The Cheese Stands Alone

Mouse will thieve no more

Not because anybody moved it, and not even because everybody refused to go near it. But rather, because I forgot about the cheese because the cheese was in the cheese keeper of my refrigerator, which is a cheese keeper in the sense that the elephant graveyard is an elephant corral. And now the smell of that cheese could probably repel nuclear weapons.

So, you know about the Dairy Continuum? This is a process unique in organic chemistry, whereby dairy products never actually expire; they simply become more expensive dairy products. So:

milk > buttermilk > yogurt > sour cream > cottage cheese > cheese > more expensive cheese

and so on.

Quel frommage, eh? (that counts as bilingual in Canada)

So, cheese. I like cheese. I’d like to say I eat a lot of cheese, but I do not, for I am not only impecunious but chubby as well, and cheesification is antithecal to my budget as well as my butt. But. Sometime I bust loose and cheesify, because hey, I gotta LIVE, baby, LIVE, before I die.

This brings me to the hardware store.

Well, actually not yet. It didn’t bring me to the hardware store just quite yet. What actually brought me to the hardwear store was the mouse. Mice. Meeses. Festering swarm of vermin rodents, seething up from the ravine and devouring all in their path, presuming All was my favorite cereals, grains and packaged foods, damn them. And so it came to pass that I chose to do something about them.

I could tell you exactly why it came to pass, but it’s too gross for this time of the night. You can thank me in the comments. Don’t say I never did nuthin for ya.

Let’s just say it looked like a teabag from that angle and how was I to know?

Anywhateverywhoo. And so it came to pass that I passed by the hardware store and passed, in fact, the portal thereof and proceeded to purchase a box of warfarin, sometimes known as Coumadin when they want to sell you some marked up to use on yourself which they do quite frequently in fact, and I myself was on it for many months which just goes to show you I’m hard to kill (speaking of which, did I tell you about the time a poisonous spider bit me, and it died?) but prosaically known as rat poison.

Now, this is a delightful little old hardware store up on The Drive of the type that never subscribed to the ridiculously provincial idea that a hardware store should sell only wares of a hard nature. Nooo indeed, and they were Italian to boot. Which meant that the front window featured Cloverdale paints on special, with espresso makers also on sale, pickling supplies ditto, and looming over them all a collection of plastic birdbaths and wholesome green Coleman camping stoves, plus the largest roasting pan in the known universe, presumably specially imported from Sicily for disposing of enemies in bayleaf-scented style.

So, naturally, what was up beside the till, where any thinking hardware store would have trowels and putty knives and keychains?

Nutmeg graters.

Now, the nutmeg grater is a kitchen tool with which you may not be familiar. Indeed, it was one with which I was not familiar, being notoriously unfond of nutmeg except well mixed into the eggnog with sufficient rum to ensure it’s completely dissolved (three ounces per serving should do the trick). Although I am familiar with the traditional way nutmeg is harvested in the Spice Islands, having seen it with my own eyes: the nutmeg dove, which looks exactly like a dove the size of a wild turkey, flies up to the nutmeg tree, where it unhinges its snakelike unhingeable jaw and swallows the small apple-sized nutmeg fruit whole. Eventually the seed works its indigestible way through the digestive tract and you can see why the nutmeg dove has to be so big at both ends, can’t you or do I have to fill in the dots?

Well, do I?

So. Nutmeg. Not really on my top five fave spices list, for obvious reasons. Have you ever tried to wash powdered nutmeg? Because you know where it’s been. Well, now you do.

So there was the little nutmeg grater, a harmless-looking impliment. It looks, in fact, exactly like a regular old four-sided kitchen grater with which your prissy aunt shreds carrots prior to floating them in an alien-looking and eerily glowing aspic salad.

Only smaller. Much smaller.

How much smaller? Think two inches from top to bottom, including the handle. And why would anyone who neither grates nor consumes nutmeg be interested in such an item, you ask? It’s quite simple, really.

Grated cheese is less fattening and more flavorful than chunked or sliced cheese, because of the greater surface area to volume ratio. So anyone who’s watching her cheese consumption but still likes to get her frommage on every once in awhile would naturally be drawn to such an item, and most particularly at the low, low price of only $3.50.

So I nabbed one of the little buggers and set it on the counter proudly beside my other purchase.

Upon which the little old Italian man behind the counter bent double with instant laughter.

Somewhat huffily I inquired, after he’d held on to the till and rocked back and forth enough times to need a breather, why he was laughing, wherupon he picked up the nutmeg grater and made grating motions over the rat poison, saying, “Oh, you’re kind! You treat the mice real nice, grating the cheese on the…” at which point he lost it again, I put ten bucks on the counter, and walked out.

14 thoughts on “The Cheese Stands Alone

  1. Well, when we have mice around here, which we do in spite of the hired cat who is very old and quite lazy and not that good at pouncing any more, we use the old fashioned mouse traprather than poison. There are a couple of reasons for this. The mousetrap is quite effective, especially when baited with cheese or peanut butter. There is the part of having to remove the dead mouse from the trap, and people who are squeamish sometimes have a hard time with that. Judging by the picture that graces this post, I suspect you aren’t particularly squeamish.

    The trouble with Warfarin is that it doesn’t always kill the mouse somewhere where it is easy to remove the body. It can be quite interesting to deal with the dead mouse decomposition smell when the body is in an inaccessible place. The other problem with warfarin is that if the mouse dies somewhere where another animal can pick it up and eat it, it will kill that animal also.

    Good luck with your infestation.

  2. Well, the thing I like about warfarin is, it makes them thirsty (and I can vouch for this, having been on it myself) and they go outside to get some water, and then they die there. Mind you, bad for the coyotes and buzzards who then eat them, it’s true.

    And actually, if there’s one job I hate above all others, it’s dealing with a dead, limp mouse in a trap. And a friend had those glue traps, but then had to deal with a still-living mouse that had struggled so hard it had torn off two of its own legs.

    Seth, thanks! It’s been awhile since I put out something this lengthy. I guess I shoudl take Contac C more regularly if I want to keep productivity up.

    Metchelllamamama, welcome, glad you liked it.

  3. I fail to see the humour. The modern mouse about town has refined tastes and would not be seen dead eating a common cheddar. Perhaps a triple Brie or a Transylvanian Feta will now suit the common herd. To really attract a quality and discerning mouse these days a Danish Blue with grated nutmeg and a glass of an aged ruby port is essential. Anything less will fail. I’m afraid your hardware merchant is way obsolete!

  4. You know, I could believe there might be a heifer or two in your neighborhood, if only until they finish dying its coat a different colour and filing off the serial numbers.

    But a virgin?

  5. “There is the part of having to remove the dead mouse from the trap”

    Really? Whenever I had mouse problems I just threw the whole thing away, mouse and trap, after picking it up with an inverted plastic bag over my hand. No fuss, no muss (and no more mouse). As I recall, the traps were quite cheap.

    “Pull the other one–it cures scrofula.”

    Ha! Almost back-snorted my coffee reading that one, Metro.

  6. I remember my run-in with warfarin once. Dad used it once in our house, and then there were no mice. Two days later however, my room was filled with the morbid stench of a dead mouse. It took us an hour to get the cursed thing out of a tiny slit in the cupboard frame. Sheesh, was that ugly.

    Though I sometimes pity mice. We humans slaughter them for being, well, humanly. For loving cheese, I mean.

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