There’s nothing like a couple of close friends to smack you down off your high horse.
Kerry, Bob and I were sitting around, sharing our dislike of household pests. Kerry and I agreed that spiders are evil incarnate and deserve all of our screeching and terror. Over the years I’ve mellowed enough to understand they have just as much right to the world as I do, they just don’t have a right to cross my threshold.
I don’t have a particular problem with mice. Growing up on a farm we had our fair share of them. I learned to enter the kitchen at night by first stomping my feet loudly and then turning on the light. Occasionally I’d see a little shadow darting away but I never climbed up on a table screaming in terror.
I’ve even had some close encounters with a snake or two. We once found one snoozing comfortably behind the encyclopedias in the bookcase. And, in fact, the other day I stopped my car in the road so a snake could safely travel to the other side.
And then, Kerry attempted to top my stories of Earth Mother by telling us that her Zen-like husband had recently corralled a spider the size of a toaster that was living inside the drain of their bathroom sink. He carefully carried it to the window and released it outside.
Not to be outdone in the Zen-like story department, I shared the following anecdote.
A few years ago my younger brother, Larry, and I rented a vacation home together. As we sat at the table eating breakfast, a disturbing rustling sound came from under the sink. We tiptoed over and with a long wooden spoon opened the cabinet door. There we saw a very live mouse fighting to free his feet from a sticky trap.
“Poor thing. He’ll starve to death,” I said. We stood staring at the struggling creature and then I said, “We’ll have to drown him.”
I continued sharing my heroic story with my friends by explaining that we got a trash can and filled it with water and then picked up the little mouse and dropped him in. Unfortunately he landed in such a way that the sticky trap acted like a raft and he bobbed around on top of the water while Larry and I squealed stood quietly assessing the situation. “We’re going to have to hold him under water,” I said. And we did.
This is where I looked around the room expecting praise from my friends for my strength of character to put this poor little mouse out of its misery. Instead they shouted their horror at my cruel behavior. “But, what would you have done?” I asked.
“Step on him,” Bob said.
Step on him? How is that better than drowning him?
“Peel him off the sticky trap,” Kerry suggested.
The whole point of the sticky trap is that you can’t peel them off. I guess I could have cut the trap up, leaving little flip-flops for his feet, but unfortunately I didn’t think of that at the time.
So, here I sit. Ready for your judgment. Hero or Villain? You decide.
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