Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

The Mouse and the Undergrad

A3Several weeks ago, fresh after the new semester’s first snow, I was getting ready to go to work at my on-campus job. Pulling the sleeves of my coat onto each arm, I walked into the kitchen of my off-campus townhouse to grab a snack before leaving.

As I opened the refrigerator door, I heard a faint squeaking. Oh no, I thought, I hope that’s not what I think it is? My fears were confirmed as I peered at the gap between the stove and the fridge and found a frightened mouse, paws securely stuck to a glue trap. Fantastic, I thought, just what I wanted to deal with before going to work.

I ran downstairs and told my roommate what I had just seen, hoping in the back of my mind that he would step up and deal with it so that I wouldn’t have to. Using a broomstick, he dragged the trap and mouse out from its hiding place, leaving it in plain view on the kitchen floor. The mouse, probably exasperated after hours of being trapped, was still squealing, unable to free itself from the confines of the glue. I felt bad for the poor creature.

I’ve never had to deal with a mouse before, a surprising fact considering that I lived in a Henle apartment during my sophomore year where rodents of unusual size (read: Georgetown rats) were a common sighting every time I did laundry after dusk.
Not knowing what to do with it, I decided that the best course of action was to set it free. Isn’t that the point of sticky traps?

Putting on a dirty pair of gardening gloves, I took the trap outside, mouse still very much intact. Unfortunately, I realized that I was no match for the adhesive binding its tiny paws to the trap. Any gentle attempt to pull the creature free only resulted in louder squeals and biting at my fingers.

Realizing that my quick fix would not work as easily as I had expected, I brought the mouse back inside to devise a new solution. I consulted Google for advice, scrolling past results that recommended simply crushing the mouse and to end its misery. I realized that freedom was perhaps not the intended purpose of this kind of trap.

Nonetheless, I was determined to free my new friend. I found an authoritative WikiHow article titled “How to Remove a Live Mouse from a Sticky Trap” and decided that all hope was not lost. The article recommended dousing the mouse’s paws in vegetable oil, thus loosening the adhesive and setting the mouse free. Perfect. My roommate fetched the oil and we poured a few capfuls as best we could around the creature.

The article said that the mouse should eventually work itself free, but upon closer inspection, it appeared he was merely licking the oil, temporarily distracted himself from the prison he was in.

After waiting for several minutes, and responding to a text from my boss asking why I was half an hour late, I decided that I had to take action. Putting the gardening gloves back on, I took the mouse back outside and began to gently pull its body away from the trap.

The mouse squealed less this time and I could see that the glue was wearing thin. I managed to free its front paws, but after releasing its second tiny hand, I noticed that it had stopped making any noise. Its rapid breathing had ceased and it no longer seemed intent on escaping from the trap to return to its mouse wife and children, who likely resided in my floorboards.

Picking up the trap, I realized the mouse was dead. Seeing its lifeless eyes ended the hour-long emotional journey I had embarked upon with this small fellow. I gave it a proper burial — right into a plastic bag thrown into the trash. The mouse reminded me of the hamster I had as a young child, and I realized that the two were not so different after all. To paraphrase Band of Brothers, an excellent mini-series I watched over break, “In another world, me and the [mouse] could have become good friends.”

Throughout the rest of the day, the memory of the poor mouse stayed with me. It made me ask myself important questions like at what point do we begin to value life? I have no reservations when it comes to killing the numerous cockroaches I encounter in my basement. But a mouse seems vaguely human. It suffers, it feels affection. After all, mice and humans share about 85 percent of their genetic coding.

In death, I honored my brief friend by naming him, deciding that it was fitting to name him after my favorite progressive-house producer — Deadmau5. Perhaps I am too sensitive. Or not enough.

Ashton Gariott is a senior in the College.

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