Monday, November 08, 2004

Live Rat In A Snap Trap

    pest control vignette

Too Many Offices

Over time I had offices in more locations on campus than almost anyone else I knew at the University. For a while, I had no office. Then I shared two or three different locations with the Grounds Superintendent. Later I had separate offices of my own, but still in the same Physical Plant compound. Once they gave me an additional office in the "front" area of offices where I conducted safety training. For that short time, I was occupying two separate offices at once, but they soon thought better of that and moved me back to the work buildings. What's that, seven or eight?

At one point my office was a couple of large rooms attached to the campus greenhouse which had at one time been occupied by the campus architect. So that's one more.

I generally sprayed the dining halls at night on the weekends when they were closed, so sometimes I'd just be finishing up the paper work at two or three in the morning, recording the hours worked, chemicals used, etc. that the dining halls would be charged for each month.

Ricky Rat Goes Splat

One such midnight hour, I was sitting at my desk and using the calculator when I heard a horrible thump-thump-thump! I thought someone was outside hitting the wall, trying to throw a scare into me. It was working pretty good at first! I went to the door and looked outside. No one out there. I went back to work, but over the next 20 minutes the noise repeated two or three times. Curiouser and curiouser! The last time the thump came, I decided it might be coming from the Greenhouse area behind my back. I still had not yet remembered how I'd placed some big snap traps out there a couple of days ago and when I casually opened the door and turned on the lights, I wasn't expecting to see the swinging and flailing about of a very big rat in that trap! I jumped back! Almost as soon as I jumped back, though, I knew what it was. The rat, his shoulder securely pinned by the trap's strong metal clamp, was hanging suspended at about face level (yech!) by the baling wire I always used to secure bait stations or snap traps. The cost of that rat cheddar had been higher than he'd expected; though he was alive, he was not a happy camper.

I guess if that rat had been left to swing like that the rest of the weekend, he might in time have sawed his own head off. I'd heard about trapped animals' willingness sometimes to chew a leg off, but, uh… I preferred not to think about it, actually, and was so irritated about how badly the rat had scared me with his noise and his gymnastics that I felt little pity about getting the Rat Bat out of the truck. I had soon dispatched yet another of God's creepy creatures straight to hell. I beat his head in while he was still caught in the trap, but it was over pretty quick. Of course, that's me saying that—the rat may have had another opinion.

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