In which a woman trolls her husband, at the urging of My Missus

While I do enjoy a reputation here as a predictable straight-shooter, fully dedicated to the extermination of ignorance and falsehood I do, from time to time, engage in some minor linguistic tomfoolery. My family, much to their ambivalence, is never really certain when I am providing important life instruction, engaging in what is almost surely a ramble indicative of slowly-progressing early senility, or applying the shovel to the BS faster than Casey Jones feeding a locomotive. Why just last week my eldest (in nursing school) asked me for clarification regarding a certain question of anatomy expounded upon years ago by myself, as she found herself at loggerheads with her professor on the same subject. I reminded her the truth of the universe is less important than the truth held by someone who has something you need, and that the right thing to do in this case is to parrot whatever foolishness her professor was advancing. But I digress.

The Missus was recently at a local salon, indulging a lifelong obsession with colorful fingernails. The patron seated next to her, an elderly woman along with her adult daughter, both of similar mind as The Missus concerning fingernails, received a text from her moderately flummoxed husband. Evidently, the dogs had gotten hold of a live rat and were tossing it around the yard. Unable to determine whether or how to manage the situation on his own, he turned to his life partner for guidance. However, he did have the wit to send a photo of the pathetic creature, presumably to assist the matron in wisely adjudicating the matter. My Missus, as has been explained elsewhere, is a notoriously social soul and soon found herself involved in this unfolding drama. Upon seeing the photograph, she remarked, “That’s not a rat, that’s a vole.”

Now I must point out, it is a rare suburbanite possessed of the wherewithal to ascertain the difference between Rattus rattus and Microtus arvalis based on a hastily taken photograph; let alone the very existence of such a thing as a “vole” as they are so alike in form and appearance to mice as to be colloquially considered the same critter without meaningful consequence. Nevertheless, The Missus was keenly aware of the existence of voles and their dissimilarities to rats, due in no small part to a jape unworthy of further mention perpetrated upon her by myself not two weeks earlier.

" 'the hell’s a vole?" mused Matron. “That is.” smugged my bride. “Too small to be a rat, too big in the body to be a mouse. Verily I say unto thee, 'tis a vole of which your hounds are possessed!” Convinced, Matron advised her husband of his error and scolded him for his sloppy nomenclature. Husband responded soon after that, in his opinion, the hapless creature had not survived its encounter with the hounds as it was now motionless and supine on the patio near the Weber. The Missus, poisoned by a decade in the shade of my relentless guile and aroused by what she deemed a willing participant, pressed the matter. “Tell him they are related to the opossum, and as such are prone to false displays of fatal misadventure when confronted with insurmountable acts of predacious frolic.” “They what now?” “Tell him they play dead sometimes.” This information was relayed to the husband who momentarily replied this in fact appeared to be the case, for as he reached for the beastie, planning to dispose of it in the nearby bin, it leapt from his hand and veritably scampered off into the lilac hedge.

I am so proud. It wasn’t The Cornmuffin story, but it’s a start.

Could it have been Leonard Vole?

No no no - you’re not getting off that easy. C’mon, 'fess up.


Well, there are many, including myself, who are totally repulsed by the entire order, Rodentia. “A rodent is a rodent is a rodent”, is our philosophy, and their formal designation is irrelevant to the general feeling of disgust and even dread that they instill in us. In fact the name is from the Latin “rodere”, which means “to gnaw”. That alone is disgusting.

My brother had a gerbil for a while, but I simply referred to it as, “his big rat”. My point is that proper designation isn’t an issue for many of us, so don’t trouble yourself with it. Call it what you will, but my only response would be, “Is it dead?”

Well, the OP was certainly mundane and pointless.

But I did enjoy it, so thank you for sharing.


(I mean, it maps exactly to the forum name. It’s quite an achievement)

You’re talking a lot of credit for this encounter at which you were not present.

*And when I look upon your face
I would that we were in some place
Where you could be my pet
My dove
So live with me
And be my vole

“Vole”? Hang on…that can’t be right!*

–Keith Moon, Poetry Cornered

My exact thought on reading the OP!