I never suffered from musophobia
Slick and I might have been accused of being guilty of several shortcomings as we whiled away the early years of our lives but no one ever said we were musophobic. Nope, we did have our flaws but being afraid of mice (musophobia) was never a problem.
What brings this to mind was a recent study I ran across concerning modern young people. It seems many of today’s kids are being raised in such a pristine environment that they are becoming (pardon my frankness) wusses.
The study goes on to say that by the time these young folks reach college age they seek professional counseling whenever they face “adversity” (such as receiving a “B” in an exam).
An amazing example of this was when two college students discovered a mouse in their apartment. The students were so traumatized they called the police. Believe it or not, the police came with a mousetrap and set it for the students. This stressed the two students so badly they wanted professional therapy.
Okay, this took place out on the East Coast not in the Midwest, but it does give you an idea of how removed from reality some of the younger generation have become. That, in itself, is scary.
As I mentioned earlier, Slick and I never suffered from the fear of mice. Heck, we kept them as pets. Not the white mice sold at a pet store, I’m referring to the little grey mice commonly referred to as a house mouse.
I have no idea what age I was when I first saw a mouse but I’m sure that sighting came awfully early in life. I also don’t remember my reaction because it wasn’t an earth-shattering event. Nothing in comparison to the my first up close run-in with a squirrel.
That happening took place when I was 11 years old and first visited King’s Service Station on the Main Street of Slater.
King’s was a big boy hangout, not for kids. Farmers, businessmen, workers and high school students had a habit of spending some spare time in the office, grease room or long wooden bench located outside next to the east side of the Farmer’s Cafe.
One day I mustered up enough courage to actually walk off the sidewalk and onto the cement drive where the gas pumps and grease room were located. To my astonishment, a large wire cage, sitting on small steel wheels, occupied an area right in front of an overhead door.
As I slowly crept up to look in the cage I could hear the hum of a bicycle wheel inside the chicken wire confinement. Lo and behold, the bicycle wheel was powered by a cute little red squirrel running on wire mesh screen attached to the wheel.
I was awestruck. I had seen many squirrels but never had I been within inches of what appeared to be a pet squirrel. About that time King walked over and tossed a few walnuts into the cage. The squirrel jumped off the wheel and rushed over to devour the nuts.
It was so cute I decided to pet the little fellow. I stuck my fingers through the wire and it came dashing over. It took one sniff of my fingers and immediately bit me. Man, did that hurt.
I rushed back to my parents' printing office to report the misdeed. After examining my finger and deciding no serious harm was done, Dad chuckled and told me the squirrel was probably upset because he was expecting a treat.
I then informed my father that I hated squirrels. He laughed and told me that a squirrel was just an overgrown mouse. They are both part of the rodent family.
Well, I’d never been bitten by a mouse and I had petted many of them by that time in my life, so I decided I had just been lucky. From that point on I gave both squirrels and mice a wider berth.
Looking back at it now, maybe I should have requested counseling.
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.