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Why are People Nasty?

A life experience made me look at this question differently.

A few years ago I was harboring suspicions that I had unwanted guests. There were some signs that I might have mice in the house. I saw nothing that convinced me that there were mice, but a suspicion never the less.

Then one day I walked into my kitchen and spotted the rear end of a mouse disappearing into the burner of my stove. I couldn’t deny it any longer and I had to take action. Following some advice from a specialist, I went and bought some mouse traps. I know I should have worked that out for myself, but I didn’t.

I carefully placed several traps baited with peanut butter in the kitchen and waited. Then waited some more. After a few days I was starting to wonder if I had dreamt the sight of the mouse I saw. The next day however, I was able to send out the following announcement to my friends.

Fast on the heels of other great personalities came the announcement of the death of Beauregard the Mouse. He died suddenly early Friday morning while eating some peanut butter. Evidence at the scene indicated that foul play may have played a part in his death. Police have not been notified. Authorities are currently seeking any surviving relatives. Beauregard will be disposed of later today.

I was glad to be rid of the mouse. It hadn’t occurred to me that there might be more than one, but I left the traps out anyway, just in case. The next morning I found another mouse in a trap. I decided to call him Eugene, in the hopes that he was Beauregard’s gay lover. All the same I got more mouse traps.

Not long after I caught a third mouse. I didn’t give this one a name. I reset the traps. I was troubled now, because I didn’t know now how many mice I had. I was down in my basement office working on some e-mail when I happened to turn and notice a small mouse sitting in the corner of the room looking at me. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of the mice being in the basement before.

I laid more traps in the basement. I ended up catching about 15 mice altogether over the next few weeks. There have been none since, so I think I am free.

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User Comments
  1. Kwok

    On September 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm


    Assuming the mouse crawling over his/her brother/sister to get at the peanut butter as nasty is really nasty. You may be conditioned into thinking crawling over someone’s dead body to get at what you want as nasty, the mouse may not have the same conditioning. May be that is the natural and proper way to do things in the mouse world. Chuang Tze asked “You are not fish. How do you know what they enjoy.” And the respond to that is, of course: “You are not me. How do you know that I don’t know what fishes enjoy.”

    The moral of the story is: Speak for yourself.

    Come to think of it. Could the first dead mouse sacrificed itself so that his friend/relative/off spring… can get at the food ?

  2. Keith T

    On September 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Although in the 20th and 21st centuries we have other people come to cart away the dead body first, history shows humans have the same exterior reactions.

    In medievil farm houses in early spring (the time of greatests food shortage)and in concentration camps, I doubt people would let good food go to waste just because it belonged to a dead person.

    Probably humans think about the morals and ethics of this more than other animals, but like with animals and antropomorphic projection, any idea we have that other humans actually think and feel is merely projecting our own internal processes onto another being.

    Really, like animals, humans are just complex machines driven by experience and instinct.

  3. jewelsofmine

    On January 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Interesting and compelling!

  4. downtoearth

    On August 30, 2009 at 2:28 am

    interesting! the comparison that is, (mice and nasty people) as I has written something because of experiences of my own!
    Beware of the rats!
    The sight of that rodent in the house
    Instant thought is “trap for the mouse”
    In a jiffy it is out of sight
    Leaves one in fright

    Well it is not the size of the rodent
    Afraid, it is those deeds of that rodent
    Out of sight it hides in a hole
    Long term damage being its goal

    Lurking in the dark seen by none
    One does “smell a rat” when the damage is done
    Unseen they operate, to nibble is their trait
    Tattered things around, useless is any bait

    Remain alert! Look for signs of damage
    Take action! So that there can be some salvage
    Prevention is always better than cure, a said recommendation
    Early active measures will stop crumbling of foundation

    Toxins to terminate are hardly of any use
    Side-effects affect you, something to muse
    That those rodents escape toxin-attack
    But you, be aware of the subtle rodent-attack

    Insecure they feel therefore do not want to be seen
    Nibble is what they do as they are restless from within
    Lurking in the dark, hiding in the hole
    Remember long term damage is their goal

    Be aware of what they can do
    Stop the damage or be ready to renew

  5. Karen Gross

    On September 8, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Interesting metaphor. When you think of mice as part of a family, and allow yourself to empathize with them, your attitude toward them changes.

    Moving from mouse empathy to human empathy is a bit of a stretch, but it was food for thought (perhaps peanut butter?)

    You need a cat.

  6. Netty net

    On July 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I like the metaphor, how you compare people to mice, or mice to people. Maybe its when we don’t have what we really need.

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