Teachings Of The Rat

Mar 1, 2011 by

As noted previously, in a complete and utter “what was I thinking” moment, the Little Black Dress got the Sons of Thunder some rats.

Purists will huff about proper elucidation, demanding references to Phodopus roborovskii, Meriones unguiculatus and/or Rhombomys opimus. Said purists may bite-e-mus me-us. They are rats.


In one of my deeply thought-provoking moments, I came upon a profound truth. Namely, you can learn a lot from rats.

We’ve already experienced one funeral, within 24 hours I might add. And the decision was made to go ahead and bury the rodent instead of returning it for the “death within one week” rebate/exchange program. A rat with a guarantee – not something you normally see in life.

But there’s so much more to learn.  

I think it’s important for kids to have pets. Done properly, kids learn about life and responsibility, Done improperly, mom and dad are cleaning up a lot of poop.  And there will be lots of threats about taking said pet to some farm somewhere where someone will take care of them.

Lesson: start small and gradually move on to bigger things.  Rat cages are easy to clean; cats pretty much take care of themselves. Elephants require a huge shovel and involve a massive grocery bill.

Pets, even rats, can really highlight a kid’s character. I say this after watching the Sons bury the aforementioned rat. They didn’t have it/him long, but it was a living thing and they felt sorry for it/him. They got that caring spirit from The Dress.

Lesson: life has meaning. The world needs more caring and gentle spirits.

But we can take it too far. We’ve hit a rather warm streak lately, but I refuse to turn on the AC in February or March simply out of principle. So I got the Sons window fans. And the fans sit there all nice and quiet. Quiet because the Sons don’t want to turn them on because they are afraid the rats might get cold. In the meantime, they (“they” being the Sons) continue to gripe about being too hot.

Lesson: I’m still working on this one, but it involves something along the lines of getting your priorities straight and realizing you (as in the Sons) are more important than rats.

Recently I attended some meeting with lots of parents. As soon as I mentioned the rats, I was inundated with information. Some things I didn’t really need to know – like the rats will eat each other if they sense weakness or injury (which itself is a lesson).  Other information was more useful – as in the creatures are nocturnal. In common language, this means the rats sleep all freaking day and keep you up all freaking night. More on that in a moment.

I also learned said parents were more than willing, nay, eager, to “share” their rats with you. The conversation goes something along the lines of “Oh, you shouldn’t have bought any rats, I would have been happy to give you one, or two or three or … and I have plenty of cages and little houses, and toys, and more toys and playthings and food and wood shavings and water filters and …”

Lesson: beware of those who too enthusiastically offer you something they have.

As I mentioned earlier, the rats stay up all night. And you know it because you hear them. I don’t mean they squeak, I mean they run. And they run on this little round thing known in the profession as an “exercise wheel.” Said device is also known as the “Chinese water torture minus the water but with a squeak that no lubricant can fix wheel.”

And they run and run and run. All night long. Constantly. Just spinning away. I understand the idea of exercise, but no one can exercise this long. They just run and run and run and …

And they go nowhere. Nowhere, despite all that effort.

Lesson: it is called the rat race for a reason. You are not a rat. Rather, you are God’s creation. He has a purpose for you and it does not involve spinning in circles.

Find your purpose. Then do it.

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