Goddess of the Hunt
Disposing of a mouse, which I had to do a week ago, was one of my more harrowing experiences, despite the bloodthirsty anger I had felt when I began discovering poop in my closets (including my shoes), along my walls, and on my couch.
The last 20 minutes of its life involved a lot of staring at it from a respectable distance, planning how to trap it, shaking with fear and adrenaline, and frantically considering who I could summon to help. While all this was going on, it turned its poisoned body slowly in a half-circle. What finally motivated me to actually do something toward capturing it was the realization that my cowardice might allow it to escape and then breed and/or die in my walls and stink up my otherwise fragrant condo.
Ever since then, I’ve been on edge, worrying that he has friends – and that my resolve to rid my home of mice might not carry me through a similar ordeal. Though I managed to get this one to the dumpster, when I actually worked up the nerve to poke at him – with the broom, from about 5 feet away – he was dead.
Of course, I engaged anyone who would listen in discussion of my rodent problems. After talking to a few people, though, I was starting to get a complex over how little I cared, in comparison, about the mouse’s health and happiness. Nearly everyone expressed sympathy for the mouse, proclaimed them “cute,” or disavowed methods involving pain or suffering (all of which I happily embraced).
So, I began adding disclaimers like, “I’m not into torturing animals or anything … but -” or “I know it’s horrible to use poison … but -” People seemed not to judge me too much as long as my cruel methods were a last resort, and the peanut butter and more-humane snap traps had, in fact, not been working (probably because, in hopes of enticing the mouse onto the trap, I was putting more peanut butter on it than even I was likely to eat: in the morning, I discovered smeared peanut butter along my wall and an empty trap). But the truth is that if I could have gotten rid of it immediately and totally by torturing it to death in some kind of Fear Factor-esque challenge, I would have.
I was beginning to feel like a psychopath. I had read The Psychopath Test two years ago, at the urging of a good friend who happens to be a huge animal lover, and after completing the book’s test, fretted about my own answers until I read this: “if you’re beginning to feel worried that you may be a psychopath, if you recognize some of those traits in yourself, if you’re feeling a creeping anxiety about it, that means you are not one.” Whew!
Still, my total disregard for what the mouse might experience at my hands was leading me to think that I may need to revisit that test. Then I spoke to someone who quickly achieved goddess stature in my mind. “Diana” had had major mouse problems, and, after discovering the pests, caught them using sticky traps. Mouse sympathizers revulse at sticky traps because the mouse squirms in it until it dies or, occasionally, gnaws off a limb to get away.
I have several set up along my walls.
So, what did she do when she discovered the mouse on the traps?
“I killed it.”
“I had a shoe that I hit it with.” She went on to explain that she was so angry and pumped full of energy at the first discovery that killing the mouse wasn’t a problem. When she found more, she couldn’t stand watching them squirm, so the shoe came out again.
She added, “When I moved, I just threw those shoes away.”
The conversation cheered me on a number of levels – not the least that it was reassuring to find someone else who shared my absolute disgust at these other living creatures. I went back to being pretty confident that I’m not a psychopath.
It also restored my faith in my mouse-killing abilities and – considering mice had been pooping in my shoes – gave me some rather poetic ideas about pest control.