Of Mice And Men

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

For two or three weeks, an ad and an accompanying article have appeared on the local Asian newspaper about a position called Director Of Rodent Mitigation in New York City. It is not just a regular pest control position that offers a low salary, which is insufficient to pay for NYC’s skyrocketing rent. Rather it’s a very well paid job asking for a 5-8 years full time experience, a bachelor’s degree, a highly organized work manner, an ability to work with agencies like heath, hygiene, park, education, sanitation, transportation, small business, and Mayor’s office, a capacity for catching and killing rodents, and the knowledge in urban planning and policy management etc.

Basically it is a glorified mice catcher, who can get his or her hands dirty in catching the alleged 2 million mice living in the City, while at the same time keep his or her hands clean to attend meetings and give presentations and communicate with other officials.

Most of the NYC government positions never show up on our local Asian newspaper since most of us know that it’s useless to apply for those jobs. The city government has a unique way of recruiting people as far as Asians are concerned. Most Asians are recruited because they are the relatives of the Asians who are already working for NYC. I have a friend who got to work for NYC government because her husband’s family has been working for the city for three generations. Actually when she was dating, the prospect of getting herself a city government job through his family connection was one of the attractions of the boyfriend.

NYC’s government jobs are coveted by minorities and immigrants alike since NYC almost never layoff people unless there’s gross misconducts involved. Such a security is unheard of in any other places. Also the jobs are usually not terribly demanding, the hours are regular. Even though sometimes the pay is low, the pension is very good, in comparison with other industries, most of which have stopped offering pension plans decades ago. I know a person who has worked there for 30 years with her salary about $20,000 a year, but her accumulated pension has been more than 1 million dollars.

Now back to the mice problem. It is said that NYC’s mice has almost doubled their population since the pandemic started. I don’t know how accurate this information is. I wonder how the head count is done. Or without doing the head count, I wonder how the statistic sampling is done. Probably the residents find that it is twice as likely nowadays to see a mouse scampering across the street than in 2019. Based on such an increased viewing, people may be able to reach the conclusion that the number of mice has doubled. Anyway, it seems that everybody agrees that mice pose a huge problem.

I can remember that I saw mice three times in NYC before the pandemic. Once it was near Macy’s on Fifth Avenue and a little mouse suddenly came out of a corner, coughed blood on the street, and died not too far away from where I was walking past. Twice I saw big rodents more than a foot long, if you count the tail, when I was waiting for a train in one of the subway stations. They looked almost as big as a cat.

And I heard that there are professional mice catchers who train dogs to catch mice in and around NYC. It is said NYC’s mice are too big for a team of cats, and trained dog teams are the best candidates for such jobs. I even watched several YouTube videos on dogs catching mice in fierce battles of the back alley there, where garbage bins exist in every corner and food waste are always waiting for scavengers.

Actually when I was young and living with my grandparents occasionally in the subtropical Asian city they lived in, I heard about mice problems in the neighborhood. Sometimes those families would work together to clean up a mice stronghold or two. However, my grandparents never joined the neighborhood effort. They didn’t have to. My grandmother kept our place so clean and so devoid of food scraps that mice and cockroaches never came for a visit. My narcissistic grandmother scrubbed everything clean with such a ferocity that every earthly creature is a little frightened to come near.

“Leave her alone. That’s the only way to deal with a narcissist. She hates everybody so much and she vents her hatred on scrubbing and washing and cleaning indefatigueably.” I can imagine two mice talking with each other.

“Are you badmouthing about me again?” I can also imagine my grandmother yelling at me from the narcissist’s heaven where she has been living right now.

27 thoughts on “Of Mice And Men

  1. What interesting information you blog about? You need a college degree for rat catching, I guess the city needs smart people to outsmart the rats, on the other hand in Victorian England rats were kept as pets and also raised to take part in rat fights. I like your humorous approach to your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Only one cockroach? Wow, you are so lucky. You know in subtropical areas, cockroaches can be as big as your thumb. They fly, they swim, they run, they dive, they climb. It’s hard to find what they don’t do. And cockroaches just cannot be eliminated. I wonder why. I guess only my narcissistic grandmother could scrub and clean a place well enough to starve those cockroaches…

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    1. Rat fights? I heard about insect fights and cock fights etc, but I’ve never heard of rat fights. I guess Victorian era people were very eccentric. Wait, I heard about women fought bloody battles on stage during the Victorian era. I guess nowadays people are more civilized into fighting verbal wars or narcissistic battles.

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  2. We’ve had a rat in our apartment I think two times. Once when I was a child and once when I was a young adult. I’ve never lived in a place with such issues but I hear Toronto has lots of mice but I didn’t see any when I was there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. In college, I had rat problem once and the super organized a rat elimination party one day and really did a good job of eliminating all the rats. I was quite impressed. I guess it does take an experienced person to lead such kind of activities.

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