Another autumn invasion
Nov. 5, 2012
by Ivan Raconteur

The bachelor pad is under siege by a horde of filthy vermin.

Falling temperatures have apparently motivated a mob of mangy mice to try to take up residence there, and I don’t like it one bit.

I was alerted to the impending invasion by the sound of scratching and chewing emanating from within the outside wall of my bed chamber. This was followed by similar noises from above the ceiling. The commotion has disturbed my slumber and left me more irritable than usual.

I don’t have any quarrel with mice in the wild, but I refuse to live with them. If it comes to a showdown, the mice must die.

Toward that end, I have expanded the arsenal of my domestic defense department, and have unleashed my weapons of mouse destruction.

This is war, plain and simple, and anything goes.

No doubt, kinder souls than I would advocate some sort of rodent relocation program, rather than a shoot-to-kill policy, but I am not that patient.

So far, I have not seen any evidence that the dirty devils have infiltrated my living quarters, but I suspect it is just a matter of time before they do, and when that happens, I will be ready for them.

That is part of the frustration. When confronted with a challenge, guys prefer an active approach. We don’t like to stand by and wait for the trouble to come to us. We like to be doing something.

The difficulty is, while I can hear the miserable creatures, I can’t get at them.

Reports on social media suggest I am not the only one being plagued by unwelcome urban wildlife lately. I have read some creative suggestions that, although intriguing, might be on the extreme side.

One common suggestion involves smashing a hole in the wall at the source of the disturbance, and then blasting the varmints between the eyes with a load of buckshot. Although this is likely to make the mice think twice before trespassing again, it might also disturb the neighbors.

Using a shotgun in a smash and blast plan may be an extreme solution, but it begins to sound more logical when one has been deprived of sleep for several nights.

Another suggestion involves a deploying a stick or two of dynamite. This, too, is likely to be effective, but it would probably be a Pyrrhic victory. It would do me no good to get rid of the mice if, in doing so, I demolished my domicile and got myself evicted.

Creative rodent-elimination schemes are not new. Mice are an age-old problem, and exterminating them has been the subject of many a Saturday morning cartoon.

Even as a child, I hated rodents. My sympathies were always with Tom, or Mr. Jinks, or whomever was battling the vile creatures.

Some people claim rodents are cute, but I just don’t see it.

When it comes to my personal space, I have a strict no-mice rule, and I am prepared to wage an all-out jihad in defense of this policy.

When I say “all-out,” I may have to qualify that. I am prepared to do anything within reason to repel the invaders, but there are limits.

A rodent reduction program can go too far, and can backfire.

A couple of scruffy characters from my old neighborhood, Stan Simian and Dwight, the Dog-Faced Boy, found that out the hard way many years ago.

Stanley’s family had a small, rustic hunting cabin set way back in the boondocks north of Duluth.

They called it a hunting cabin but in actual practice, the main form of recreation for which it was used was drinking.

The older generation had abandoned the place, and Stanley and the Boy had adopted it as their home away from home.

They liked their beer cheap and abundant, and they frequently abandoned the local tavern for a weekend of serious drinking at the cabin.

One fall, the boys had settled in for a weekend of fun when they discovered evidence that mice had taken up residence in the cabin and helped themselves to some of the fellows’ supplies.

The place was far from civilization, and the boys didn’t feel like giving up their revelry to drive to a store for mousetraps.

They sat down and did some drinking and thinking and tried to figure out how to get rid of the mice. They decided to smoke them out.

They removed one of the boards that made up the inside wall, and went outside and gathered a bundle of green sticks, which they reasoned would create a lot of smoke.

They brought the bundle inside, and stuck the end into the fire in the wood stove to get it burning.

Then, the boys poked the end of the bundle into the hole in the wall, thinking the smoke would go up the space between the studs like a chimney. It did. Unfortunately, so did the fire.

The old newspapers and whatever else had been used as makeshift insulation quickly caught fire, and it spread up the wall and into the space above the ceiling.

Stanley and the Boy got rid of the mice, but they also destroyed their drinking retreat, and were left out in the cold.

I am definitely going to rid the bachelor pad of mice, but I will do so in a way that leaves the place intact.

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