1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Alex McLaughlin Nov. 11, 2010


When we think of different animals we think of different human like characteristics associated with different species. Gentle like a lamb. A sheep is a follower. A fox in the the house. The memory of an elephant. We could go on and on. A group of mouses, i.e. mice, or rats have a strange and unique relationship with human beings. Although both are rodents, rats are generally larger than mice. Mice can be scary but rats are always really scary. Rats and mice are different species But for purpose of making something up, we will commingle them for this article.

Writers have often looked to mice and rats to better understand human beings. Of Mice and Men was a short story written by John Steinbeck in 1937. The title comes form Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse” which include the lines “The best laid schemes of mice and men. Go oft awry.” I can’t speak on behalf of the mice on this one but my experience would suggest that this is sure to hell the case for most human beings.

There is a more telling adage that “No one knows what goes on the minds of mice and men”. I googled my heart out and could not find who, where and when someone coined this phrase. With Google and Wikipedia we can appear knowledgeable (really full of facts) and cute but do these tools enhance or retard thinking. Not sure. Probably depends on the circumstances and individual but I believe that the internet on balance is an enhancer of questioning minds.

“No one knows what goes on in the minds of mice and men”. I would challenge any person, no matter how full of themselves with the certainty of their thinking, to refute this statement. One revelation of failing to understand this adage would be to ask your wife what she really thinks of you. Believe me fellers. Ignorance is bliss.

We have all heard of someone called “a dirty rat” but we also have heard people called “dirty dogs” or “dirty pigs”. If these names are the worst thing that you have ever been called, you are probably very fortunate. The Chinese have the year of the rat. But let’s not get carried away with this love in with mice No sports teams that I am aware of are called “The Fighting Rats” or does anyone ever remember fans of a team cheering, “let’s bring on the mice.”

“Are you a Man or a mouse?” may mean something differently if you ask this to a man or to a woman. Maybe, the question should be” are you a mouse or a woman?” But that somehow just doesn’t sound right. Basically, the saying means are you going to straight up encounter challenges or problems head on or are you going to flee. Fight or flight? In the past the answer to being a Man or mouse was in fact pretty clear. A being was either a man (homo Sapiens) or a mouse (Mus musculus). There is a scientist that has a mouse with a fully inserted human immune system. 93% mouse and 7% human? So Now the question maybe should be” are you a man and/or a mouse?” Are you a real mouse or a laboratory mouse that has been genetically upgraded with human tissues and related genetic info?

Maybe I am on to something here. Well, probably not. Though I will admit that I am sitting here typing and scrolling up and down with my little gray mouse sitting on top of its little grey mouse pad. I don’t really expect anyone after reading this to look at the little guys or the little vermin, if you prefer, any differently. But remember you will most likely never say, “Eek, there is an elephant”