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Where I talk about my fear of mice

June 8, 2011

I was playing at the Mad Woman’s blog, where Julie was talking about a rat infestation when I was reminded of why I hate mice . . . like, really hate mice.

I don’t talk about my fears very often, but they’re many. I fear failure (but I may fear success even more sometimes). I have a near-crippling fear of the unknown when I look over a ledge. I never really liked looking over a railing and into an abyss, but after my accident, the act of doing so brought about panic attacks1. I’ve overcome that fear of heights2, somewhat, by forcing myself to zipline through a rainforest in Alaska3. But, my fear of mice might be the strangest.

And it all started at band camp.

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I was a music geek in high school. So, I was in the marching band. Only, well, I’m as coordinated as a three-legged hippo after a tequila and crystal meth bender. Marching wasn’t for me. I played in the pit, and I enjoyed it. There were the random percussion instruments that were only needed once or twice for a show, or the bass guitar (hooked up to an amplifier that was attached to a car battery), or any number of keyboard instruments (be it an electronic keyboard or the xylophone or marimba or vibraphone which I like to bring up because ‘vibe’ is always fun to talk about).

I don’t remember the exact logistics, but I believe it was the first weekend of school every year that we all went to band camp. Since before the school year started, the entire band had been practicing on the football field, or in a parking lot. But, at some point, we’d take 2-3 days, renting out some random place in the Pocono mountains to really learn the show.

We’re in the middle of the woods, in cabins . . . there’s bound to be little creatures that work their way into said cabins to find food. A random mouse, or snake, or squirrel, or bird wouldn’t bother any of us. Until the day I stepped in mouse feces.

It was my junior year of high school, we were playing selections from Tommy (I think, all of our shows kind of run together in my head, but I’m sure at least one of my classmates will read this & correct me). During our last night, a mouse was found in our cabin. It was found because I nearly stepped on it.

As any rodent would be wont to do when you see a foot 5-6 times the size of your entire body approaching it, it emptied its bowels and scratched my foot. I was sleepy – I rinsed my foot off in the shower and went to bed.

Two days later, my foot became really, really hurty. Cellulitis. On the ball of my right foot. It’s a good thing my running obsession hadn’t started at this point (I wasn’t exactly fat, but I wasn’t ever working out, either). I could barely walk for two weeks while things healed . . . I remember taking 0 period gym (hey, I actually like learning, so I’d always take an additional course if it was offered, meaning that I always took gym before school started . . . I think this is a big part of why I’m able to wake up early to work out these days). I had to make it to school by 6:50 (or else I’d be marked as late or absent) and sit on a chair while my classmates played volleyball.

I have no issues with rats . . . rats establish a common “outhouse” in their colony. I sure wouldn’t want a rat infestation, but rats and me are cool. But mice? I still freak a little, and my foot still throbs, when I see one.

1 I’m way overdue on a mental health checkup blog . . . I have a TON of blog posts all written out in my head, the issue is one of execution, and finding the time to actually get them written – just in writing this, I realize that I should probably explain the accident.

2 I think “fear of heights” is the right term here, but I’m not really sure. I have no problem with the knowledge that I’m “up high.” I can fly with minimal mental discomfort (I’m a very large person, though, so there’s lots of physical discomfort anytime I step onto an airplane), unless I’m sitting in a window seat looking directly down. I can head to a skyscraper just fine and look out of a window & marvel in the view . . . but put me near said window? Nope.

3 Another future blog post.

  1. Sweet mother of ACK! That’s just gross.

    And seriously, could you bottle and sell some of that motivation? I can’t find mine.

    • The funny thins is that I feel like I’ve been severely slacking . . . I haven’t had a morning work out all week – I may have found my way to the gym over lunch, but that’s been more to get out of work than to actually work out. But, believe me, if I could find a way to share my motivation, I would.

    • The funny thing is that I feel like I’ve been severely slacking . . . I haven’t had a morning work out all week – I may have found my way to the gym over lunch, but that’s been more to get out of work than to actually work out. But, believe me, if I could find a way to share my motivation, I would.

  2. Jani permalink

    Ok this blog post had me laughing out loud…..The fact that you actually developed a condition from mouse turd/scratch fever is side splitting. Only you John!

  3. I’m pretty sure most good stories begin with, “And it all started at band camp.”

    Unfortunately for you (and your poor foot) this story didn’t include trumpets…

    So sorry! And I don’t blame you for wanting to permanently steer clear of mice.

    (but if you’re ever going to a ball and need a new gown, you really should reconsider…)

    • Being in the pit, band camp was always somewhat optional for me – the big thing the band took out of it was that they learned the drill (music was secondary for camp, but was always our focus over marching when it came time to play in front of crowds). We’d only really focus on the music after it was too dark to march.

      Still, I always went to band camp – there was too much fun to be had.

  4. And I only got chlamydia at band camp. I’ve missed you John.

    • I’ve missed being around – my inbox has been filling up with the posts that I “need to read” while things just don’t ever calm down at work . . . and the kids . . . well, I can’t even think about pulling my laptop out when I’m at home because the two of them will fight over who gets to pull the keys out.

  5. Blergh.

    I would not have been so calm. I’m actually not calm just thinking about it.

    In theory, we have 2 cats, so we are hopefully ok in case of mice/rats. I say in theory, because these are 2 of the laziest cats I’ve ever seen.

  6. Gah, cellulitis? That’s awful. I’m the opposite – mice don’t really bother me (though I wouldn’t want an infestation), but rats stir up nothing but total disgust.

    • I have a level of unease with rats – but having friends who were biology majors in college, lab rats were kept as pets – being around them has eased that unease a bit.

  7. Rodents of all kinds MUST DIE. After we kill all the roaches.

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