Almost killed an innocent mouse

I call her Minnie. She’s played an important role in my work for more than a year now and I’ve been grateful for her company and reliability. I keep a supply of double A’s on hand to feed her, but she’s rarely hungry. Streamlined and stylish, Minnie is the perfect size for my hand and rocks a hot pink graphic on the back of her sleek black body.

Minnie mouse
Sweet Minnie

But lately, I can’t deny that she’s become a bit sluggish. I tried changing her battery, but she continued to drag across her pad. Sometimes she’d even hesitate, as if catching a breath. This was not the Minnie I knew and counted upon to perform like a speed skater on an Olympic rink, whether answering emails or building spreadsheets or even just taking a break, playing Pyramid or FreeCell.

Life is short, and the life of a mouse even shorter than for people, or even most other pets.

But Minnie is perfect! Exactly the right size and easy on the eyes! Before I could resign myself to replacing her, I decided to examine her little body to see if there was anything I could do to prolong her life.

And here’s what I discovered:  Minnie has four tiny feet, and those feet were gummed up from trying to fly across a yucky pad. Her poor performance was through no fault of her own! When I think about the hastily-wiped coffee spills, cracker crumbs, powdered sugar residue (and resulting dog licks) and other inadvertent acts of desecration to Minnie’s pad, I am ashamed. The colorful Frank Lloyd Wright mouse pad purchased as a souvenir from Taliesen West a couple years ago is the one ready for retirement – or at least due for a serious scrub.

I tenderly cleaned Minnie’s feet with alcohol and a cotton swab, removing a year’s worth of sticky grime. I used a little Dawn and warm water to restore her pad. And guess what? She is zipping around like a brand new mouse! I’m not sure which of us is happier.

So, please, if your mouse seems to be letting you down, don’t jump to conclusions, as I nearly did. Clean its little feet, maybe feed it a new battery, and for heaven’s sake, make sure it’s living on a clean pad. The mouse you save may be your own. Spread the word.

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