolerable. It is atrocious. It is unsufferable. We must fight. We must never, never give in. They have already infiltrated the media and the movies. Now they have invaded my house. They are not cute. They are not cuddly. They don't talk. They will not save the world. Only we can do that now.

Who will join me? Who will band together to save the continent from the utter tyranny that mus musculus are intent on subjugating us to?

Oh, and did I mention? You all will be doing all the fighting without me.


Abigail said...

Sarah, I admire your courage to stand up against this particular 'form of evil' and I apologize for ever introducing you to 'The Tale of Despereaux', but the whole paragraph about you being a country girl .... is very unaccurate.

Oh yes, I do need to mention, the first step here is for us to get a cat. Totally!

Yoni said...

Hahahahah ... that's hilarious! I hate mice, okay, that's an understatment. i absolutely abhore and detest those little furry creatures that used to share MY home back when I was 7. (btw, I was a country girl too, and we DID have goats, cows, tons of chickens, dogs, cats (only one of our cats would eat the mice, the other ones were afraid of mice :D) and a host of other animals.)
So, I side with you there. but cartoons are okay ...
ttyl (hey, call me when u get a chance)

Anonymous said...

omg, yesterday i cleaned out an old shed and found two live mice and one dead. it was absolutely revolting and i totally sympathize with you