Road-ents

Katie called me today with some disturbing news.

“Murph,” she said.  “You know how before I left you warned me about that tick you found on your dashboard today?”

“Yeah,” I responded, recalling the large eight-legged blood-sucker skittering around my volume control, nearing digging into my skin like a mole.  “The parasite was big too.  I nearly crashed into an old woman and half-a-dozen parked cars before I could kill it.”

“Right, well I got off the interstate a moment ago when I felt something crawl along my feet,” Katie told me dramatically.  “I was like ‘Oh my gosh!  A spider! I got a friggin’ wolf-spider in my car.  It’s going to bite me and I’m going to die.’  Guess what it was?”

“I don’t know . . . a tick?”  Frankly I find ticks to be much more frightening than spiders . . . well at least the normal spiders we have around here, which are nowhere near as big as some of the South American varieties.  Those monsters kill birds.  Have you ever seen a spider take down a crow?  If so, I highly recommend the Delmarva area.

“No!  A mouse!” she nearly screamed over the phone.  “A mouse.  In.  My. Car.  And then when I got to BJs to meet Mom, there was another one in the passenger seat, munching on something.  Sitting on its hind legs like it owned the joint.  Murph, my car is infested with mice . . . Stop laughing!”

“Sorry,” I say wiping the tears from my eyes.  “Just be careful on the way home though.  Mice sometimes can chew through wires and stuff.  I don’t know much about your car, but I’m sure some of that must control your brakes, accelerator or your radio, right?”

“Oh thanks, Murph,” Katie sighed.  In the background Mom asks her which brand of trash bags we need.  Kate repeats the question to me.  I tell her the largest brand they sell with handles.  “ . . . yeah, the ones with the blue handles there.  Yeah, those.  Well, you know whose to blame, right?”

“Sean, didn’t necessarily bring the mice in your car, girl.”

Say hello to my little friend . . . “But he’s been driving it for the last few weeks, leaving me with no gas and a backseat full of empty drinks and McDonalds trash.  Mouse treats.  I probably have an ant problem too.  Army ants with my luck.  Or snakes.  Ugh, snakes . . . I’m going to kill him.”

“Well, they would get rid of your mouse problem . . .”

“Uh, thanks but no thanks.  I’ll take my chances with Mickey and Minnie . . .”

Pest Propaganda

Ehrlich Pest Control just posted a new series of commericials that had the boys and me cackling on the drive to school this morning.  Taking a cue perhaps from the Grimm fairy tales or the more bloody inspirations behind many nursery rhymes, the folks at Ehrlich (or their skilled ad agency) have devised the following songs, which I reprint from memory.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey
When along came a spider
who was dead right beside her . . .

The pest control company is mentioned then as the voice of storyteller fades away here, menacingly as if barely able to restrain her giggles.  Frankly the thought of a dead spider lying beside me as I sit down is actually much more frightening than a live one.  Does Miss Muffet continue to eat her curds and whey, shrugging off the dead arachnid?  She should at least consider the presence of toxic fumes.  Moreover, are not spiders more like Nature’s own pest control?  Is this the way Ehrlich deals with the competition  — like Al Capone in The Untouchables?

Hickory Dickory Dock
The mouse never ran up the clock
That’s because the Ehrlich-man killed him . . .

Again the frankness of that last line, perfectly executed by the storyteller — think Mr. Rogers, calm and soothing — brought us to tears, laughing and nearly rolling the SUV into the median.

The final ad was sung by a chorus of young giggling girls (perhaps daughters of the first Miss Muffet’s storyteller), which would sound creepy and unnerving regardless, but the ad compliments the tone by including their faux-innocent laughter as the song closes:

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran away from the Erlich-man
Who left them dead in the back of his van
Three blind mice . . . (music ends; girlish giggles fade into the company identification)

Shudder.  We nearly swerved into oncoming traffic on that one.  Doing away with all pretense of Disney’s happy singing mice, the ad really nails the head on what the company seeks to accomplish.  Honestly if I were any rodent I’d welcome the Erlich-man scythe as long as he kept those girls muzzled on a short leash. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the recordings on the web to humor (or unsettle) you for the rest of the day, yet I did manage to uncover this interesting gem: