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Hello, reader, how was your Thanksgiving vacation? I hope yours was great because I ended up spending much of my vacation getting mice out of my parents’ kitchen. So, after a hard summer battling pests, I ended up battling pests on my first break in six months. You can always count on mice to ruin a good time.

Have you ever noticed how dumb those little hellions are? We humans have been oppressing mice for millennia and you’d think that a Spartacus mouse would have risen up by now and started a revolt, but nope, the boneheads keep bumbling into our peanut butter laden traps.  

Mind you, incited by a fearless leader, they’d be a force to be reckoned with. Imagine heading to your kitchen for a late night snack when suddenly you feel pinpricks in your ankles. You look down and see a platoon of mice shooting teeny arrows. You shoo them off with a broom and they retreat into your crawl space where their secret army base is located.

I guess the mouse rebels would have barracks and canteens that serve cheap grain alcohol. Fights would break out and blood would spill. Lady mice of ill repute would be hanging around, showing lots of cleavage. I don’t know if I’d be fascinated by that or just plain disgusted.

Hey homeowners, are drunken soldier mice singing lewd songs in your crawl space? Are they ruining your good times? Call Home Defenders now and we’ll put down that rebellion like those Roman legions of old. Hail, Caesar! (Sure, he had his faults, but at least he was a human being.)

Anyway, I got the critters out of my parents’ home. I don’t have to worry about guerrilla mice ruining our Christmas with their bawdy carols or whatever it is those lunatics do at the holidays.

Hurry up, Christmas, I need a vacation now!

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Rat catchers throughout history have gotten a bad rap. In this winter season when rodents battle to get into our warm homes, I’d like to celebrate this ancient and noble profession.

2640 BC, Egypt: One spring day, Pharaoh Khufu—who built the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World—watched in awe as his palace cat, “Khoofy II”, caught eight rats, one after another. Khufu was so impressed he bade his temple poet, Horus Sa, to compose a poem honoring cats:

 

The majestic cat, let us celebrate,

as the cursed rat we berate.

Oh, puss, your skills honor the gods,

as to your cuteness, well, we are awed. 

 

The love of cats—Mother Nature’s most efficient Home Defenders—has persisted through the millennia and is alive and downloading videos on our own “Great Wonder”, the internet.

 Khoofy II, we who catch rats salute you!

48 BC, Rome: Janus Antonius, a poor rat catcher in the neighborhoods near the Roman Forum, picked up curly metal shavings from a sword maker’s shop and wove them together, forming the world’s first steel wool. Alas, he had no use for it.

One day, seeing a rat run into a small hole in a barley granary wall, Janus realized that he could  plug the hole with his steel wool. Without knowing it, Janus had invented the art of rodent-proofing. The rest is pest control history.

Julius Caesar was so dazzled he rewarded Janus with twenty bags of salt, a precious commodity. Janus immediately became the richest rat catcher in Rome.

However, tragedy soon struck the innovative exterminator. In 45 BC, Janus was executed in the Coliseum for making a drunken pass at a particularly voluptuous Vestal Virgin.

Now that’s a rat catcher worth his salt!

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Quick, what’s the scariest part of your home? Is it the attic, ground zero for supernatural happenings in horror movies? Maybe. Is it the water heater closet, from whence comes many a weird gurgling sound? Well, only if Dracula is hiding in there with a case of indigestion. Is it the crawl space, home of rats, raccoons, poisonous spiders, and snakes? Provided you have a fear of dying a grisly death, the correct answer is “crawl space”.

I’ve inspected thousands of crawl spaces, and here’s the most common questions I get:

1) How often should I get my crawl space inspected? Every year. Crawl spaces are home to lots of destructive pests, including rats, mice, ants, termites, and so on. Most homeowners don’t even know even those critters are under there.

2) What’s it like squirming in a tight crawl space? Well, it’s a claustrophobic place where you think, “What if an earthquake hits and I’m trapped?” It’s a place where you pray you never bump into a live rattlesnake … or the corpse of the guy who did bump into a live rattlesnake. It’s a place where a man asks himself, “Did I go to college for this?”

3) Just what kind of man inspects grimy crawl spaces, anyway? Well, a good one who’s not afraid of a hard day’s work. But maybe one who goofed off too much in college … maybe he should have talked to his guidance counselor once in a blue moon … and perhaps he should have listened to his parents who really did know what they were talking about all along, darn it! 

But, ultimately … one who was never cut out for a white-collar job and who really does love his work. And when you call his company, Home Defenders, he’s more than happy to, ahem … use his college-educated head and send one of his workers to come inspect your crawl space!

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Hey kids, Uncle Pest Pro here! This week, I’m introducing “Kritter Korner for Kidz” and like the name says, it’s just for kids. So gather ‘round, munchkins!

What are we gonna do? We’re gonna hear about scary spiders! We’re gonna draw pictures of blind mice! And we’re gonna learn to holler, “Better call Home Defenders, mom!”

But first, it’s story time! Once upon a time—but really just this morning—I was telling my secretaries how I’ve been eating lots of fruits and veggies lately. “My weight is down to 146 pounds,” I proudly said. Well, it turns out that our bookkeeper, Auntie Nova, was not impressed. “That’s not enough for a big ol’ grown man to weigh!” she said, sounding like that bitter Wicked Witch of the West.

You know, kids, adults are funny. Sometimes they say one thing, but they mean something else. And do you know what Auntie Nova really meant? She meant that when pretty women are in the mood to, well, make kids of their own, they won’t be knocking on Uncle Pest Pro’s door. And that sure is a rotten thing to say.

But that’s grownup stuff and you can worry about it later. For now, eat lots of fruits and veggies … and get ready for the insults because, believe me, they’re coming. Heck, I think I’ll wolf down a milkshake and large fries because no matter what you do there’s no pleasing the members of a certain gender. And that’s not a sexist remark, either, I could be talking about men. Seriously, ladies, no angry emails.

Uh … hey kids, why the long faces? You know, gang … being an adult is all about taking constructive criticism and I just got a fun idea! Let’s all go to the gym and toss that big medicine ball and lift weights. 

A little extra muscle mass never hurt a kid or a big ol’ grown man!

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“Crazy?”

I just spoke with a regular Pest Pro reader who said, “I read your crazy articles every week.” And that’s not the first time someone’s described my articles as “crazy”.

What’s going on? I work hard to write a serious entomological column, complete with Latin names for bugs. And I was an English major, well-read in Chaucer and Shakespeare. Are some readers misinterpreting something? Missing something? Are my articles a Rorschach test into their own psyches?

None of my articles could be described as crazy. If you don’t believe me, just ask my imaginary companion since childhood, a pet rat named Cornelius. Hey Cornelius, do you think my articles are crazy?

CORNELIUS: Negatory on that, good buddy.

You see! He agrees with me. This is just a typical pest advice column, as dry and sterile as a surgeon’s scalpel. Right, Cornelius?

CORNELIUS: 10-4 on that. Breaker, breaker, there’s a smoky in the granny lane on the I-5 near the Grapevine.

Uh, sorry folks, Cornelius is obsessed with trucker’s slang. Just ignore that. But what you shouldn’t ignore is Cornelius’ advice on which company you should call for problem pests. Take it away, Cornelius … (awkward pause). Come on, Cornelius, tell the people who they should call when they need help with pests.

CORNELIUS: When you need help … git on down to Bobby’s Big Rig Emporium, serving the tri-state area since 1952.

Gosh darn it, Cornelius! Can’t you once in your cursed life do what your told and tell the people to call Home Defenders! Don’t you know who butters your bread? Get with the program!

Sorry for that outburst, readers. Just be sure to check back next week when I explain—in painstaking, sadistic detail—how to get rid of a problem rat.

CORNELIUS: Negatory on that, you’d go crazy without me.

10-4 on that, Cornelius. 10-4 on that, good buddy.