You’ve seen the scene many times in the movies, travel magazines, postscards: Tall, beautiful palm trees etched sharply against a gorgeous early evening orange sky over Los Angeles. You want to go. Fuggidaboudit! Here’s the dirty little secret all City of Angels citizens know, but you don’t because you don’t live there, and if you’re visiting, the Chamber of Commerce keeps all of us from telling you. There are rats in those palm trees, way up at the top — big rats, rats the size of dachshunds. True story. At dusk, in some neighborhoods, wealthy and poor, you can see the occasional rat scurry down, run along telephone wires and drop down. At night, when the hot Santa Ana winds raise the temperature, they come down and drink from the swimming pools in Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Hollywood. Rats drinking from the swimming pools. Snap! Los Angeles can be a very dry place most of the year, and some water conservationists like to cover their front lawns with wide swaths of drought resistant ivy. The rats love those, too. I suppose there are rats with fear-of-height issues who disdain the palms. True story: Rodent elimination is a billion-dollar business in L.A. Bigger than recreational drugs. Those memories come to me today because of my own problems with rodents. I don’t have rats; I just thought you would like a different kind of Hollywood story instead of the same old piece about Amanda Bynes and Justin Bieber. So I started with that story to get your attention focused on a less exciting story about mice, tiny creatures that Walt Disney made a fortune on by giving them cute ears and buttoned pants. We all love Mickey and Minnie, but not actively living in our Cheerios. Last year, as my technician Brent at Toyota went looking for a problem in my Prius, he found that some mice, looking for warmth in my engine bed, also chewed up some wiring. A mouse chewed into my Prius. (read more at Kennebec Journal)
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