ANCHORS AND SAILS: This little beast must go

Brenda Kelley Kim
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“You know when men use women’s liberation as an excuse not to kill bugs for you? Oh, I just
hate that! I don’t care what anybody says, I think the man should have to kill the bug!”

—Suzanne Sugarbaker/Delta Burke, Designing Women

OK, I might tick off the sisterhood here, but hear me out. I am a strong Irish woman, a redhead,
a snarky beast, and someone who, on most things, should not be messed with. You come for
me, my children, or my family, and it’s going to get ugly. I beat cancer; I survived other crap that
is best not repeated here. I am not a wimp. Except…well…if there is a bug or a mouse. Hey, we
all have our issues, right? I hate that it’s a very stereotypical thing; some woman is screeching
like a five-year-old and leaping up on a table. That doesn’t do us women any good, but, ok, full
disclosure, that might have happened at my house recently. It was me. My brave, amazing EMT
daughter came in and calmly told me, “You know a mouse just ran under that food shelf.” And
that, my friends, is when the wheels came off the feminist wagon at my house.

Heck yes, I leaped up and ran from the dining room like a coward. The same way I do if I see a
bee or an earwig. Are you kidding me? First of all, let us not quibble on size. Baby mouse,
shrew, mole, whatever you want to call it, it’s a rat. No zoology degree is necessary; they’re all
rats, and, well, call PETA if you wish, but they need to be gone. On this, I am full on Tony
Soprano and Michael Corleone. It needs to die; its family needs to die, and its house needs to
be burned down. It’s a war that needs to go to the mattresses.

Of course, it’s completely sexist, wrong, and outdated for me to think that a man is the solution
to this. At my house now, we are in a bit of a transition on many things. We have boxes in the
living room because our furniture from the 80s was finally at its end, so I gave it away to my
oldest kid, who has just moved into a new apartment. However, supply chain issues cropped
up, and now we don’t have anything to sit on except one chair and the box containing the
coffee table. It’s from IKEA and isn’t put together yet. That’s going to be a whole other article,
for sure. The new couch is on a cargo ship somewhere off the coast of Madagascar and will
arrive (hopefully) in January. The dog crate is the centerpiece of my parlor, so that should tell
you a little bit about the current look I have going on.

But I’m not going to apologize for my fear and loathing of all things rodent. I know people who
are afraid of things that have holes. Look it up; it’s called trypophobia. These people can get
freaked out by a golf ball, so no, there is no shame in me being afraid of some long-tailed beast
that thinks my lovely warm house will be his winter resort. For every task, there is a solution, so
I will figure this out, but it will not involve me going all “hear me roar” because while I am pretty
strong when I need to be, I have to believe that there are others more suited to this than I am.
So now I need an exterminator or a murderous cat. Financially, I think a cat might be a cheaper
option, but then there is the fact that cats think mice are gifts. So no, thank you, kitty cat, I just
want the one in my house dead. I don’t need you to wander the neighborhood bringing me
birds and whatever else wanders across your deadly path. Plus, Penny, my wee pug, might be a
bit put out; she’s quite the diva.

I know this situation probably seems ridiculous, but fear is not rational. Anxiety and phobias
can’t be reasoned away. If you are afraid of spiders or snakes, call me, and I will come end them
for you; they don’t scare me. Do needles bother you? Call me; I will hold your hand at a blood
draw or a vaccination. You don’t like the dark? I’ll get you a nightlight and a soft teddy bear
because I have an ancient stuffed dog and a glow-in-the-dark clock with a cow jumping over the
moon; I get you. Disney is the only place I want to see a mouse, so this intruder will soon be
dispatched. In the meantime, I will be cowering under my Snoopy blanket.

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