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Write a Better Article and Readers Will Pound on Your Door, Rats! (Essay)

Updated on October 16, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

The early guillotine rat trap that stated the rat(s) see the bait (cheese) and eat the food  sending the spring back and no more rats.
The early guillotine rat trap that stated the rat(s) see the bait (cheese) and eat the food sending the spring back and no more rats. | Source

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).

New Yorkers' favorite pet.
New Yorkers' favorite pet. | Source

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 3 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Dearest Sakina :)

      How are you? I appreciate you taking the time to read and then leave me this very appreciated comment.

      May God bless you richly.

      Keep writing your hubs and books.

      Peace.

    • profile image

      Sakina Nasir 3 weeks ago

      Hello, Kenneth, dear friend! :)

      I loved reading your hub about "rat-traps". Your experiences are fun to read. The most enjoyable thing in your hub, according to me, is the way in which you write with a touch of humor. Absolutely love it!

      Keep up the amazing work, buddy. :)

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 4 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Robert,

      Nice to hear from you.

      Thank you for your nice comment and I am sad that Amazon is not helping you sell your books. I am sure that your books are very good.

      Have you considered getting with a book agent?

      I hear that if you go through Books-a-Million or through a book publishing corp., you might get an agent to work with your materials and see what happens.

      You stay cool and eat those ham and biscuits.

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 4 weeks ago

      Thank you Kenneth. I have two books on Amazon. Of course as a self published author with no credentials as a credible author they have basically gone unnoticed. Occasionally one will sell and that always makes me feel good. If you have an Amazon Kindle I think you can download them for free. I have a family genealogical book and an eBook on the requirements for becoming a deacon in the Baptist Church. Check them out on Amazon under my name: Robert Elias Ballard.

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      Fiddleman 4 weeks ago

      Kenneth when I retired from GE in December 2003 I volunteered at our branch library and was soon helping to write a history book. My contributions were minimal and the book was dull and dry pure history. I decided to begin writing my memories of our mill town and the people that I knew. The first book,My Tuxedo Doesn’t Fit me Anymore,Memories of a Mill Village Brat was self published on Lulu. I made several revisions and later published the final version on Create Space. The book is now,Bulltown, Tuxedo a Cotton Mill Community. The second book is a compilation of 2 more books and is now Living the Good Life, Memories and Reflections. They are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. I sell maybe 2-4 a year!!! Of course I never expected more since I am no a bobafide author with no credentials, just Robert Ballard from Zirconia NC. I enjoyed the writing and now my boys and grandkids have those memories preserved. Most of my stories first appeared as hubs but now I have a hard time getting my hubs past the moderators.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 4 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Evening, Robert,

      Loved your remark. You should write a non-fiction book about your old mill and other things in your area. People are literally hungry to read about truthful things that only we have in the southern region of our country.

      Loved the Jerry Clower mention. He told one about a gopher being high on carbon monoxide that it got from the pipe of an exhaust pipe of a car running and it swaying to and fro not knowing where it was.

      Clower's brother, Sonny, killed it and then ran home to show it to their mom. Upon seeing their pastor sitting there, Sonny thought fast and said, "and then the poor thing went to Glory."

      I miss Jerry a lot. I know that you do.

      Thanks again for your wonderful talent. Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 4 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, RoadMonkey,

      You are so right. When you see one crumb and one rat, pretty soon, you have a gang of rats.

      I agree in watching about them for the diseases that they carry. If it were not for them being dangerous in that respect, I would like to have one for a pet.

      He/she could sit on my keyboard as I write. I would name him/her "Hub," suitable for male or female.

      Write soon.

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      Kenneth Avery 4 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @Kari:

      P.S. about the guy selling wooden blocks and a hammer, I am sure that he sold some . . .and he had to get the money up front and demonstrate the murder of roaches in a swift motion and then run.

      Just an observation. LOL.

    • kenneth avery profile image
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      Kenneth Avery 4 weeks ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      I want to reply with "Ladies, first."

      Hi, Kari,

      I appreciate your comment so much. In fact, I think that the Ninja approach (can be used) by those bigger anti-rat companies to just "let the circle keep spinning" by releasing hungry lab rats into the residential area and then sell pest control contracts to these citizens.

      But if I did approach these company, even with a copyright and patent, they would laugh at me and then in a few months, be introducing another anti-rat solution.

      Write me soon.

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 5 weeks ago

      Your story reminded me of the late country comedian Jerry Clower who told stories of rat killings in his hometown. In the cotton mill village where I grew up in the mid 1950’s we had a community barn. The barn was fairly large and was provided as a perk of sorts for mill workers who lived in mill owned houses and wanted to have a cow to supply their milk and butter. My daddy always had a cow and sold milk and butter to mill village folks. The barn was torn down in the late 50’s when the family owned mill was sold to J P Stevens. The taxing of the old barn that had been built in the 20’s was the lodging place of hundreds of rats of various breeds. Field mice and them big old wharf rats. The rats quickly found refuse in those old mill houses. Most with only 4 rooms and a trail. Daddy caught 24 in one night and crushed two when he sat in his favorite chair after coming home from his second shift at the mill. I don’t know just how long it took to eradicate all those rats but it seemed we were forever catching mice and pitching them in the bushes. The old mill had a community dump and some of the teenage boys sometimes had rat killings which I sssume was sorta a community effort to keep the rat population at bay. I wrote a hub about it some years ago. I think all the statutes of limitations have expired and the folks who subscribe to animal cruelty can’t find reason for prosecution.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 5 weeks ago from Ohio

      Your story of the roach trap is funny! I wonder if that man ever sold any. I also love the idea of ninja type people releasing giant rats in the cities. :)

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 5 weeks ago

      Spill a few crumbs on the floor and the rats will flock to your door. Rats are intelligent but they can also carry diseases. A rare virus is currently hitting rat breeders and keepers in the USA. Called Seoul, it causes high temperatures and can be fatal. A teen rat fancier caught it but wouldn't let the rats be tested or euthanized. 3 weeks later her mother caught it! A boy died many years ago in the town where I lived, after being bitten by a rat on a rubbish dump. Probably Weils disease. Rats, like mice, leave a trail of urine wherever they go.