If you have the misfortune of suffering through Playhouse Disney’s "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" on Sunday mornings (like I do) you already know that when our mouse hero has a dilemma he needs only the shrill voice of a toddler yelling "Oh Toodles!" to make a special toolbox appear and the troubles disappear.
Inside this computer-animated helpdesk are usually three Mouskatools and a Mystery Mouskatool that, when called upon in the correct order, will solve all of the show's plot predicaments.
Of course if these were real-life situations the tools would be useless, but the large-eyed, big-headed small fries staring into the black hole of the picture tube don't know this because in the magical world of Mickey Mouse a glue stick is all that’s needed to glue the keys back onto a broken piano, a catcher's mitt will indeed capture an "oooey gooey fish" bouncing around in a rowboat and a watering can is all that is required to make flowers grow.
But what tool do you call on when you open a kitchen drawer and the BIGGEST FIELD MOUSE you've ever seen comes scampering out and disappears under the stove?
Let's just say that if I were writing for the show there would be a few changes.
First, the mouse would NOT be the hero.
I don’t have too much empathy for any fictional rodents, no matter how sweet and cuddly and human-like, when I find half-eaten packets of cocoa; an empty bag of mini marshmallows, and tubes of green, purple and black frosting (but not the red) licked clean along with the tell-tale evidence in the bottom of my baking drawer.
Secondly, there would also be a lengthy discussion about food choices. Because aside from turning up his whiskers at the red-dye frosting, the animal ransacking our kitchen chose only the most sugar-laden items in the cache, leaving bags of raw almonds, walnuts and cashews completely untouched.
"What mama?" Ittybit asks and I jump back from the cabinet.
"There is a mouse in the house," I say as I point to the place where I saw the revolting creature dart under the appliances.
"Oh, man," she exclaims, mimicking my displeasure but feeling the excitement of a new adventure as she throws herself down on the floor and peers under the range. "Where did he go?"
"Probably to tell all his friends that the jig is up, the die's been cast and there's a new sheriff in town," I say as I plan for the final changes in my clubhouse storyline. ... the tools in the new and improved Mouskatoolbox would have teeth — sharp, pointy, deadly teeth.
Although I'm not afraid of mice, I don't want to share my baking supplies with them, nor do I want to risk the slim potential for anyone in our household to contract haute virus by allowing the uninvited guests to continue to raid our non-perishables.
It's quite a shift from my mouse-loving days as a child. Standing over a mouse-gnawed mess, I couldn't be further from the kid I was who wouldn't speak to her own father for three days after he dispatched a mouse in the basement with a spring trap and a chunk of bacon.
Here I am, decades later, openly hoping the little critter suffers its demise with a fitting case of diabetes or a grotesque battle with gout before it meets its end in a silvery trap.
But my daughter is just like the "me" I was way back when ...
"You can't kill it. It's a living thing," she protests.
I intercept her as she heads for the drawer, presumably to paw through the debris where the mayhem took place. I call for assistance, asking her dad to take her to the park so I can clean up the mouse mess. He tells me he'll clean it up, but I'm beyond the point in the program where I can let it go. Since cleaning is easier than preschooler wrangling, I continue with my storyline and gather the supplies.
The tools that await me in my Mouskatool box include a vacuum cleaner, disinfectant and paper towels. I'm assuming the tools in the dad's tool box will include a series of dreadfully effective mousetraps and a shovel. Of course in my version, if all else fails, the Mystery Mouskatool would be howitzer.
Needless to say, the episode I'm working on will have to air on HBO following the Sopranos, but it would be worth it just for the "R" rating.