THE WILL TO LIVE

Roommate in kitchen.

I think about the will to live every morning when I check the mouse traps in the kitchen. My kitchen has 9 different traps in it, and many more units of poison. I don’t know how to measure the quantity of green poison pellets that have been dispersed throughout my kitchen, but there are a lot. Every day I wake up and check the traps, and they are always untouched. Sometimes I find mouse poops near them.

We’ve plugged all the holes, so the mouse is trapped inside with us, and it’s only a matter of time before he stumbles onto a trap. Whenever I think about this, I say to myself, “Please may it not be a glue trap.” As you may know, the glue itself doesn’t kill. You must finish the job. And I’m told that at times like this, the will to live often complicates things. The mouse may scream and have mouse-conniptions. It may drag itself through a narrow space to pry the trap off. If that doesn’t work, some mice are so overcome with the will to live that they will chew their legs off in order to escape.

This is why I pray for it not to be a glue trap. Such a grisly, soul-killing ending with those. And besides, the glue traps make me think about the horrifying powers that are afforded to mice when the will to live is invoked. The will to live can make a mouse do Jason Bourne things, or it can make a mouse do extreme auto-cannibalistic things. The will to live can be kind or unkind, Christian or un-Christian; it can be savage and appalling or it can cite scripture to suit its purpose. It is for this reason perhaps a satanic force.

My roommate runs a catering business, and one time he saw that a waterbug had gotten stuck in one of the glue traps in the basement. When he first discovered it, the waterbug was thrashing around in total madness, trying to escape the glue. The next morning it was still trapped, and it was still writhing around in the grip of absolute mania. The bug was firing every twitch and synapse that it could to get out of the glue, but it was no use. There was nothing it could do. It was just going to starve to death, and probably soon, because of how exhausting it is to be in constant motion. But the waterbug was still alive on the third and fourth days, still flailing in vain, slowly drowning in glue. And then, on the fifth day, when my roommate went down to the basement, the glue trap was still there, but the waterbug was gone.

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