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Building a Better Mousetrap

March 1, 2012
Charles Laquidara , The Maui Weekly

Last night, while a bunch of us were sitting around the house, a cute little mouse popped his head up in a corner of my kitchen, and my friends cooed, "Awwwww. How cute! Let's call him 'Mickey.'"

But after everyone left later that evening, I realized what was really happening here. This mouse is going to leave mouse droppings everywhere, and he is going to be scurrying back and forth across the house in the middle of the night, making that pitter-patter noise that mice make, keeping me awake. Even worse, he is eventually going to find another mouse and make a million more "Mickeys!"

Mickey had to go.

Looking in the garage to see what was available, I found a box of rat poison. But the label indicated that it kills slowly and painfully. There were no mousetraps around, but I did find a few of those sticky glue traps. At that point, I made the Machiavellian decision to use the gooey pads, rationalizing this horrific thought by vowing that I would find a way to end their suffering quickly when I woke up. I placed the traps in strategic areas and then went to bed.

After about three hours of rustling around--picturing that mouse suffering on the glue pad, I realized that even if I drowned him quickly, it was still a cruel and inhuman thing to do--especially from someone (me) who only a few months ago in "a Ha'iku moment," gave up eating all things with a face.

I finally went to sleep, rationalizing that the terrorism that little mouse would cause was more consequential than the death of one measly critter whose relatives get killed by the millions every day in all parts of the world.

The next morning, I woke up and quickly went out to see if Mickey was stuck in any of the glue. Much to my relief, all the traps were empty. The mouse had not touched one of them! Yay!

But I still was in a conundrum... What do I do? Call one of those pest control companies that comes out to your house and poisons the mouse for $200? Not the answer.

Suddenly (Deus Ex Machina!), I get a text message from my next-door neighbors saying that they had found the solution on the Internet. They said I should throw those "nasty glue things" away because they know how to build a better mousetrap.

They came over later holding the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels, which they had lightly flattened at one end, just enough so that it would not roll around. Then they put a piece of cheese and peanut butter on a teeny cracker, placed the cracker inside one end of the tube and precariously balanced that end of the tube halfway off the counter, hanging precariously over a tall wastebasket.

"Okay, Charles," said my ingenious neighbors, "now take off for a couple of hours. By the time you come back, the mouse will have crawled into the tube to go after the cheese and then both the tube and the mouse will fall into the wastebasket, and voila--you will then have a live mouse trapped in the wastebasket. You can get rid of it easily by taking it to a field or to the lawn of a neighbor you don't like!"

"There is no way the mouse can get up on top of this counter." I said.

"You find a way to disappear for a while and the mouse will find a way to get that food," the innovators replied.

You can guess the rest of the story. When I got back three hours later, there was the tube down in the wastebasket with Mickey, who was now ready for a new traveling adventure--which I quickly provided.

Within two days, using this foolproof method, I had transported Mickey and Minnie (and Cousin Brucey) to a wonderful resort under an old bridge in a field about a half-mile away.

Pass it along. This really, really works, and it's a lot cheaper than going to a pet or hardware store and buying one of those compassionate "green" mouse traps that only succeed half the time.

Charles Laquidara has lived on Maui for over 11 years. He worked at WBCN radio in Boston for 30 years as the morning-drive host of a show called "The Big Mattress" and is occasionally heard on Mana'o Radio here on island.



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