When Analogies Go Bad

“Why don’t you give me something I can use?” I asked The Mothership as she crossed her eyes, tongue curled up, checking her top lip for stray capuccino foam. She’d spent the whole meal relating stories in her booming Teachers Voice, my mascara was smeared from laughing.

The Mothership loves telling stories and loves me regurgitating them on here. I’ve got a good one for ya, she’ll say on the phone. Or she’ll ask hopefully, Are you going to use this on your website? Huh huh?

But lately they’ve all been school stories, not ones I can repeat online without fear of retribution from the Department of Education or deranged parents.

She was in a somewhat melancholy, philosophical mood. She just told us about the little kid who wrote a “death threat” to another little kid on the toilet wall. With a piece of grass.

“Who would have thought you could write with a piece of grass?”

“Well some blades of grass are quite thick and juicy. Inky.” She looked into the distance, shaking her head sadly. “You know what’s happening here?” she mused. “We’re just like the rats and mice.”

Stunned silence from Rhiannon and I.

“Well, think about rats and mice. They breed like… rats and mice. Their world is so overcrowded and dirty!”


“And look what happened to them! Their world got crazy. So what did they do? They turned on each other. Violence! No respect! Biting each others tails off! Hitting each other on the head with hockey sticks! Some of them became cannibals!”

“Do you have evidence to back this up?”

“And that’s what’s happened to the humans. We’re going the way of the rats and mice. Everything’s dysfunctional. Overpopulated. And it makes me so sad. People just don’t care about people anymore!”

“But we live in the sticks, Mum. It’s not crowded here. You haven’t really thought this through have you?”

“Hey! This is something I’ve been pondering a lot. It keeps popping back into my head at night. So it must mean something.”

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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31 thoughts on “When Analogies Go Bad

  1. She does have a point there. Somewhere. Where I really don’t know.

    Which reminds me of the movie ‘Ben’. Oops, now I’ve got that silly Michael Jackson song doing laps in my head.

  2. Your mother is so wise…it’s the sticks NOW. But wait until later. It won’t be the sticks in 2050 (or thereabouts)…We all need to listen to your mother!

  3. Why just the rats and mice? Rabbits, too. At least she could cite watership down somewhere, or just yell “Bell-amy!” when things started to go pear shaped.

  4. the mothership is right. deaththreats written on toilet paper with a blade of grass is pure crazytown.

    whatever happened to good old fashioned blood, huh?

  5. For some reason there’s a line from the Woddy Allen movie “Manhattan” thant comes to mind.

    He’s revisiting his youth and finds himself all depressed. “What’s the point? The universe is expanding!”

  6. Ed – that’s the most stupid, patronising EVILLEST book ever printed.

    See? I’m so incensed about that book I’ve lost all grasp on the English language.

  7. Monkey, my beloved Monkey, a Monkey whom I will proudly kiss one day, as promised oh so many comments ago, I have only this rhetoric to answer with:

    Yes, the tome’s bad, but…

    Worse than any book written by L. Ron Hubbard?

    Worse than John Gray’s literal-minded relationship books that looks at planets in much the same way that monkeys stare at bananas (but not YOU, monkey; never YOU, of course!)?

    Worse than anything written by Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, David Duke, Tom Metzger, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Adolf Hitler, Stig Hornshoj-Moller or any number of self-incriminating WASP supremacists?

    Worse than the poetry of Rod McKuen?

    Worse than the prose of Edward Bulwer-Lytton?

    That’s a tall order there, sonny. In books, there’s the stuff that is bad and then there is the diabolical stuff that can only be touched with surgical gloves, lots of Vaseline and a preparatory roll in the hay. I suspect that you view “Who Moved My Cheese” to be somewhere in the former.

    Hmm…perhaps we’re all rats after all.

  8. Sweet Jesus, if the rats and mice in australia use hockey sticks as weapons. .. I’m staying put!

  9. Hmmm. I think your mother’s showing signs of beginning to become a batty old biddy.

    Her stuff about hockey-stick-wielding rats’n’mice is just too reminiscent of when a friend’s gran warned of the dangers of electrocution when using electric shavers. It was all to do with those soldiers, in the war, who had to march through all that mud.

  10. Beginning to become a batty old biddy? What am I saying? I’d forgotten that she’s already got an extensive collection of ornamental chickens.

  11. In my head-in-the-sand way I have missed the cheese book. As with all self-help-management-howcaninothatemymiserablelifetoday?-taketwooftheseandcallmeinthemorning books I kind of find this to be one of my stronger attrubutes.

    I would imagine Ed that there are a host of romance novelists who could even make Thomas Hardy a good read!

  12. Oh Ed, you know I’m deeply stupid and fond of the sweeping generalisations. I guess you’re allowed to pick on me if you preface everything with promises of illicit monkey lovin’… I guess…

    *sobs in corner*

    Whyy does everyone hate me??? whyyyyy?

  13. Scott–the movie ‘Ben’! Wow. I forgot all about that movie. All I remember was I had a lot of pet rats as a child and identified a lot with Ben and then something terrible happened to his rats. What was it? Did they eat everyone?

  14. Ben (the movie) was this Disney type movie released a LONG time ago (late 70’s I think).

    It was about a rat named Ben who was the leader of an army of rats who were taking over the world. Humans realized Ben was the ring leader and set out to destroy him as destroying him would fragment the army of rats. However there was this boy who loved Ben and understood him and tried (unsuccessfully) to stop the other humans from destroying him.

    I remember seeing this movie at the Drive In when I was around 9 or 10 years old and remember my sisters bawling at the end.

    The theme song from the movie was by Michael Jackson (long before the plastic surgery and him becoming famous). You’ll be able to download the song anywhere (if you do that sort of thing).

    I’m not sure if the movie itself is still available.

    Anyway, there’s my vague memory of the reference to Ben hehe.

  15. Monkey: Hate you? Hate YOU?!? Good god, dearest Monkey, you have not seen the giant Orwellian poster of your visage that I’ve plastered upon my ceiling. You are indeed the most specialisimo of monkeys. And if you continue with this low self-esteem, if you perpetuate these doubts, then I shall have to bestow my affection upon one of these other fine Pussycat commenters.

    BTW, just upgraded from Mozilla 1.1 to 1.2.1, Shauns, and the comment window is off. Oddly enough, it’s okay in IE 6. Haven’t checked it in Netscape or Opera. You and your bitches have some text wrapping work to do.

  16. If I were the militant leader of an army of rats hell bent on taking over the world I would not call myself ‘Ben’.

    The rest of the movie was completely believable though.

  17. The only pet rat I ever met was a male named Bartek. He had massive testicles that he would drag across anyone who held him. I wouldn’t hold him, rat balls not being my thing.

    So, we may indeed be like the rats and mice — things gang aft agley for me, anyway — but if men had balls as big, proportionally, as Bartek’s, it would be like running around with two grapefruits stuffed in our pants. And then all hell would break loose.

  18. Scott-wow thanks. I really did need to know what happened in that movie. I remember it differently. I desperately need to see it now. Thanks again…I hate fuzzy memories.

  19. When I saw the comments about “Ben” I thought of “Willard” with all these rats. Or was Willard the guy’s name who liked Ben? Every time I see that actor I still think of rats. Ed seems to have fully recovered from his recent ordeals. I must reply to slackjaw, that Thomas Hardy is definitely a romantic writer and I’ve always considered him a good read. Far From the Madding Crowd is a twisted wonderful love story. Guess I lucked out in never having heard about this cheese book. Shauny, your mother is much like mine when she was giving me advice.

  20. Ah, see, you’re all a bunch of children. The mothership was referring to a famous experiment that did the documentary rounds back in the seventies — they raised rats in overcrowded conditions and they quickly became overstressed and started to turn on each other — biting each others tails off, cannibalism etc. It was supposed to be a potent warning for Where We Were Heading — human beings weren’t supposed to live in or be influenced by overly urbanised societies. Don’t forget, too, overpopulation was one of the Big Fears for the cold war generation.

    She sounds a lot like my Mum. But now, mine has let overpopulation go and decided it’s all “bad chemicals”. And inbreeding. She can go on about inbreeding all day.

  21. My husband swears he seen our dogs picture with santa from pet smart on December 13th 2002.That is what I’m looking for can you help me out?His name is oreo he’s a black and white shitzu with a santa claus hat on getting his picture taken with santa at pet smart in Jackson TN. THANKYOU VERY MUCH DONNA KIRKPATRICK

  22. My husband swears he seen our dogs picture with santa from pet smart on December 13th 2002.That is what I’m looking for can you help me out?His name is oreo he’s a black and white shitzu with a santa claus hat on getting his picture taken with santa at pet smart in Jackson TN. THANKYOU VERY MUCH DONNA KIRKPATRICK

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