Previously in this space, the comparison between a human brain and a fish brain has been made. We homo sapiens think we’re so superior. But often — ask any fisherman — lines will be cast and worms will be drowned with very little to show for the effort and sacrifice. In a head-to-fin contest, fish almost always win.
Presently, however, I am not in a contest with fish. I am in a contest with a mouse. Not to belabor a point already made, a mouse brain weighs 0.4 grams and my brain weighs 1,400 grams. More or less. I’ve never taken it out and put it on a scale.
The mouse with whom I am trying and failing to match wits has set up housekeeping in the workshop. Egalitarian as I am, I do not want a mouse as a roommate. Because mice are, as a rule, reluctant to sign a cease and desist treaty, I thought definitive action was necessary. I bought a bucket of D-Con and invested in many traps. The clerk at the store wanted to know if there were any interest in a humane trap. Well, no. I am not interested in a humane trap. After putting up with the myriad issues of having a rodent in residence, my humane mood was somewhere in the distant past. I was in a murderous mood. The death penalty had been conferred upon this mouse. I wanted it dead and nothing less — no parole, no community service, no suspended sentence, no work release. And I wanted the execution carried out before the mouse had an opportunity to reproduce.
Walt Disney, et al, have made a fortune portraying mice as whimsical, whistling creatures. Over the years, Mickey’s makers have rendered him softer and rounder and more wide-eyed until now he resembles nothing so much as the Gerber baby. And mice do, up to a point, have certain baby-like features. Mice spend the vast majority of their time sleeping, eating, and … well, you know what else. Unlike the Gerber baby, however, mice do not clean up well. Or at all. No matter how many Wet Naps you use. A box of Pampers will make a baby presentable for a day or two. Nothing — nothing — short of discovering a way to house-train a mouse will make it anything but a messy, smelly undesirable. This one had to go.
After baiting the traps, I shut off the lights and waited for the loud “click!” that would signal success. My preferred bait is peanut butter. It sticks to the trap like paste and it smells great.
Very soon, I experienced all of the “click!” and none of the success. Somehow the mouse had managed to clean me out of bait without much sacrifice on its part. This did nothing to improve my mood. The only consolation was that the mouse probably wasn’t very happy either because it was somewhere making that “ack ack” sound trying to get the peanut butter off the roof of its mouth.
Now, a mousetrap is a fairly simple machine. There are not a lot of options for adjustments or fine tuning. I needed either a heavier mouse or stickier peanut butter or a less rusty trap. In a logical world, I would lubricate and then bait the trap with peanut butter, the mouse would eat it all, become fat, and “click” would be the last thing it heard.
Finally — and it took way too long — I did outsmart the mouse. That belly full of food and a sense of complacency must have slowed it down a little. I’m so excited I’m going to give fishing another try.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.