Some rats have a bad sense of character judgement.
Slinky was the best rat of them all and I find myself thinking about him often. He's the rat, after all, that convinced me that one could cry, and cry a long time, for the loss of a rat (see "Two-dollar vermin can make you cry."). Slinky. It's hard to know where to begin. He was one of our ugliest rats. He was one of our youngest jumpers. He thought he was a dog. He thought he was a rat. He thought he was a slinky. He thought he could fly. He thought part of my pillow was his. Heck, he thought my bed was his (see "Sometimes you're part of the territorial dispute."). He stole food out of our mouths, and off of our plates. He was the first rat to ever lick us. That's an understatement. He was the first and only rat to give us a full body tongue-bath. He never ever peed on us humans. My fondest memory of him though was how he was so squishy, so soggy, and how soft and perfect his fur felt. I could spend hours just rubbing his belly. Just in case you're wondering, our statistics show that Slinky's come out about every one in 100 rats. At any rate, let me get to the story.
Because Slinky was so great, we gave him a lot, maybe even too much, freedom. As an example, on a nice warm, but not too warm day, I decided to take him for a walk. The leash thing didn't work, so we just followed each other. We followed each other all the way across campus to Astronomy class. These guys wanted to meet the almighty Slinky after all that I'd said about him. Having Slinky along made the trip a lot longer than usual because we had to stop and smell under the bushes, and of course inspect all the feet walking by. We also got stopped by a lot of students who, as a result of their years of higher education, came up with the same witty response every time, namely "Is that a RAT?" Indeed, he looked like one.
We slink our way into the classroom and I gave Slinky a lift to the desk. Everyone was feeding Slinky and letting him drink out of their Coke and Pepsi cans and Slinky willingly partook of the Pepsi offers (see "The Pepsi Challenge!"). He also ate more vending machine foods in that hour than I think I've eaten in my entire lifetime. He's really fond of those peanut-butter-filled cheddar crackers. Anyway...
Class begin and a late arrival entered the room. Slinky flops off the desk and chases after this guy who practically climbed the desk when he saw him. The teacher laughed and told the guy that he was a classmate for a day and to sit down. Slinky followed this guy to the desk where I was sitting and clambered up the guy's leg, hopping back onto the table. He curled up on the poor guy's notebook. He also whizzed on the poor guy's notebook. I felt really bad. I felt really bad, that is, until break when I found out that Slinky's newfound friend had not one but two snakes. Two very large snakes. What was Slinky thinking?!
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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not
one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed
and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes: