Rolling Thunder

3 08 2016

Okay, there is now a hamster in the house – my son wanted one. One could argue that there were his distant cousins scurrying about. (One might say that he ‘incited a scurry’ ha! ha! ha! Just remembered that line from Zootopia! Ha! ha! ha!) Yes, we had a mouse problem in our house, but now that the weather has turned, what passes for, balmy, in Vancouver, they seem to have vacated the premises. Was that too many commas back there? Lemme see how it reads without commas. The weather has turned what passes for balmy in Vancouver. I dunno. Now I’m just confused and the sentence has been wrung dry of all meaning through repetition. Okay we’re thru the looking glass here people. Shut up Kevin Coster! Get on track! Mice just tend to make themselves more scarce when the weather is good. We’ve caught nothing but spiders in the sticky traps (the same as when mice are at their most rampant, actually).

Hamsters. Yes, they are rodents, make no mistake. Cute as hell. Boy, they’re cute. Is there a better word than ‘cute’? Anyone? Adorable is good. They clean themselves! Aaaaaw! Here is a, by no means complete, list of things hamsters do that is cute. When they eat, when they clean themselves, when they scurry, oh and when they eat. Cinnamon coloured fur, though it’s sort of faded as he’s aged. You only see young hamsters at a pet store, never an aged one, unless you’ve seen an old slower moving one at a friend’s house. Or a real cranky one at Petsmart that no one will buy because it bites and only eats hamster food that has passed through the rectum of a monkey in Madasgascar. Their colour tends to fade and their hair curls out like a guinea pig’s, and it is tempting to shave it, so maintain a sleek, torpedo-like appearance. As he is now, resplendent in his Farrah Fawcett-like curls, he looks like a parade float you’d see on Pride Day. He kind of glides instead of runs cuz you can’t see his legs, like a tiny little geisha.

Yup, I could, though seldom do, watch them all day. You know something is cute when you somehow want to absorb their cuteness, and that is usually through consuming them. Yes, literally eating them up, in the manner of eating an enemies organs to absorb their goodness like I saw on a documentary and District 9. I cannot quite eat a hamster, though I felt like just putting my mouth around in his cute hamster head and . .  . aw never mind, now you’re all staring at me! I didn’t do it and as far as I know there are no thought police. So there. (thinks of stuffing hamsters and possibly gerbils in his mouth in an orgy of wrong-headed pet management)

Suddenly, I thought that, like pugs, hamsters are an animal without a purpose. Their sole reason for existence is to BE cute. There. I’ve said it. Go ahead. Unleash the slings, arrows, and sharp edged open tins of Spam. Their very uselessness is what MAKES them so adorable, I’d wager. Yes, like pugs, that ubiquitous and benign canine of our times. Soooo cute, and soooo devoid of any purpose. Okay, now I feel mean, having thrown a couple of cutie-patooties under the bus. How’s THAT for an image to burn bridges with.

Listen: hamsters are very active at night, not so much during that day, where they resemble one of those balls of fur popping out of the back of Gizmo in the movie Gremlins. Only it does not evolve Pokemon-like into anything, but remains that way for hours on end, a tumbleweed in stasis. Only in the twilight hours does he erupt into a flurry of busyness, as if he were undergoing a performance revieimag0577_1w that morning. Running in his wheel, visiting and revisiting various areas of his cage, occasionally escaping. Yes, THAT happens. One must be vigilant when closing the cage after feeding him, a pastime that has overtaken the popping of bubble wrap in terms of satisfaction. Thank goodness he has such a burdensome aerobics schedule – we feed him mostly foods from the crunchy and high sodium part of the food pyramid. He’s getting chubby now, but would likely be much worse were it not for that frenetic activity of his. (OK, we feed him genuine hamster food as well so put don’t bother the SPCA, they’re too busy with imbeciles calling about baby crows falling out of trees. ha! ha! I say that now when I was one of those imbeciles!)

He has one trick, but it’s a good one. He will run the length of my son’s arm and eat a seed out of his mouth (my son’s), after which he stands on his hind legs, doffs a tiny top hat and says ‘Ta da!’ All right, I added that last part in to flesh out the ‘trick’ a bit. So sue me. Another ‘trick’ is to feed him and then put him on his back so that he resembles a river otter enjoying his food in the warm Mississippi sun, or wherever otters habitate, do I look like a zoologist? Now there’s a cute image, am I right? I know, we certainly ARE ambitious – he’s come a long way from that shy creature that we took home in a cardboard box like some leftover dim sum. My son named him ‘Thunder’ and he is well-named because that is what sound he resembles when he is on his rumbling, clamorous wheel at night

Well, here’s where I tie things up at the end. Sort of. Get yourself a low-maintenance pet hamster, and keep in mind that, like rabbits, hamsters are prey to most of the animal kingdom. Don’t let it run outside in the grass, like we did for a captive mouse once. Once. It almost imag0686made it to the cover of foliage when it was snatched up by a crow right in front of our horrified eyes. True story. Yes, and also don’t let your hamster run around the house, like us, with sticky glue traps everywhere, a callback to our mouse problem, remember? This never happened (because we were lucky), but I imagine scissors wu
ld need to be employed because ferrying around one of those traps everywhere severely cuts down on the cuteness factor! Get yourself a ha
mster. Sure, they’re little poop machines, not unlike dogs and cats, but at least their poop is pellet-like and easily disposed of. Hope you enjoyed reading about Thunder.

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