Write a Better Article and Readers Will Pound on Your Door, Rats! (Essay)
Okay. I get it. I'm cool. I'm hip with the buzz. Rat traps are one of my very annoying industries. I cannot lie to you. From those hucksters going from door-to-door, God bless their little hearts, had tough lives. How would you like to been one of these guys trying to sell a product that young America instantly wrote off as a gimmick? Tough territory, I'd say. Even the late comic, Rodney Dangerfield would be correct in using his "tough crowd," when trying their best, bursting every gut, to make a few sales to put some food on the table.
Rat traps. Even the name irritates me. Not because rats, the rodents, have ever bitten me or given me any dangerous disease, rabies if you want the truth, it's just how can such a small living, breathing animal be so destructive and yet so vital in keeping the thousands of employees at a number of big rat trap companies. So let's either fold or call. I want to win one pot tonight. Get rid of the rats--you hear a massive hoo-ray from Americans from east to west coast or let them go free to their own volition and keep their lucrative anti-rat solutions and other anti-rat companies stay in business.
Can America really think that sensible and non-sensible anti-rat chemical "traps" and those other companies whose scientists with college degrees working day and night to come up with yet a new, humane way to rid us of rats. The ground swell of government grants must add up to billions. And that is a good thing. Research is important in any company. What good is a faster car without testing? This question is begging to be asked: what good is a rat trap without testing? My rat question makes a lot more sense. Now I am even beating my brain in trying to find out where the rat trap factories get their great supply of "Test Rats?" I would say Lab Rats, but that term is not a direct statement set for rats who are only bred and used for testing of a better rat trap.
I can jog your memories with that famous adage: "Build a better rat trap and the world will beat a pathway to your door." Bunk! In my time I have launched a few of those "better rat traps" that cost me more than it was worth. Seriously, I do wonder about where the poor rats originate whose only purpose is to be this week's Guinea-Rat. I hate feeling so sympathetic, but feelings do not lie.
What good is an essay about the evolution of rat traps without a true story? I just happen to have one in my brief case and samples that I use on road trips. When my mom was a little girl, her family as well as our country, were thrown into sudden poverty due to the Crash of '29 and people had to literally beg, scratch, and do whatever just to have food on the table. So with the Depression marrying Opportunity, a wave of door-to-door salesmen hit the road with an ingenius trap designed to rid any home of roaches. My granddad, mom's dad, watched this meeting of minds unfold. The salesman, honestly, gave one more oration about how filthy roaches can be. And how they can multiply as fast as any rabbit, so my granddad, a patient and wise man, asked him to give a demonstration of his new Anti-Roach Device.
The man slowly took a wooden block about four inches by four inches and three inches thick and had a red circle at one end. The salesman told my granddad that all you had to do was catch the roach, place it inside the red circle and with the handy little hammer (that was free) granddad could bash the roach and know for sure that the roach had flew off to Roach Heaven. Granddad was offered this new, easy-to-use anti-pest device for the low, low price of two dollars tax included. Granddad didn't speak. My mom grew scared that he was about to kick the salesman out of the house, but he just pointed at the door and said nothing. End of demonstration.
I have to come clean. Someone, somewhere had to have a brainstorm when they put two and two together and came up with the idea that high-thinkers could sit down and make it (the anti-rat products) some of today's most-prosperous anti-rat industries. I could right now start an ugly rumor by asking one simple question: Do the huge anti-rat companies raise other breeds of rats that employees dressed in black Ninja leotards run through alleyways and basement areas of big city living areas and let these aggressive rats loose? No. But what a great Stephen King idea for a movie--maybe a "Willard" remake, huh?
At any rate, it's the rat, like it or not, who is at the center of this essay. It wasn't a fluke, I'm thinking. Someone eons ago in a cave dwelling where a woman cave dweller was in a frustrated fit for two reasons: one, her husband drank way too much swamp water that he accidentally fermented and passed out on his face. The lady cave dweller was still in fits the next morning when he had to get up, and even with this massive head ache, go after fresh meat--two legs or four. To her it didn't matter. And two: when she was moving her rock couch, oops, a six-legged, furry rodent-like creature with ears and a tail was enjoying some crumbs that had fallen under the couch when hubby was snacking on T-Rex tails . . .so there began a life-long relationship between the (prehistoric) rat and mankind.
Sometimes man gets the rat and sometimes the rat gets the man. (a nod to James Earl Jones, "Goody" Nelson, Gardens of Stone).
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© 2017 Kenneth Avery