Okay, okay, so you’ve guessed it.
Indeed, I am cousin to that most famous of all frolicking rodents, that one with the high-pitched voice, the pristine white gloves, the hair-thin tail, and the bland and unthreatening grin.
Yes, you know the one I mean. The one that, though he’s now pushing 85 and has a deuce of a time getting those cute little red shorts with the big white buttons on without help, is still the love of every 5-year-old on the planet. The one that has, almost single-handedly, spawned an entire empire of television shows, specials, cartoons, movies, theme parks, networks, cable channels, and enough mousey memorabilia and merchandise to keep fully one fifth of Southeast Asia gainfully employed.
But, unlike my Cuz, I am not a Mus musculus (a common house mouse), nor are my gloves ever pristine white. I am instead a proud member of the mammalian order of moles, a Talpidae scalopine scalopus. (By the way: interesting and coincidental side note: my favorite meal happens to be veal scaloppine! But — drat! — you’d be amazed how many miles of mud and muck and gravel and earth and roots one must burrow through before one runs across any decent veal or mushrooms or sauce.)
Looking back, I guess I could’ve taken a different path, and perhaps been as rich and as famous and ubiquitous as my cousin. In fact, I was right by his side at the very beginning. We were both friends of young Walt, and I was my relative’s stand-in during the filming of Steamboat Willie in 1928. Boy, I spent what seemed like hours bouncing and swaying in that wheelhouse, whistling away the time, while everybody ran around frantically trying to rig the lights and figure the camera angles (and the Star-To-Be was in his trailer getting fitted for yet another pair of oversized golden shoes!).
All that time under the klieg lights took its toll on my eyesight, until I could no longer stand the average brightness of a normal day in Hollywood. So, what could I do? I went underground, and I’ve never looked back. I dig it in the dark and dank, and it’s not half as bad as you might think. Sure, you spend most of your time with a mouthful of soil, but that’s nothing compared to the stuff you have to stomach on most jobs. (Remember last month, when you were the only one that got stuck staying late doing inventory because that knucklehead in the next department screwed up?)
I might be going 24/7 facing a long line of rocks and rubble between me and my goal, but I consider myself lucky I’m not going 24/7 facing a long line of backsides between me and the boardroom. Go ahead, kick dirt in my face! Doesn’t faze me! I have my health and my independence and my livelihood. I get to branch off in my own direction, whenever and wherever I want, and the Earth is the limit!
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