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Things they don’t teach you in school!

by Tim Tipping

Current Score in Rat versus Tim intelligence competition

Rat (Road Rat): 4 points —Tim (Wyle E Tipping): 1 point

Let me catch you up on how we got here.

So, a couple of nights ago we were awoken in the middle of the night by noises coming from inside our wall and the kitchen. In the morning we found oranges that had been partially eaten. It did not take a Super Genius to figure out that it was either a mouse or rat (considering the amount of noise I assumed that it was a rat). Maria suggested that I call our pest control company. I told her not to worry, I’d handle this myself. That day I picked up a couple of mouse and rat traps, they are not the humane types if you know what I mean (though this story can be comfortably read by animal lovers). I placed the traps around the kitchen baited with peanut butter. That night we were again woken up by noises coming from the kitchen. We waited for the loud clap of the trap catching our nemesis but it never came and we soon dozed off and woke to find the oranges showing signs of more rodent feedings. The score was then Rat: 1 point, Tim: 0 points.

Maria again suggests I call our pest control company. It’s Saturday, so they would not be able to come until Monday anyway, so I still have two nights to test my trapping skills. I figure that my trap placement can be improved with some rat psychological profiling. I put myself in the mind of the rat and revise the trap placement. Saturday night is a repeat of the previous night. Rat scores again. Rat: 2 points, Tim: 0 points.

Maria says something but for some unknown reason, I don’t hear it. The rat and I are now in a battle of wits. I have one other option but I am not confident in it. I go for it anyway and grab the Havahart® rat cage trap from the garage. This trap—if it works—will catch the rat but not injure it. I leave all my other traps in their current places and add the cage trap baited with peanut butter and bread. It is now Sunday and my last shot to catch our midnight menace. At about 4 a.m. I hear a loud thwap! The Havahart® cage has sprung and in it I hear the rat jumping around. I soon peacefully fall back asleep satisfied that I will not be outsmarted by the rat! Rat: 2 points, Tim: 1 point.

In the morning I show my trophy to Maria and she is delighted and impressed by my skill and perseverance. I do not enjoy putting small creatures out of their misery so I drive the rat to an undisclosed location where I plan to release it so it can fend for itself. I park and walk along a fence, then open the cage. The rat jumps out through the fence and makes a beeline toward my car. I curse to myself and begin to run to the car as the rat runs underneath it. I jump in, start it up, and take off while looking in the rear view mirror to make sure the rat was left behind. No such luck. I don’t see it behind me, which can only mean that it has jumped up into the engine compartment. I am now angry and in shock!

Nobody ever told me that this could possibly happen. Why is this not in high school or college textbooks? I now do what any genius would do and turn the wheel quickly left then right and slam on the breaks to try to dislodge it. No such luck. I rename the rat “Road Rat,” after the Road Runner in the classic cartoon, and correspondingly rename myself “Wyle E Tipping Super Genius.” The score is now Road Rat: 3 points, and Wyle E Tipping Super Genius: 1 point.

Back at home, I park across the street for two reasons—the neighbor across the street has a cat and if Road Rat jumps out during the day then maybe it will either go to the nearest house, or Mr. Cat will avenge my failures. I walk into the house and share the harrowing story with Maria. She is upset but doesn’t seem surprised (this throws me off a little but I choose to ignore the possible innuendo). Ten minutes after my arrival, Maria screams and I come running into the dining room and she is pointing outside toward my car. She is laughing because the cat is sitting on top of my car. I think to myself “yes, I may have solved this after all.” Maybe the cat will catch the rat for me. At about 11 p.m., I retrieve the car and park it in the driveway, according to city guidelines.

That night we hear the sounds of Road Rat snacking in our kitchen again. This time I do not fall back asleep! As of this writing, the score is Road Rat: 4 points, Wyle-E: 1 point.

Me “Hello, is this Chase Pest

Control?”

As I look back, I can imagine the conversation between Mr. Cat and Road Rat. Mr. Cat: “I smellllll youuuuuu, and as soon as you come out from that engine compartment I’m going to get you!” Road Rat: “I am pretty sure that is not going to happen.” Mr. Cat: “How can you be so sure?” Road Rat: “You know and I know that this city has an ordinance that does not allow for overnight parking.” Mr. Cat: “Yes, so?” Road Rat: “Well at some point tonight, Numskull from across the street is going to have to come get his car before he goes to bed and park it in his driveway right next to the opening to the crawl space that just so happens to run directly to his kitchen, and it is well known that cats sleep 95 percent of the time, and you and I both know that he drives a Prius and he is too cheap to pay a $100 fine to keep me from his kitchen.” (Not sure why Road Rat likes run-on sentences so much, but he does). Mr. Cat: “So?” Road Rat: “Well, the likelihood that you will catch me is less then five percent.” Mr. Cat: “Well, I would have tried harder, but that Dimwit from across the street keeps calling me Mr. Cat when I am actually Ms. Cat!”

I cannot make this stuff up. This is true story.

I am not afraid to put my name on this because some people who know me would not be surprised that I was outsmarted by a rat. What they don’t know is that rats are smart as “bleep,” and this is the lesson that you should take from this story!

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