Am I man or mouse? Depends on your viewpoint

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

It's shocking to realize the enduring power of the printed word. First I write a column about a giant, possibly rabid squirrel attacking innocent people in a Florida long-term care facility activity room, and next thing we know a 91-year-old resident in a New York assisted living facility stocks his fridge with hand grenades.

Word to deed. Cause to effect. Clearly, the hand grenades were intended to fight the growing threat of squirrels. I write — people act. It's a sobering responsibility.

Though in no way do I support or encourage the amassing of live munitions in a long-term care setting, I understand the blind fear that possibly drove his misguided decision. That's because recently my home was invaded by ravenous mice.

The battle started at about 3 a.m. when I stumbled from bed to the kitchen in search of an insomnia-soothing snack. Opening an eye-level cupboard, I found myself face to face with a vicious, pointy-nosed fiend of undetermined size. He sat there frozen and staring, clearly as surprised as I was, and I did what any self-respecting coward would do — quickly closed the door and went back to bed.

Being a compassionate Canadian, my ensuing fight against the Rodent Kingdom started the next morning with a commitment to life and non-aggression. But after live trapping and releasing four of the voracious little critters, or more likely the same mouse four times, I would gladly have pulled the pin on a grenade, had one been available in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator.

I'll spare you the gruesome details and just say that eventually I won the battle after fighting them under the sink, in the pantry, on the counter-tops — and vowing to never surrender. But it wasn't easy or pretty, and next time I might just call that New York senior to see if he has any West Coast connections.

All of which brings us full circle back to the threatened repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and a replacement bill that appears to have been written by a squirrel carrying a hand grenade. If only we could close the door on that monster and just go back to bed.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.


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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.