Wednesday, June 29, 2005
The Squeak of Humanity
We caught our mouse. Although, by now he should probably be referred to as our “old reliable friend” since we’ve been able to rely on him showing up for months and months. We’d bought one of those goo traps, where you sprinkle seeds on this tray full of goo that acts basically as superglu times 12 to anything that touches it. It seems like a nice, humanitarian way to catch a mouse, doesn’t it? Until you come to see that, by keeping the mouse unharmed, the situation draws you to the harsh realization that a) unpleasant further steps must be taken in "getting rid of him" because you'd feel bad tossing him still alive stuck in goo and b) he has a voice. He squeaks. For some reason, his voice now makes him more real to you than he’s ever been. Suddenly he is a person, has a family, has a job that he relies on, (that he was trying to do before you caught him in goo) to support that family. Your trap allows you to see him, face to face, instead of having your body seize up instinctively at the fleeting sight of him, to see that he’s alive, frozen in place, and terrified, he now becomes a real animal with fears, hopes, and dreams, that he never had before when he was a an object, barely worthy of a gender, scurrying between your feet with you jabbing the broom in his direction. This goo trap is such that you thought you were making a kinder, more humane decision about how to capture him. It’s better than a regular mousetrap. It doesn’t kill him. The irony then sinks in. It doesn’t kill him, I have to kill him. It holds him for me while I take the last seconds of his life into my own bare hands. "Kill" now means something other than "to stop" or "remove from my house." You then forget why you ever thought the goo trap was the better way to go and, veritably shaken, you’re forced to contemplate the dreaded inevitability of the situation while the mouse squeaks his pleas with terror-reflecting beady eyes you are looking into for the first time. I, having the “mouse hunter mode" ability, couldn’t do it. I hypocritically wussed out. Sean took it upon himself to finish the job. But always will it rest on our shoulders, invade our thoughts, be an ever-present itch on the unreachable spot on our backs. Always will our ears ring with the harsh reminder of the ironies of life, the mouse’s squeak of humanity.