There is an old expression that goes ‘build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door’.
I suspect that expression was created when mousetrap was an essential part of any house. But is it still true?
In the broad sense, yes. Do something better than it was done before. But literally, no. Because there has never been a better moustrap than the standard mousetrap.
Ha! I bet you thought I was going to talk about something other than mousetraps, didn’t you? Well, I’m not. This is about moustraps.
For any of you reading out there — upwards of a couple of dozen! — who have been afflicted with mice in your domicile, let me tell you from personal experience there is no better mousetrap than the standard, 2 for $1.69, wood-and-spring trap that has worked for hundreds of years.
My home was recently invaded by a couple of mice. At least, I think it was a couple. One of the problems with mice is that you really don’t know how many mice you have once they get in your house. Unless you see them hanging around, you don’t know if you’ve got one or ten. Chances are, if one got in, at least one other figured out how to get in as well. They’re no dummies; it’s a lot nicer inside somebody’s house than outside. In any event, we had mice (as it turns out, two) that proved to be elusive, to put it mildly. We could hear them at night sometimes, which is disconcerting. My wife hates mice (I’m not wild about them, either), so we launched an all-out, high-tech attack against the invaders. We started with ultra-high frequency things you plug into an outlet that allegedly gives off a sound that mice hate. (Seriously, I didn’t want to kill them; I just wanted them to get the hell out of my house.) Well, maybe they do hate it, but all they did (if they worked) was send them to another room where there was no noise making doohickey. Whatever noise they made, it wasn’t loud enough to force them outside from however they came in, so, total failure.
Next, I bought a very elaborate mousetrap that was encased in plastic. The idea was that the mouse would enter this little while plastic tomb, the trap would snap, and you throw the whole trap out. You wouldn’t even have to see his little snapped-necked corpse. Sounded good to me, except the mice didn’t go near it. Or, maybe they did. I found one of the traps that indicated that the trap was sprung — but you couldn’t see inside the trap, and I couldn’t tell if I had caught one. Fail no. 2.
Then, I bought these much fancier plastic traps that were basically the same as the traditional trap, only about 10 times more expensive. The idea was that once the mouse was caught, you could pick up the trap, dump the mouse, and use it again. I baited the traps (use peanut butter, by the way; they love it) and waited. Every day, the peanut butter was eaten away, and the trap remained unsprung. I had four of these freakin’ things around the house, and for the mice, they were like a free smorg. The damn things never, ever snapped. Fail no. 3.
By now, I was feeling like I was being outsmarted by mice. I contemplated poison — guaranteed to kill — but the drawback there is that, while you do kill the mouse, you might end up with a dead mouse decomposing somewhere in your house. Personally, I’d rather have a live mouse roaming around the house than a dead mouse decomposing somewhere. In desperation, I went all old-school on my little buddies … the cheap, old fashioned mousetrap.
Old school mousetraps are incredibly hard to set. They will snap if you breathe on them, which is what makes them so effective. Anyway, I baited them with peanut butter (Kraft chunky, for the record), and this time … success! Killed them dead. First one, then the other.
I was, I admit, elated. I know it’s pathetic. I mean, killing mice is not like tracking down, killing and gutting a moose. It’s not especially manly. But I am a coddled, city-bred, middle-aged man.
Yes, it was kinda gross, and yes, I would rather have had a nice sit down with them and politely requested that they leave, but mice are not open to suggestion. But they gave me no choice, and in the end, I triumphed. Over mice.
Hey, I take what I can get.