Halloween is almost here and gone. Hallelujah!
Halloween means decorations that include mice, and I hate mice and any other furry animals that resemble them (gerbils, hamsters, squirrels). I don’t like them because—dead or alive, real or not—the sight of them really does give me creepy feeling that starts at the nape of my neck and moves all down my back at the same time that my heart beat revs up for the Indy 500. Mickey Mouse gets a pass because he doesn’t have fur, but Stuart Little is out and so are any stories or movies that feature the little critters. I watched much of The Green Mile through the spaces between my fingers because my hands were covering my eyes. As much as I try, I can’t get away from them because the little monsters are everywhere including Halloween setups. So, for the next seven days I’ll have to tip around stores and peek down aisles so that I don’t happen upon one of the rubber mice and damn near lose my mind.
I know it’s bad because it’s beyond fear; it’s a phobia. A mouse in my presence paralyzes me, and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. It probably has something to do with my brother holding a dead mouse over my head when I was a child—a charge that he’ll deny to this day, but I know. Sometimes I think it’s getting better because if I see one I only jump five feet instead of ten and I can actually bring my heart back into a normal beating range in a shorter space of time, but I’m not ready to push my luck which is why I’ll be glad when we get to November 1st.
I’ve tried talking to my rationale self. I say, “Self, mice are God’s creatures, too. And they’re excellent way to conduct research that can be used to make human life better.” I even try to explain that mice are probably as afraid of me as I am of them. “Self!” I shout when I run across a dead mouse. “It’s dead.” But nothing works. My Irrational Self dominates the conversation screaming that she doesn’t want to share the planet with them no matter how valuable they are to research. I’ve told her that we need help and she agrees, but she knows that dealing with her fear means that she must face her fear, and she ain’t having not parts of no mouse. So, until my Irrational Self is ready, we pray that God will keep us and the mice outside of each other’s company.