Believe me, from that moment forward, I was afraid of mice. And why did I believe my brother? Maybe, just maybe, it's because he always followed through on a threat. There was a sad chapter in my life during which my brother would, at some point each day, sidle up to me and whisper, sinisterly, 'Sis, sometime before you go to bed tonight, I'm going to hit you really, really hard.' My heart would sink. I knew, just as surely as I knew the sun would rise the next day, that sometime before I went to bed that night, my brother would, indeed, ambush me and deliver the threatened punch - a really hard punch - on my upper arm, right on my smallpox vaccination. I spent my days in dread and fear.
And that's my explanation, my justification, for my fear of mice. It wasn't just the usual, 'oh eek a mouse' fear, but the 'standing on a chair when I saw one in the room' fear.
Am I afraid of snakes? Absolutely not. I can calmly snuggle up to a snake and feel its fascinating dry, smooth skin. It always reminds me of the plastic lanyard necklace I made when I was a kid at Bible camp. And I have no fear of spiders - at all. I could even squish a spider with my fingers if I had to, although I'm not sure what circumstance would warrant that necessity. But mice? I think it's because they don't just walk around, they SCURRY. They DART. And I think they carry the PLAGUE. Well, maybe not, but then again, one can't be too cautious.
Fortunately, my fear of mice has waned considerably over the years. Maybe it was when we got cats and I realized that the cats would keep the mice at bay. Mouse fear, however, lingers there just enough so that I'm still a little worried about what I'd do if I were driving and one crawled up my pantleg (as my brothers warned).
And that brings me to last night. I was sitting at my computer, oblivious to the world around me, when I suddenly felt something run up my leg. NO, I'm NOT KIDDING. I screamed and shook my leg furiously and sure enough, a MOUSE FELL OUT OF MY PANTLEG. Admittedly, it was no bigger than a 'Lil Smokie sausage, but it was a mouse nonetheless. Kevin suggested that perhaps it was actually a ladybug that scurried up my leg. Oh Sure. A lady bug that's 2" x .5" x .5"?? It still makes me shudder to think of it. As I'm sitting here at the computer today, I have my pantlegs pushed up to my knees.
And where are those two good-for-nothing cats for whom we provide room and board and all sorts of pleasantness?? I can see that things have gotta change around here. Maybe I'll give them less food in the evening, so they'll be encouraged to spend their nights chasing mice rather than lounging around on my pillow with their whiskers up my nose.
Now I'm wondering if there are any other unpleasant predictions my brothers made that have yet to be fulfilled.
UPDATE: May my cats forgive me for casting aspersions on their character. I discovered that Tuppence, that most remarkable cat, dispatched the mouse late last night. Good kitty.