Into the mind of a mouse

January 28, 1994|By Kevin Cowherd

If you ask me, mice are the dumbest animals God ever put on the planet.

Every night, I bait a couple of mousetraps with cheese and set them in the cabinet under our kitchen sink.

And every morning when I check the traps, there's some poor mouse stretched out stiff as a board.

The cabinet has become a veritable killing field, is what I'm saying.

Now, you'd think this would scare the other mice away.

You'd think the word would have gotten around in the mouse community that this cabinet is no place to be if you want to see your next birthday.

But apparently they keep pouring into the place at night like there's some kind of mouse Happy Hour going on.

This is something I could never understand. It defies all laws of logic.

Let's say you're a mouse, OK? Part of a little mouse family or whatever. And you live in a nice place, a four-inch crawl space tucked between two pieces of Sheetrock in somebody's kitchen.

It's warm, there's a plentiful food supply within walking distance. Life is good.

Now let's say you wake up one morning and you look around for your brother Buddy, and someone says: "Oh, Buddy didn't come home last night. He smelled cheese in that cabinet over there and went looking. Haven't seen him since."

So you just shrug and go about your day, figuring Buddy got lost or something, took a wrong turn by the garbage can.

Heck, you know Buddy. He always gets lost.

Then the next morning you wake up and look around for your sister Florence, and someone says: "Flo? Haven't seen her. Last I heard, she smelled cheese and went looking in that cabinet over there."

Then the next day your brother Richie is missing, and the day after that it's the twins, Debbi and Dyan, and then finally it's Arnold, the baby of the family.

And all of them apparently smelled cheese and went looking in that same cabinet.

So here you are, an only mouse. It's just you and Mom and Dad.

Now I ask you: Wouldn't you avoid that cabinet?

I mean, knowing what you know, that something horrible in there has decimated most of your family, wouldn't you stay away?

And if you did get up enough nerve to check out the cabinet, wouldn't you stay away from any cheese?

Even if you didn't know what a mousetrap is, if you came upon a tiny piece of cheese on some wood and metal contraption, wouldn't you think: "Hmmm, Buddy was looking for cheese. So (( was Florence, Richie, the twins, Debbi and Dyan, and Arnold. And none of them are around anymore.

"Maybe I should just turn around and get out of here."

Look, I don't care how much you like cheese.

If I'm a mouse and I find out six members of my family have been wiped out while looking for cheese, I'm changing my diet.

In fact, I'm dropping dairy products altogether, maybe adding some greens or fiber or something.

But these stupid mice, all they care about is cheese, cheese, cheese. And they're getting themselves killed over it.

I'll tell you something about catching mice, though. If you're serious about it, there's only one way to go: with an old-fashioned mousetrap.

Forget about those "humane" traps, where the mouse is supposedly captured alive so you can release him in the back yard.

First of all, they hardly ever work. Yeah, mice are pretty dumb. But not dumb enough to waltz into a little box that looks like a miniature Days Inn with a chunk of cheese in the lobby.

Even if you do capture the mouse and release him in the back yard, guess what? He'll just make his way right back to your house.

In fact, he might beat you back to the house, since he knows all these shortcuts through pipes and walls and things.

And this time, he could show up with four buddies and 16 pieces of Samsonite luggage.

I'd also avoid those glue-pad mousetraps, unless you're the type who enjoys picking off frogs with a .22.

Look, I have nothing personal against mice. I just don't want them in my house. But I don't want to see them suffer.

Besides, if you ask me, the old-fashioned traps are hard enough on a mouse.

Imagine being a mouse, OK? You're just about to chow down on this delicious piece of cheese. And the last thing you hear before the lights go out is this metal bar whizzing at your head.

That's got to be rough.

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