Thursday, December 08, 2005

Nicky Battles A Temptation. Temptation Wins

Yesterday, I worked from home because K10 ChinchillaBoy was sick. He has a cough and a fever. While I was busy doing work stuff, he decided to play with, who else? - Nicky the chinchilla. It all went very well until Nicky crawled under the dishwasher and stayed there for an hour. He refused to come out. When you reached out to catch him, he squeaked and dug further in.

He tried to chew on electric cords, which almost gave me a heart attack. That’s when I discovered something new and disturbing about myself. I realized that I care about our dishwasher a lot more than I care about our chinchilla. Some pet owner I am. I told ChinchillaBoy, and I quote, “if he breaks it, he’s a fur coat!”

That got ChinchillaBoy thinking. He took a series of desperate attempts to lure Nicky out of his new hiding spot. He placed Nicky’s dust bath in front of the dishwasher. Works like a charm in most situations, but, this time, Nicky refused to come out even for a bath. Thirty minutes later, the floor in front of the dishwasher was covered in hay, raisins, dried apple rings and all things pleasing to a chinchilla’s heart. But still Nicky wouldn’t come out.

We went around the kitchen counter and started banging on the walls with our hands, feet, and various kitchen appliances. We shined the flashlight on our chinchilla and we poked him with spatulas. That got Nicky’s attention and he moved to a different spot. But he still didn’t come out.

Exhausted, we plopped down on the couch.

“You know, ChinchillaBoy”, I offered, “this could be like a story of a teenage kid who chooses a bad lifestyle. He has sex with multiple people, does drugs, I don’t know… drives drunk, whatever, and, when people try to talk him out of it, he wouldn’t listen. He thinks he’s having the time of his life. What he doesn’t realize is how dangerous this is, and that he could end up dead. Just like our Nicky sitting under the dishwasher. Do you think it’s a good analogy?”

“No”, replied ChinchillaBoy, ever the supportive son.

After a while, my patience ran out, and I went to check on little Nicky. He was still under the dishwasher, fast asleep. (Wow, so chinchillas really are nocturnal.) When he heard me, he opened his eyes. I gave him a piece of dried apple. He snatched it from my hands. That was a bummer, because I had planned to lure him out with it. But that also meant that Nicky’s front paws were now occupied with the apple. He was getting hungry (they don’t feed you well under the dishwasher), and he didn’t want to put the apple slice down. I tried to grab him – he hobbled away on his hind paws, holding the apple slice and chewing on it at the same time. Wow, that apple really slowed him down. Another two minutes, and I was holding the squeaking chinchilla with my both hands. Very carefully, I pulled him from under the dishwasher and put him back in the cage.

I wonder how to tie this last piece into my teenager analogy. “If your teenager goes astray, just stop feeding him for a while, and he will come back for the food”?

“Distract him, then grab him and drag him home”?

“Seal off the exits and he won’t go astray in the first place”?

“What works for a chinchilla, won’t work for a teenager”?

I’m out of ideas. Dang, that’s too bad. That was a good analogy, too bad I cannot think it all the way through.

The Goldie has spoken at 9:02 AM

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