Of Mice and Men…..

mouse trap 1

My wife and I suspected we had some mice in the workshop.

They’d be more than welcome if they didn’t chew on things or leave their little black pellets all over the place.

So, I grabbed my trusty Tomcat model traps and baited them with a little Jif peanut butter.

Within a day or two, I had snared two of the little trespassers and I reloaded both traps and captured another beady-eyed little critter a few days later.

Neav always asks me if we caught something but she doesn’t like to look herself because I think she fears she’ll see Mickey or Minnie Mouse has been taken out.

There is a huge difference between the cartoon, tv and media versions of mice and what I typically deal with in the garage.

In addition to the Disney critters, Jerry Mouse of “Tom and Jerry” cartoons comes to mind.

As an impressionable youth, I was a fan of “Mighty Mouse” I think, in large part to the fact that I also liked the old black and white “Superman” shows on tv.

Being a fan of Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons, I also grew to know “Speedy Gonzales, the fastest mouse in all of Mexico”. I also have vague memories of an Air Force acquaintance that we nicknamed “Speedy” while we were stationed in Alabama.

I was also a fan of Hanna-Barberra cartoons so as I watched Huckleberry Hound features, I got to know “Pixie and Dixie”, the two mice who were pestered by Jinx the Cat (I hate meeces to pieces!).

“Sniffles” was one of those cute cartoon mice, not unlike Stuart Little or even Fievel Mousekewitz. (Used to know a guy who bused tables at a local eatery that reminded me of Fievel).

My family remembers the night I tried to draw Pikachu in one of those “draw the clues” games. Art is not one of my strong suits.

How about Chuck E. Cheese?

Did you know he started out as a rat but one day  in 1997 became a mouse?

I suspect the management didn’t like the idea of a rat hanging around their eateries.

But do you really want a mouse serving  slices of pizza?

Then there’s Mr. Jingles who played a role in the movie, “The Green Mile”.

I also have to offer up the Aesop fable about the mouse and the lion.

And, who could forget “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” and the mouse running up a clock? Today, a rodent on a time piece would have my wife screaming!

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention “Three Blind Mice” which was a theme of sorts for The Three Stooges. (The good ones, with Curly, not Shemp, Joe Besser or Curly Joe).

No, can’t say I’ve seen anything like any of these “celebrity” mice in my traps over the years.

The American creator of the classic spring-loaded trap was John Mast.

In 1903, he basically tweaked an earlier British model called “Little Nipper”.

There are historical references to mouse traps as far back as 1534.

“Victor” was the trap name I most-remember.

Now, when my son-in-law was in Iraq, my daughter had a battery-powered device that would jolt any nosy mouse that entered.

I think she had the model which had a tiny telephone in a waiting room in case the governor wanted to issue a pardon.

I guess I’ve always been the family “mouser”.

As a kid growing up in northern Ohio, one winter brought a nasty invasion of field mice into the Foster home.

I volunteered for “Operation Bye-Bye Mice” and set traps all over the house.

Every time I caught one, I would cut out a little mouse silhouette and stick it on my bulletin board like any great fighter pilot would do, tracking my “kills”.

One evening while watching tv with the family, I heard the telltale “Snap!” and I announced to all, “Got me another one” and I sprinted to the room where I found my quarry.

This winter, I discovered that the rodents I was in search of weren’t real picky about what they ate.

I was reminded of the winter of 1846-1847 excursion with the Donner-Reed party when I found one mouse in a trap.


Mouse trap setting requires nerves of steel because you have to hold that spring and get that metal stick just right in the bait holder.

A sprung trap can leave a mark on any finger  in the way and the “Snap!” retort can provoke a shriek like the one I made when a mouse jumped from a box while we were cleaning my Father-in-law’s garage.

Folklore and cartoons would lead you to believe that cheese is what mice want.

But, over the years, I’ve found that a small smear of peanut butter always does the trick.

I know if I was a mouse and I caught a whiff of Jif, I’d be checking that out.

And just like that, my career as a mouse would be over…in a “Snap!”

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