There was a mouse running around the Wolfsie kitchen. Then it was in the basement. Then in the storeroom. Angel, the cat, knows it. And my wife knows it. We’re just trying to hide it from the neighbors.
We’ve had critter problems before in other homes, but there’s a big difference between having mice in your kitchen and having, let’s say, a woodchuck in your back yard. Having a woodchuck is something you can mention at a cocktail party and someday those very same people will flock to your back yard for a cookout or sit in your kitchen and gorge themselves on your homemade guacamole. The fact that you have woodchucks does not diminish your stature in the community one bit or call into question your worthiness or cleanliness as a neighbor. This is not true of mice.
In fact, when news gets out you have woodchucks, people will call to chat about it. Some will suggest you learn to tolerate the chucking. I mean how much wood...never mind. A few folks may actually come over with beer to observe the woodchucks at work. What you thought was a real problem will make you the talk of the neighborhood.
“Say, did you hear that Dick Wolfsie has woodchucks?”
“No, is that right? Well, leave it to an East-Coaster like Dick, with his TV background, to do something big and dramatic.”
This is not the same reaction you get when word leaks out you have mice. “Have you heard that Dick Wolfsie has mice?”
“You’re surprised? He’s from New York. And he was in television. Who knows what else is going on in that house.
Before I go any further, let me be honest and tell you that I’m not sure we have mice. I am sure we have one mouse, but despite my wife’s insistence that we are infested with the creatures, I believe it is the same mouse every time. Debating this point has become almost surreal…
“Dick, I think it’s several different mice. The first one acts nervous and shy. The other one is aggressive and dominant. And there’s this one under the kitchen sink that just seems lost.”
“Mary Ellen, please don’t do this. If you assign rodents a personality, it will make it that much more difficult to get rid of them.”
“What do you mean by ‘get rid of them’? Look, Dick, I want you to get rid of the mice, but I don’t want you to ever tell me you got rid of them. I do not want any information about it. I hope this is clear.”
“You don’t want any specifics on how they died?”
“Do NOT mention the word ‘die’ in this house. Go Google ‘mouse’ and see if there’s some catch-and-release program you can sign up for. Maybe there is a mice relocation project. I do not want to hear about how any succumbed to some barbaric trap you bought at Home Depot. And you be nice to Seymour, especially.”
“Mary Ellen, please don’t give them names. This is just making it worse when I have to…well, you know…”
“Too much information! Too much information!”
So I took care of things. We no longer have mice in our kitchen and I am pleased to say that Mary Ellen chooses to see me as benevolent and kind. She’s convinced—and rightfully so — that I was humane and civilized in my task.
But the cat hasn’t spoken to me in a week.
Dick Wolfsie was a reporter for WISH-TV in Indianapolis for more than 30 years. His columns appear in 30 Indiana newspapers. He is a resident of Indianapolis. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.