Saturday, April 27, 2013

Let’s Have a Heart-to-Heart Talk about Mice

Who among us does not recall, and recite from memory, the well-known lines of überScots poet Robert “Bobby” Burns?  (Well, Henry doesn’t, but he can be left out of account.):

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
     Gang aft agley,

Many people ask me, “What’s with that ‘gang aft agley’, anyway?  Where’s that at?”   And I answer:  Burns was a Scotsman, dummy, plaid to the core;   Scotsmen talk funny, as you can verify from any episode of “Monty Python”;  next question.

But the real reason I called you all here today, is to lay out the sober truth about a different, and little-noticed, problem with that poem:  the best-laid plans of mice.  Their plans (“schemes” in Scots) are not actually very well-laid, if truth be told.  Oh, they’re frisky little fellows, and furry enough, twitchy little whiskers and ears like a Mouseketeer -- but they don’t really specifically plan things.   They just sort of -- scurry around at random, and whatever happens, happens.   Perhaps if they would do just a little more planning, they wouldn’t be eaten so much, in abundance, mouthful after tasty “mouseful”, by just about every other animal you can name.   But -- Che será, será, says the mouse.

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