Retired? Looking for more than just sitting on that board listening to blow hearts, or ladling broth at the soup kitchen or walking homeless dogs? Too much time on your hands (when you’re not with the grand-kids, of course)? Have I got a hobby for you!
How about recreating Beatrix Potter scenes using real, though dead as a door-nail, mice? No kidding. A recent NYT article, complete with pictures, talks about the revival of a “British pastime,” that they don’t specify as taxidermy because it’s got an artistic side to it…it’s about creating scenes with real mice in them. Like mice in the kitchen making Scotch eggs, or mice in the field having a picnic on steak and kidney pie…kind of like when you played with Barbie and Ken. Evidently people in London are clamoring for a seat in a class called, “Anthropomorphic Mouse,” taught by Margot Magpie (not her real name because her life has been threatened by animal rights activists).
In High School, I remember dissecting a mouse, slitting its smooth, white belly and pinning the sides open to reveal its innards. The stomach, the intestines and the kidneys. All so neat and compact. So efficiently arranged. I remember wondering if my insides were that precisely placed. Could I do the same to a human, were I to go into medicine (the only time that thought ever entered my head). In the meantime, my lab partner was in the hallway tossing her cookies. I don’t know why I wasn’t squeamish; I just wasn’t…which makes me consider this class as a possibility. But you have to skin the mice. (We learn they are “bought frozen.”) And there are quotes by Margot Magpie like:
“Now pull the skin up over the skull like a hood.” (Mouse in a hoodie?) or
“If you accidentally tear off a limb, use Super Glue to glue it back on.”
After you’ve skinned your mouse, you wash and blow-dry its fur, treat it with magic preservatives, stuff it with cotton and wire, then sew it up, good as new. The eyes are replaced with black beads,
which makes me wonder if this is where we get the term “beady eyes.” (I looked it up but didn’t learn much except that your eyes might be “gleaming,” or you might be referring to a rock band, Beady Eye.)
Once you get your reconstituted mouse looking fit, you can give it a real life. You can create the scenery you want for it, you can dress it, even educate it.