This summer one of my indulgences was to sit peacefully in the morning sun on the deck of the cabin and drink coffee and read a book. Yes a book with no pictures. I like to think that I look at the challenges in my world of five kids, a job, and a busy life in the way that Erma Bombeck does and the book I read was , "If life is like a bowl of cherries, then why am I in the pits?" I found it ironic that the first story I read in Erma's book was about Rats. I found the original published story from Wednesday 19, 1976 in the Eugene Oregon Newspaper I think it rings as true today as it did back when I was four!
You'll look a long time before you find a more decadent group than research rats or mice.
Throughout the years these furry swingers have been plied with booze, pot, cigarettes, birth control pills, too much sun, cyclamates, caffeine, raucous music at ear-splitting decibels, late hours and a steady diet of snack food.
All this should leave people with some unanswered questions.
First how come there are still more rats and mice than people?
Secondly, how come you never see an iron-starved, dull listless mouse drag around the house? They sprint from one place to another like Edith Bunker.
Third, did you ever see a mouse with a salad in one hand and a calorie counter in the other? Yet did you ever see a fat mouse?
Have you ever yelled at a rat and had him say, "huh?"
These unanswered questions really bother me because every time I turn around a new research study is taking away something that has made my life infinitely more pleasant in the past but in the future is going to make me sick.
The latest of these is Red Dye No 1, a man-made color additive found in lipstick and rouge. According to researches, controlled tests on hundreds of rats and mice brought a ban on the dye by the Food and Drug Administration.
Mayva and I discussed it over coffee. "Be hones, Mayva, have you ever seen mouse drop dead with lipstick on his teeth?"
"Actually, the mice under my sink have always been what my Avon lady would describe as 'understated.'"
"Why do I have the feeling we are in a rat race and the rats are having all the fun? I mean you only go around once in this life, Mayva and you ought to be able to do it with gusto."
"Did I tell you about the research rat who had everything tested on him from artificial sweeteners to bread preservatives to foot fungus viruses to the brutal subway experiment and survived them all? A researcher figured he was something of a super rat and took him home as a pet for the kids. Within three months, this indestructible rat was dead!"
"What happened?" I asked?
"Drove in the car one day with the family's teenage son and had a heart attack."
I shook my head. " I'm for research Mayva, but that's cruel.
So there you have it. The solution to Swift Current's rat problem....bring them all to my house. I am not sure they would be able to survive. Or at least they would be out of everyone elses hair. Levi could be all rebellious and keep one as a pet to gross out girls, his grandma, and most of all me (this would ensure that I stayed out of his room for good) Then maybe he could quit calling me the "mean buzz kill mom" for not letting me bring home the wiener dog he fell in love with on his summer holiday.
Olivia could dress them up in bows and dresses and they act out scenes from Hanna Montana. Kelsey and Carson could do probably a million things with a rat just give them a chance. And last my sweet little Ellie I can picture it now like all the reports of a rat in bed with someone, I would open the nursery door in the morning and there would be Ellie petting a rat saying , "Nice Kitty , Nice Kitty!"
I do hope we find a way to get the rats out of Swift Current but let me tell you if they are still around come April 1st I am going to have some fun with rubber rats around my house for April Fools Day. I guess we gotta laugh about it!!