Tuesday, July 28, 2009

choose wisely

today i have a little story to share that's funny, gross, and sad all at the same time. i can't say it's inspired by my dad, because that's not really accurate. but suffice it to say that there is a connection to him, even though it only began with a name.

when i was a little girl, about nine or ten years old, i was taught that rodents would make perfect pets. my mother was strictly against dogs or cats for a few years, and during that time she educated myself and my brother about the wonderful joys that small furry creatures can bring into one's life. i still don't know if she immediately regretted doing so, or if that feeling of making a horrible mistake overcame her slowly, like a chill creeping up her spine and finally piercing her brain in a way that only a ghastly revelation can.

we had a gerbil named fluffy. maybe she didn't like her name so much, or maybe she just didn't like when my brother would force her to run in his greyskull castle like a maze. either way, she definitely did love to claw the shit out of our delicate children's hands.

after my mom decided that she was allergic to fluffy, spontaneously, then came the hamsters. they were ok, i guess. until they started breeding. i'm not prepared to relive that nightmare just yet. i can still smell the cedar chips if i close my eyes and think long enough about it, and not in a good way. besides, the real story comes after the evil sex-addict hamsters, so i'm just going to keep moving here.

next was a mouse. somehow i managed to convince my mom that mice make outstanding pets. we brought home a little grey fellow with a white spot on his head. i named him louis, which is my father's middle name. i can't explain why i was compelled to give the innocent mouse this name. even today, it makes me wonder if i knew he was doomed from the moment he entered out house, paralleling my father's life in so many ways.

in the beginning, things went great. louis was as happy as a mouse could be. he was fed and cleaned and loved. he was doing so well, in fact, that he was getting noticeably stronger. it wasn't long before he escaped his little cage and ventured forth into our house on his own.

i absolutely forbade my mother from trapping him. i wanted louis to be able to enjoy his freedom and flourish among us, rather than be captured and set outside where who knows what could harm him. i think my mom set traps for him anyway. but we went almost two months with louis scurrying around throughout the house, our shy little roommate.

he grew to the size of a small rat, the white patch on his head the only identifying mark of his former semblance.

then one day my mom decided to bake some cupcakes.

do you remember as a child, smelling the chocolaty cakey goodness of cupcakes warming in the oven, the scent wafting through your home as if on a mission to distract you?

i've lost that memory. for on that fateful day, as the cupcake batter rose and thickened in the little paper cups, the odor coming from our oven was nothing short of nauseating. a foul stench clouded our kitchen and grew more intense by the minute. my young mind had no imagery yet disturbing enough to associate with the mystery smell.

it was bad enough for my mom to call the appliance repair man. as he disassembled the oven, he discovered louis' nest. the clever guy had built his home inside the wall of our oven. it kept him warm and cozy for the few winter months he had spent there. unfortunately, it was his bad luck to wake up from a nap and venture out at the exact time that my mother had turned on the oven.

at first, i was so angry at my mother for cooking my beloved pet. although, with time, i eventually accepted that louis' life was somehow destined to meet a volatile end. what good could possibly come of overindulging and living in an environment that is in no way natural to your species? no, louis probably would have been much better off out in the wilderness of our backyard, using his innate instincts to guide him through the perils of a normal mouse's existence.

for that i am sorry louis.

i can only hope my father doesn't end up cooked, figuratively, as a result of his poor choices. but only time will tell what his fate is destined to be.


Jerrod said...

I had a rabbit named Bandit. He was found stuck in his little house. he had been trying to crawl out of the little window, got stuck and died. I blamed my parents for.. and I quote.. "not upgrading his living arrangements". I was 7.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, gross. :) It reminded me of that "Wonder Years" episode where Wayne sucked up Kevin's school hamster in the vacuum cleaner. Life's hard for little things.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Oh, here I was thinking that mom accidentally made Louis muffins or something.

Although, how she wouldn't have noticed him in the cups is beyond my initial thought.

erin said...

Rodents totally freak me out. TOTALLY. Like I'm all creepy, itchy and sick feeling right now just thinking about them.

I must move on or this icky yucky feeling is going to ruin the rest of my day.

Too late.

Logical Libby said...

I have never heard a story about a pet rodent that ended well. I think the one that comes closest is "Ben," and we all know how that ended.

Organic Meatbag said...

Oh shit...hehehehe, poor little Louis... uggghhh...and here I was thinking of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies! Damnit, Lana!

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why my mom wouldn't let me get a hamster......

Girl Interrupted said...

Awwwww!! Poor lil' Louis!! lol I never thought it would be possible to feel slightly amused yet also somewhat traumatised, all at the same time!!

See, you don't get those tragic kinds of mishaps with dogs and cats!

miss. chief said...


(but i can't look away)

mylittlebecky said...

aaaww, poor, poor rodent. we found my sister's months after is got out squished in her closet. traumatizing.

Lana said...

jerrod- poor bandit! i'm glad you laid the guilt on thick for your parents.

veg- awww, i remember that one! but hamsters are gross and evil and deserve it, so i don't feel that bad.

mjenks- technically, he wasn't in the cups. just hanging out in the bottom of the oven, wrong place at the wrong time.

erin- i sure wouldn't want to be the cause of anyone's 'icky yucky feeling' so you do what you need to do.

ll- so true! i can't think of one that has a happy ending either.

meaty- cookies with a side of sinew sounds like a real treat :)

jules- you are WAY better off, take my word...

gi- right?! crazy how you want to laugh and gag at the same time. and cats and dogs definitely do hold out for bigger and better stories of misfortune.

miss- at least you don't have that smell memory of cooked mouse flesh, be thankful for that.

becky- yeah, it really was devastating at the time. just kept making me think about what if my end was met in an oven (or the bottom of a closet).

Kristine said...

This post made me feel fresh and rejuvenated!

That is to say, I love this story :)

f8hasit said...

We have a couple of hampsters (and 2 dogs, 2 cats, 3 fish...the list continues to grow with a 10 year old and a mom who can't seem to say no to furry things, that's another story)...and I think that finally I have found the right cage for them.

You see, the girls would play with them then incorrectly close the door...so they would be living among us like Louis. I did manage to catch them and return them to their cage so we didn't hvae the same ending...but next time? They can run rampant until the cat, or dog, or fish catch them...

Fun blog...you've got a new fan.

Lana said...

k- nothing like an oldie-but-goodie first thing in the morning for ya :)

f8- hiya! and it sounds like you have much more patience than myself or my mom :) glad to hear you got the right cages though.

Narm said...

Ha - I one time left my gerbil at my house in college over spring break and thought if I left enough water it would be fine.

It wasn't.

Skitch said...


The theme from "Ben" was running through my head...

Until the oven went on..then that old 45 became kind of a warped song on the playlist in my mind...


Lana said...

narm- hi!! and what? no pellets to eat or anything?

skitch- my mom is lethal with the oven, literally and figuratively. she also tries to put garlic in her eggs. no wonder i had to pay 40k for culinary school ;)