Many of you have read Breda’s inspirational post on will-to-live and self-defense. If you haven’t, go read it now. (But please come back!)
This, alas, is not so grand nor noble a story. In fact, it’s kind of embarrassing. But those are the stories you like best, aren’t they?
Many years ago, when I was young and innocent (snort), I lived in an apartment that we now call The Hobbit Hole. The Hobbit Hole was a basement apartment in a house chopped up into several units; the washer-and-dryer were in a common room, accessed through a door in my bedroom; it was always kick in the butt when loud, chatty people decided to do laundry early on Saturday mornings (hiss). The ceilings were just over six feet; I’m 5′ 3″ and I could easily reach the ceiling standing flat-footed. Worst of all, as The Hobbit Hole was a basement apartment it was prone to house centipedes. I’ve posted pix of those before. (Nasty, skittering, creepy-crawly leggy disgusting little beasts . . . Excuse me while I go off and cry for a bit . . .)
To top off the many charms of my very first apartment, it was owned by a guy named Slumlord Jim. This charming piece of work had that unmistakable distilled flavor of a used car dealer; every time I talked to him I had a feverish urge to scrub my hands with bleach and hot water. Nothing EVER got done on time; he was incredibly disorganized and, also, didn’t give a sh*t about his tenants. He would assure me greasily that he’d get my plumbing fixed, oh, absolutely, I’ll call the guy tomorrow, of course . . . and we’d repeat that cycle every week for a month or so before I saw a plumber. He once asked me to send him a replacement check for a month’s rent that he hadn’t received; when I did, he then tried to cash BOTH checks. (Luckily, I’d stopped the first check before sending the second. His excuse was that he’d intended to cash both checks and then tell me not to send a check for the NEXT month’s rent. Dude, my first apartment and my first job; do you think I had an extra month’s-worth of rent just sitting around in my checking account? Not freaking likely!)
So, these were the circumstances under which I lived. And you know what? It was really okay. I lived two blocks from a police station, so it was a safe neighborhood; I had my own garage, so I didn’t have to shovel out my car during the winter; and the rent was $620 a month, including utilities. It was a very good deal and a wise choice for my first apartment. I’m not complaining; I’m just laying out the atmosphere.
Because without knowing the background, you might assume that, if my apartment had a family of mice move in, that it would be the landlord’s problem to deal with. You might assume that he would quickly exterminate the little pests, since it was in his interests at least as much as mine. Of course, we all know what happens when you assume.
You might also assume that, being a devoted cat-lover and shameless cat-blogger, that my cat would take care of the problem for me. Sadly, that was not the case; I did indeed have a cat, but poor little Jolie was just getting sick. (She died about two weeks later, of FIP. She was five months old. She was a good kitty.)
So it fell to me to rid myself of the little buggers. A disclaimer: I am not at all fond of mice or rats. I’ve seen people that keep rats as pets; I’ve got no problem with that. But I volunteered for two years at the Carolina Raptor Center; any initial fondness I may have had for rodents (and that’s iffy, y’all) was drummed out of me RIGHT quick. (“Let’s see . . . 24 red-tailed hawks . . . each hawk needs 1/3 of a rat, to be chopped apart with dull scissors and the innards dosed with meds . . . “)
To get right to the point . . . I set out glue traps, and I caught a mouse. A fat little brown-furred mouse.
I stared at the mouse. The mouse stared back.
“Oh, sh*t. NOW what?”
Now, I’m not COMPLETELY without compassion when it comes to nasty rodent-things. I have a friend who, when he caught mice in glue traps, used to just toss the trap, with its live mouse, into the garbage. I didn’t want the mouse to suffer like that, but I was so NOT going to bonk it on the head. (My hand-to-eye coordination is BEYOND terrible; without a doubt, I would have broken a finger, cut myself open and just grazed the mouse. I’m not kidding.)
As I muttered feeble euthanasia plans to myself, I tried to make the mouse more comfortable. I gingerly picked up the trap and placed it in a Ziploc disposable plastic container. I then cut a large slab of cheddar cheese and placed it close to the mouse so that it could have a last meal. Stupidly, I even tried to pet it a little.
And that mouse reared up and bit the ever-living SH*T out of my thumb.
Sorry, mouse-lovers, but no happily-ever-after was in store for the mouse. After discarding a number of hare-brained plans, I put the cover on the container and suffocated the little creature. I like to think that she passed away full of cheddar and righteousness; she took a bit of my blood with her, after all. As Breda pointed out, that’s more than some human victims manage.
JENNY: “So, you called the doctor, right?”
ME: “No, why?”
JENNY: “Lissa . . . you got bit by a MOUSE. That eats GARBAGE and probably lives in a SEWER. You need a tetanus shot.”
ME: “Dude, I washed it out with soap and water. Isn’t that good enough?”
JENNY: “Um . . . . NO. Why, NO, it’s not. GO TO THE F*CKING DOCTOR ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!?”
ME: “Oh. Okay.”
And a note for the ladies below, in white; highlight to read. (But ONLY if you’re a girl.)
I had a physical last week and was able to tell the doc the exact month in which I last had a tetanus shot, thanks to the story above. The physical also included a pap smear. The next time I hear a guy complain about the “turn-your-head-and-cough” routine, I’m going to kick him squarely in the crotch.