My Scar Stories


I ♥ Vermin (but They Don’t ♥ Me) defines vermin as “small animals that are troublesome to man.” Bunnies, raccoons, foxes, chipmunks…they’re all vermin. But, aww, I mean, just look at ‘em!

Heck, I even think rats are cute. Yes, I know about the Black Death, but technically that was caused by bacteria on fleas, hitching rides on rats. I mean, do you arrest a trucker just because some dudes with drugs stowed away on his trailer? OK, so rats could do a better job on personal hygiene, but still…

And mice? Forget about it. Each time our cat Misha captures one, I take it away from her, look into its shiny little eightball eyes, and then set it free in a local forest. The last time Misha caught a mouse, she dropped it in my lap, as if to say, “Here, Mr. Sensitive, you’ll probably want to ‘save’ this.”

I can’t help it. I ♥ vermin.

But they don’t ♥ me. A cosplayer at a Renaissance festival had a pet ferret. I smiled. She said, “Go ahead and pet him. Nigel likes it.” So I put out my hand, and Nigel promptly attempted to separate it from my arm. As I raced to find post-Elizabethan toilet paper to stanch the blood, the woman shouted, “What did you do to him? Now he’s all upset!” I wanted to ring her neck. With Nigel.

Both the high and low points in my vermin-loving career came when we moved to a townhouse in Burbank, California. Several squirrels lived in the pines out front. One, whom my wife dubbed Nutkin, spent most of her time digging up our potted plants. So one day I set down a pile of almonds near her. From that moment on I was her dealer. The minute she spotted me in the morning, she’d leap onto the screen door and rattle it until I brought her “her almonds.” By week two, she was stuffing her cheeks before I walked away. By week three, she was eating them out of my hand. So by week four, certain of her love, I reached out to pet her.

I know. Stupid idea.

Really stupid. 

By the time I’d shaken her off, Nutkin’s teeth had pierced my digital phalanx to the bone. By comparison, Nigel the Ferret’s nip had been playful tickling. My index finger exploded like a Texas gusher. Once I’d sealed the hole, my finger turned the color–and size–of a ripe eggplant. Two things disappeared that day: 1) my fingernail, 2) my idiotic notion that vermin are pets. There’s no way… Oops, gotta go, there’s a chipmunk outside and…

He’s so cute!

To read my next Scar Story, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Story Power and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to My Scar Stories

  1. Pingback: My Scar Stories | Mitch Teemley

  2. Ha! So true! Beware the vermin!

    Raccoons are often the problem in these parts. So cute, but they do have claws, teeth,and they growl just like a bear. No kidding,I used to throw rocks at them to chase them away from the garbage cans, but they learned how to throw them back at me. If they get really mad at you they will actually climb onto your roof and start pulling off tiles. People move here and they like, “oh they’re so cute” and than a few weeks later, “stupid raccoons broke my window and ripped a hole in my roof.” Yep,that’s why people like to wear them as hats.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. There are times I worry about you dude. Seriously, a pet a squirrel? Perhaps there is some intervention program or therapist who can help you with the “cute vermin” syndrome. Please seek help before the raccoons, find out where you live. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Relax... says:

    I shush off all creatures, immediately, lest they smell as easy a touch as Mitch Teemley. I saved a baby skunk once. Who bit through my fingernail. And the ER guard asked me to wait in the parking lot for the doctor to come out, since I’d been sprayed at least 42 times’ worth. They’re cute, though. :-p

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Unfortunately, I never had a skunk to cure me of my delusion–a cure that was undoubtedly worse than the disease! Although Squirrel Nutkin did a pretty good job; we have dozens in our yard in Cincinnati, and I’ve never even considered trying to pet one. Ditto the deer (though, I’m tempted), wild turkeys, red tail hawks, moles, possoms, raccoons, groundhogs…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. schoen55 says:

    Love it! In a time when there is so much conflict swirling around us – your Scar Story made me laugh. I too, think vermin are cute …from a distance. Although I had mice, hamsters and guinea pigs as pets before I moved onto dogs….Thanks for the chuckle!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. smzang says:

    You have a true gift (for getting scars and for the best writing ever!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tinagk says:

    Haha! Loved it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First the peacock, now the squirrel….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ekurie says:

    Some scars I think are truly well-deserved, as you point out,I still have mine on my knee from the homer with a rock my brother hit with a glass bottle …..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We’re bird watchers, so we have lots of feeding stations. The squirrels LOVE the feeding stations and empty them out as quickly as they can. We buy the organic stuff, so that gets real expensive real fast, but we like sharing with the squirrels, too. Resolution? We got the heavy duty Nerf squirt gun that squirts a powerful stream of water over 100 feet. Spot a squirrel, let him get a few nibbles, then head out the door with the Nerf gun. The squirrel takes a flying leap off the second-story balcony (he thinks he’s a flying squirrel), runs to the trees and turns around to say ‘nah nanny boo boo.” And we’re squirting him the whole time. He had so much fun that eventually he began coming to the screen door and shaking it to get our attention – “Come play squirt gun with me!!” Happy to oblige. He is so CUTE!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Jennie says:

    One great scar story, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. lam0beaner says:

    Love your post! No so funny for you but crazy funny for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ellen S. Tompkins Sanchez says:

    I adopted a hamster from a friend of mine, she couldn’t keep it for whatever reason. Well, one day I opened the top of the cage and looking down at it, talking cute little baby talk to it, saying how cute it was, it decided to jump up and proceed to eat my bottom lip. I ripped it off my face and chucked the little f…er against the wall. And he just nonchalantly scampered down the hall.
    I guess I figured out why she couldn’t keep it.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Satyadev says:

    I wonder that man still have such kind affection towards animal. I like it !

    Liked by 1 person

  15. brunniegetchell says:

    You are much braver than me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ann Coleman says:

    Thanks for my first laugh of the day! Vermin are cute, especially mice, but best admired from a distance. Or at least when wearing padded gloves.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Scars are our tales in life, aren’t they? I love how the Lord had gifted you to weave your tales of whoa into tales of whoa! If life gives you crap, make fertilizer.

    Off topic, sort of. Did we ever exchange website info for our projects? Let me know and I can send you a link.

    In Christ, Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  18. 😂😂😂 I think you might just be a little bit of a Nutkins yourself… the good kind, of course! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Averyl says:

    I ♥ vermin made me giggle. I, too, ♥ vermin!

    Liked by 1 person

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