Hey, you said get rid of the pests…

April 6, 2010

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Today I was recounting the story of the Pied Piper to a dear friend, suggesting that my friend could have used a more humane way to have killed the mice in my apartment three years ago (since he’s just about to kill a mouse living in his apartment—formerly our apartment—when he gets home today):

.

Me: If you kill it, you’re a murderer.

Eddie: …if you’d live there still…you’d want it dead. IN FACT – you gave me the task of doing that at the old place on Honore and Milwaukee.

Me: I told you I didn’t want to know what became of them. I just wanted them to not be there.

Me: I didn’t expect you’d kill them

Me: I just…..I don’t know…..thought you’d start piping and they’d all follow you out….

Eddie: What?! You expected me to play a tin flute and have them follow me out the door and down Milwaukee Ave?!?!

Me: And out of the city, yes.

Me: Don’t act like that’s unrealistic when you know damn well you’re just being lazy. It can be done.

Me: It’s done all the time.

Eddie: FALSE

Eddie: It cannot be done.

Eddie: I don’t own a tin flute, and I don’t play one!

Me: You didn’t own mousetraps before we had mice either, but you bought those.

Eddie: Where the fuck am I gonna get a tin flute?

Eddie: You know what…it doesn’t make a difference. This is stupid.

Me: Just because I’m making sense does not make it stupid, Eddie.

Eddie: No sense, whatsoever!

Me: Alternatively, I suppose, you could have tried a recording of flute music and danced holding something that looked like a flute.

Me: They’d never know the difference.

Me: But I guess some people can’t be bothered.

Eddie: [he inserts AIM angry face]

And then the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin really sunk in. How is this a story told to children? It’s horrifying! Not to mention, what kind of shady-ass deal is that?

The Pied Piper nances into town and tells everyone he can deal with their rat problem for a fee. Fine. That makes sense. So, the townspeople are like, yeah, shit, get rid of them if you can. Then the Pied Piper plays a little whimsical tune on his pipe and leads all the rats out of the city and into a nearby river where they drown (Daley, are you reading this?). Doesn’t sound like hard work to me. In fact, there was music, there was dancing, I don’t remember hearing he got bitten by any of these rodents or contracted a plague of any sort—sounds like a decently good time. Like the Mary Poppins of pest control. Let’s not forget how much fun it was to tidy up the nursery. For every job that must be done there is an element of fun; we all know that, don’t we, gentle readers?

So, the townspeople are like, “Yo, that was nothing. You wanted us to pay you these inflated prices for something that required little effort and like 1 billable hour on your part? Screw you. I’ll give you half that.” Or, depending on what version you read, “Screw you. I ain’t payin’ it.” Now, granted, the latter is a pretty tight-wad way of dealing with it, but still.

And the Pied Piper is like, “Oh, I see. No, no. That’s fine… Uh, no worries here… Why don’t you all just go to church, and I’ll hang back here and just make sure I’ve gotten all of them? Yes.” And then, naturally, he leads all their children to death in a cave, and some sources say molestation and dismemberment.

I’m sorry, what? Did I miss a step? The townspeople got cheap on a rodent job the Piper was already overcharging them for, and so he exterminates all their kids? Say, what kind of piper is he, Chicago Local 597??

…Joke. Sheesh…

Am I wrong, or is that is a total overreaction on the Piper’s part? Like, whoa whoa whoa, I don’t think it really called for that. Maybe short-sheeting their beds or ordering a bunch of pizzas to their house or something. Leaving bags of flaming feces on their doorsteps.

Can you imagine hiring an exterminator for silverfish, then the guy comes to your apartment in a pied hazmat suit and goes “Hey you, silverfish! Scram!” And the silverfish take off as he’s handing you a bill for $4,000. And you’re like, “Dude, I will pay you about $100 for that; there was virtually no labor or cost of materials involved.” So, he’s like, “Fine,” and shoots your toddler? “Guess we’re square then.” You would be pissed. Because that is a completely inappropriate reaction in the dispute. If anything, he could try haggling a little. And did he even bother to get the deal in writing? No. He just twirled around in two-toned clothing playing on his little musical instrument.

Ridiculous.

In case you were actually interested, some historians postulate that the idea of the Pied Piper was really just an allegory of death falling upon many children of the area, possibly due to the plague. More widely believed still is the theory that this story was used to explain the disappearance of the children when many of them emigrated to found their own villages during the German colonization of Eastern Europe. …And there are a number of other theories that involve things likely not written by Albert Camus or William Golding, too, if you find either of those last two theories to be too rooted in fiction.

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