It's no shock when vacations head south

"Arrgh, a mouse!!!" screams his father.

Can I be honest here? I am afraid of very little in life, except space travel and bad garage conversions. Small rodents also freak me out; the smaller the freakier.

For instance, a possum doesn't scare me, but a field mouse does. I can't explain it. Can you explain your irrational fears? Go ahead. But I guarantee it'll come out sounding all silly to strangers.

So, in short, I let out a sort of girlie yelp (think Hannah Montana or, worse, Don Knotts) when I saw the mouse dart across the room and under the sleeper sofa. I got out a fireplace tool and poked futilely at the couch as the little guy and his mother ran out of the bungalow screaming for a SWAT team.

A ranger came — a woman, fortunately — and she tipped the couch, which caused the mouse to scamper across the floor and up the fireplace, at which point I yelped a second time.

Don't worry, you PETA people, the mouse is fine. But I may never recover, at least in Amelia Earhart's eyes. Once you hear a man yelp, I don't think you ever quite get the magic back.

Just think about it: 25 years, and the only person to come between us is a 1-ounce field mouse. He looked a little bit like George Clooney, if I remember, but only in the rump. Or was that his nose?

Anyway, I'll probably be auditioning new wives soon.

Question No. 1: Can you read a road map?

Question No. 2: Do you find yelpy men kind of hot?

Other than that, I'm game for anything.


Chris Erskine can be reached at For more columns, see




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