A Rubber Rat

May 17, 2010

We’ve had this rubber rat in our house. A souvenir from family reunion pranks many years ago. His name is Rodney, and he’s our pet.

For years, Rodney could be found in one room or another, sometimes with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and usually sporting a straw hat at a rakish angle. I’m not sure when he acquired the hat, but without it he’d just be any old rubber rat.

Before the hat, Rodney scared the shit out of me one night when I opened the kitchen cabinet to get a drinking glass. You see, I hate rats, and that little prank didn’t go over so well with me. But the hat made him Rodney, and the acquisition of the cigarette gave him a rebel quality, and he became ours.

When people would ask one of the kids about the big rubber rat sitting on top of the computer, he or she would casually say, “Oh, that’s Rodney. He’s our pet.” These days Rodney sits on the bookshelf in the office of our empty nest. Every time I look at him I smile at the liveliness of such an inanimate creature, and hope someday that my grandson will say: “That’s Rodney. He’s the family pet.”

A nice thing… a lively tribe can enliven the inanimate.

5 Responses to “A Rubber Rat”

  1. kenhoney said

    I love that idea. Frankly, though, I would rather have a pet toaster or something. A rubber rat is still a rat.

  2. Dale said

    Didn’t know your last name was Addams . . .

    It’s the little things they leave behind. Number One Son, for instance, left us boxes and boxes of stuff, which we had to go through when the basement flooded a couple of months back. One had every receipt from his college years from when he was at the CVS buying a pack of gum . . . . Ah, memories!

    Your post is sweet. Enjoy Rodney.

  3. Lunchlady said

    Love Rodney with the hat and cigarette and I could see where it would scare the crap out of you! I hate rats too!
    But I love most what he represents…

  4. Laura said

    I hate rats too. We currently have a pet skunk. Unfortunately, Skunky keeps running out of batteries, so he’s alternately sitting in the middle of the floor waiting to be tripped on, or he’s forlornly tossed on Jacob’s art desk. He wears a bright red piece of yarn as his “leash”. I vetoed the “pet” tarantula, which looked waaay too real for me!

  5. mattpaw said

    You’re not going to like this, Beep, and you might also decide to ban me from this nice place, but we have two live rats – Tinker and Belle – who live in a three-tier condo cage outside our bedroom door. They’re adorable. Dumbo rats, they are called, because of the floppy ears. They’re friendly and intelligent, and if I could post a photo here (which I believe is impossible – I know, you’re sighing with relief) you just might decide to rush out a buy a pair yerself. My dad, who hated rodents of any stripe, is undoubtedly trying to claw his way out of the grave at this very moment…

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