A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wanted: One case of mouse-sized Depends Undergarments

I have had the pitter-patter of little feet in my clasroom the last few days, since bleak November's wind has turned cold. No, not human feet. Verminous feet. Scrabbling, scurrying, trashcan feasting, desk-befouling little feet.

Pamplona has the running of the bulls. I have the running of the rodents. And just like in Pamplona, nature will have its way, and friends, someone is gonna get hurt. And it's not going to be yours truly.

Yes, it had the big brown eyes and twitchy little whiskers, and the tail twice as long as the body and the little round ears. But this is no Japanese anime anthropomorphized critter. Sure, my first response was "Live and let live." Bless the beasts and the children, and all that.

His advent originally reminded me of the Poet Burns' response when coming upon a mouse nest uncovered by a plow, to wit:

"Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!"
-----------------Robert Burns

I can tell you that this little twerp's schemes have indeed gang agley, because Ms. Cornelius, although generally a lover of all creatures, is not a lover of all creatures' excrement. And there was a pile of mouse fewmets behind my bookshelf that could have filled a sandbox. So nature's union be damned.

Hmmm. Fellow mortal, indeed. As Bertie Wooster might say, "Jeeves, the poet Burns is an ass!"

So out has come the duct tape, and the brillo pads, and as a last resort the glue traps even though they are awful.

And I only had to personally ask for a broom and dustpan five times before someone finally came and cleaned it up. All I wanted was a broom and freakin' dustpan, but no, I kept being told, "Oh no, we'll clean it up." I thought about going down and puking on someone's shoes, but I don't ralph easily. (Ralph-- get it? As in Ralph S. Mouse? No? Never mind.)

For three straight days. And when finally someone came and swept up the spoor of this not-so-cow'ring beastie, he then dumped it into my personal trashcan right by my desk, so I could have the pleasure of breathing in the odor for yet another two days.

I really don't want the little brown turd machine to die. If they would just not poop and pee in my room, I would be more filled with the spirit of bonhomie and noblesse oblige. But if I find any more caraway seeds on my desk, someone is gonna get squished like a grape.

Although it is fun to watch the great big football players shriek and perch atop their desks like birds on a wire.

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At 11/10/07, 2:34 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Well, I guess it's good to know that NY hasn't got a monopoly on school building conditions. Mice are no fun, though, and when kids see 'em, forget about whatever else it was you'd been planning.

At 11/10/07, 8:41 PM, Blogger The Science Goddess said...

In my classroom, there is a standing rule that "You eat what you kill." Mind you, we haven't had mice during school hours...yet. :)

At 11/11/07, 9:11 AM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

OOOOO I hate rodents. I turn into Yosemite Sam when pestered by them. I'm pretty much all talk, though, as I am too squeamish to actually do the killin.

At 11/11/07, 12:38 PM, Blogger Mimi said...

Ew! I hate mice! We have one in the teachers' bathroom right now so you have to stamp your feet as you squat in a desperate attempt to pee, wash your hands and check your hair in under 60 seconds....gross. But killer thigh workout.

At 11/11/07, 3:16 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This was the funniest posting I've read in a while. Thanks for the laugh, Ms. Cornelius.

At 11/11/07, 7:32 PM, Blogger ms-teacher said...

a co-worker had a mice problem in her portable last year. She put in a work order and the custodian brought her some of the glue traps. Nobody ever came back to check them. As a result, her portable soon had the smell of death emanating from it. When she told our admin about it, our former principal told her that she would have to clean it up because it might be several days before anyone could get to her room to clean it up.

I would have 'ralphed' for sure had it been me!

At 11/12/07, 8:51 AM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

I don't know where you got that picture of the mouse but I about spit out my coffee I was laughing so hard.

I feel your pain. Luckily we have a kickbutt custodial staff who not only put out the traps but check on them daily. I've only a problem with mice once, but some of the classrooms with outside walls seem to get a lot of them.

At 11/17/07, 10:55 AM, Blogger Blair said...

i ran across your blog through links and this post caught my eye. i can relate to the mouse issue... you see, i had a dead one in my apartment and it couldn't be found. i was told it was in the wall and there was nothing that could be done. the smell stuck around for a week... it was horrible.

At 11/25/07, 8:42 AM, Blogger Oyun indir said...

I would have 'ralphed' for sure had it been me!


At 11/29/07, 8:41 PM, Blogger askthehomediva said...

OMG…Good luck getting rid of the critters… I felt guilty about getting a chuckle out of the read.

Earlier this year, I had to deal with a major cricket infestation (crunch, crunch, crunch-yuk! and talk about smell!)…Nasty…

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