Sunday, March 31, 2013

No Good Deed goes Unpunished

My experience indicates to me that his adage as often as not proves to be true. I offer here an example which also illustrates how difficult it is to explain and understand even the simplest things. This morning I could barely get out of bed and I am having difficulty walking. To understand this simple story you have to understand many things:
First, I have arthritis in my lower back and hips. Although this is with me daily it only becomes a real problem if I twist improperly or engage in certain physical activities. You must also understand the behavior of cats. They occasionally bring in mice, even live mice they play with (torment, no doubt from the mouse’s perspective). Three or four days ago one of my cats, Kati, with I have a love/hate relationship, brought in a live mouse. The mouse escaped and hid successfully behind a huge, heavy, and virtually impossible to move, antique cabinet my wife once absolutely had to have. As moving this piece of furniture is virtually impossible as it is literally stuffed with heirloom dishes and such, and as there was no place to set a mousetrap that would not be sprung by the cats, I chose to ignore the presence of the tiny rodent, even though I worried it might die a lonely, unfortunate death there and eventually cause a stink. I hoped it might eventually escape when the cats tired of watching for it to emerge. I even left a door open hoping for such an eventuality although it was cold that night. I had no way of monitoring the situation and had almost forgotten about it.
Then last night around midnight I heard a strange sound coming from what we refer to as the “sun room,” a large, very high-ceilinged room we foolishly added on to our house for reasons not entirely clear to me now. It was dark and that room is not well lighted so I approached the potential problem with a flashlight. I determined there seemed to be nothing that would require being armed with either cudgel or gun, so I bravely approached the area where the strange kind of scratching sound seemed to originate. Now understanding this tale gets a bit more complicated. There is in this room a large brass pot, an antique brought from India at the turn of the century, not this century, the 20th century. This pot is quite large as such things go, round, 24 inches in diameter, 16 inches deep, with a 10 inch opening at the top. I believe it was used for a family to store their year’s supply of rice with a wooden cover to protect it. Why I possess this pot is a long story, trust me when I merely say I came by it honestly. Anyway, this pot is constructed in such a way that any small critter that managed to get into it would not be able to get out. And sure enough, the mouse was trapped in it. It would have been impossible for the creature to have actually climbed the outside surface, so how it managed to end up in there is a mystery. It is possible it might have climbed up a wall to a nearby window ledge and jumped in but that seems to me highly unlikely. The pot also sat under a tripod holding a telescope that belongs to my son (my wife was trying to conserve space), but as the tripod legs are small smooth metal that also seems unlikely. I have no idea how the mouse got into the pot.
But, as it was there, and as it had no chance of ever climbing back out, and as I did not want it to die there, I had to take action. The pot is very heavy. I can barely lift it, but I did, and I carried it outside and tilted it so the mouse could escape. However, the mouse may have been so exhausted and weak by then it refused to exit. I eventually had to turn the pot completely over (with considerable difficulty and posturing) to allow the emaciated creature to escape. It obviously was this activity that left me painfully incapacitated today, the reward for my good deed.
You might not think of this as a good deed but, in fact, a stupid thing to do. Why, you might well ask, was I so concerned about the welfare of this lowly rodent in the first place? The answer has something to do with my personality, I always side with the underdog, even if the underdog is a mouse, and a mouse is always an underdog to a cat. Why did I not just kill the little creature as many would have done? Well, I don’t like killing anything unless it is absolutely necessary (I even help spiders out of the bathtub so they won’t drown). You might think I’m crazy, maybe you are right, but that’s the way I am. And yes, I am unfortunately what is often somewhat erroneously described as a “knee-jerk liberal.”
But I’m not as bad as Obama. After observing how he has been treated by Republicans for the past five years I do not believe it is true, as he claims, that “this is not who we are,” or that we are all just similar Americans, or that he is somehow going to get bipartisan support for anything he wants to do, whether it is in the best interest of the people or not. He is so idealistic, so convinced that all people are basically interested in each other’s welfare, he cannot seem to perceive the reality of free-market Republicanism. If I cannot easily understand my own behavior and the behavior of a simple little mouse how will I ever understand Obama or Republicans? I probably will not…ever.


No comments: