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Modern problems: Part Tres
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“History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man…” Blue Oyster Cult, “Godzilla”

So I read where authorities are searching for a radioactive mouse near Hanford, Washington. Apparently while cleaning   the old plutonium bomb plant in that area workers came across animal droppings that turned out to be radioactive.

Upon closer inspection, someone determined that the droppings came from a mouse and a rabbit, respectively, and further hypothesized that both creatures ate something from the same radioactive source.


I’m not real fond of mice or rabbits. Oh, sure, in the abstract, they’re cute enough. But I’ve had pet rabbits. They really didn’t do much of anything except produce endless and copious amounts of rabbit pellets when they weren’t chewing through anything into which they could sink their little bunny teeth. They weren’t particularly affectionate; their personalities largely vacillated between utter vacant stare and belligerent indifference.  Contrary to popular mythology, they cannot learn to come when called nor can they be trained to use a litter box. They do, however, quickly learn how to growl, scratch, and bite. And when the mood strikes they can scream. My God, they can scream.

I think that’s what is so especially startling and unnerving – an animal that is a sonic blank slate most of the time suddenly unleashes this glass-shattering sound that immediately has neighbors five blocks away calling the SWAT team because they think a machete-swinging serial killer in a hockey mask is chasing teenage campers through the woods.

As to mice, well, they too are cute in theory– after all, Mickey Mouse, Speedy Gonzales, and other beloved cartoon heroes wouldn’t have been so wildly successful financially if they weren’t deeply appealing to millions of slack-jawed, mesmerized, television-addled sand blowers everywhere – but in practice I beg to differ. In fact, I can’t decide what it is about a mouse that truly skeeves me out. Maybe it’s the speed, the silence, or the fact that you usually only catch a fleeting glimpse – maybe a wriggling tail disappearing under your bed, couch, or refrigerator – but there is nothing, I mean nothing creepier than a mouse in motion.

It makes me love snakes all the more.

So when I read this little news item, that someone found evidence of the presence of radioactive versions of creatures that already give me the willies, well, this immediately raises a lot of questions. Like, who identified these droppings? How did they find them and where? Were these clues glowing in the dark? Did some poor sap mistake phosphorescent rabbit doots for yogurt raisins, maybe? Were they larger than life – like a pile of rodent pellets the size of footballs?

Remember, the operative word is “radioactive.” Does this mean fast, huge, bullet proof, and/or carnivorous? Does this mean three ears and six legs and teeth the size of stalactites?

This could be serious. After all, I’ve seen animal droppings, right here in my own front yard, that I believe to be proof positive that someone in our neighborhood owns a rhinoceros and walks by my house every day. Even my dogs are impressed.

I’ve also seen pretty much all the science fiction “B” movies and horror films ever made. As anyone who regularly lets his imagination get the better of him knows, something like this could conceivably elevate such films from “cheesy and entertaining fluff” to “serious documentary.”

Just ask Buck Dharma.