Tuesday, 16 July 2013


"I just thought I'd tell you that I buried Mousey in the front yard," Nick told me the other day.
Mousey, Shyla's hamster, had recently passed on after nibbling on a final meal of pizza crust.
He had been ailing for about a month and Nick was trying to figure out a humane way to euthanize him, perhaps, he thought crushing a few Tylenol into his grub. As it turned out, thankfully, the rodent took the final journey on his own and was found feet up on the bottom of his cage.
The kids arranged a proper burial for him. Nick told the baby Skylar that Mousey had gone to heaven which, in my view, is a cheap out.
My daughter Marissa also recently lost her own hamster, Moo, who had been living a horribly sedentary life choosing to shun his hamster wheel in favor of reruns of Wheel of Fortune.
I'm not sure whether Marissa buried Moo or just put him down the garbage shute as I would have done.
I don't care about Mousey or Moo one way or another.
I hate hamsters.
I'm saying, hate.
I have my own sordid tale of hamster love which ended badly for me at the age of six.
At Christmas that year, my mom bought me two hamsters, Herman and the other one -- I can't remember her name. I can't remember her name because she got pregnant immediately and her name became Mama.
One morning I got up and found the little ones inside their cage and Mama Hamster nowhere to be found. We looked all over the basement and Grandpa finally found her floating in the cistern.
I was inconsolable.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Mama couldn't face her family responsibilities and had committed suicide.
What were we to do with all the little hamsters who were just days old?
Grandpa had the solution.
He went to his workshop and came out with an eye dropper filled with some kind of mystery mixture, perhaps a mix of milk and lard, or something. He let me feed the little hamsters several times a day until they became old enough to eat hamster pellets.
I was so proud of myself, the little hamster keeper who had saved the little orphans.
I told all my friends. I even started a science project on Bristol board.
One day, I went to the basement to feed them and I came upon a scene that even Wes Craven could not imagine.
In one cage, Herman was minding his own business inspecting his wheel. In the other were three hamsters, all dead, two with the flesh eaten from their heads. They appeared to have been cannibalized by one of the siblings in what can only be described as a murder suicide.
Even as I write this, I can still conjure up the image of the tiny little skeleton heads with furry bodies. I have never been able to get past it.
I had Herman for a few more months, until one day I found him dead, standing up, pointing to something outside the cage. I was told he had died from distemper.
I'm not sure.
I think there is a whole sinister world that exists in the hamster community.
Definitely not what we were duped into believing by Hammy Hamster.


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