Of mice and men. Again

by Pseud O'Nym

Because it was Thursday night last night, the tedious inevitability the air was rent asunder by the sound of ‘The Happy Clappers’. As any reader that has being paying attention to my misanthropic ramblings I have no time whatsoever for this absurdity, finding it both self-serving and a bit creepy. ‘Sappy Clappers’ more like. And it struck me that if somehow you were manage to combine this, the panopticon,

From the tower, a guard can see every cell and inmate but the inmates can’t see into the tower. Prisoners will never know whether or not they are being watched.

This was introduced by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. It was a manifestation of his belief that power should be visible and unverifiable. Through this seemingly constant surveillance, Bentham believed all groups of society could be altered.

If you added to this a bit of the 1970’s talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’, where the gimmick was the ‘Clapometer’, which supposedly measured the applause an act would generate from the audience. The winner was the one who garnered the most applause and got to appear on next weeks show.  So no possibility of a fix then. You thought talent show fixes were a modern thing? That the only scandal on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ was the scandal about text votes and not, as seems far more probable, having judges with no discernable talent whatsoever? Apart that is, for shameless self-promotion and pandering to the crowd?

And just for good measure, throw in a bit of ‘The People’s Postcode Lottery’ , which works, as the name implies, by choosing a random postcode and households that have singed up, win some cash. Combine that with the Clapometer and the panopticon and you’d have people clapping for hours to win some cash. They’d be too scared not too. Obviously for this to work there’d have to be some kind penalty, not to severe at first, so as to let them get used to the idea. But eventually one household in the least enthusiastic postcode would be chosen at random and be dragged off, never to be seen or heard from again. Isn’t my mind a joyful place!

But you don’t want to read about that! No, you want to know about the mousetraps, you want to know how we’re getting on with them, you want to know about this morning. Well, boys and girls, come close and I’ll tell you.

Marge declared herself not best pleased that the traps hadn’t been set, a pronouncement that wasn’t greeted with scorn that statement deserved. Don’t get me wrong, I think Marge is fantastic but sometimes – this being one of them – misguided. Joe was tasked with preparing the traps, something he had as much enthusiasm for as he had choice in the matter. He looked at the trap carefully, played with it, eventually declaring that the spring mechanism needed so much weight applied on it for it to activate the trap, so much so that it rendered it functionally funct.

Oblivious to this frankly unhelpful nit-picking, Marge then began discussing the merits of using peanut butter as bait, as if mice were gourmets with sensitive palettes’. Like they’d take one sniff and turn away in disgust thinking ‘It’s not organic, it’s not fair-trade, its…(sniff)…its….(sniff) SunPat!’ Apparently mice like peanut butter. Don’t ask me how or even why people know this but they do and Marge bought a jar of it specially.

Then where to set the traps was the next issue, because mice being known for their obliging nature, are bound to walk right up into the traps and allow themselves to be caught. I suggested to Joe that if the traps do catch any mice – a big if – then we should watch as it slowly uses up all the oxygen in the trap. Shouldn’t take long. We could have a competition. Obviously the medals would be awarded posthumously. But really is that worse death for a house mouse thanbeing released into the wild to be torn limb from limb and eaten?

Writing of the lottery reminds me that that today is a Bank Holiday, moved from Monday so as to allow us to celebrate something. However, the move hadn’t factored in the lockdown. That being the case, shouldn’t we have a Bank Holiday rollover, for later in the year?