Otto's Christmas Picks

Otto Squeakers, submitted by Ella Bridges
From the Nov/Dec 1996 Rat & Mouse Gazette

It doesn't take the brain of a rocket scientist to recognize that there are certain responsibilities to being, shall we say, a kept rat. Although our daily doses of companionship, snuggling, rat kisses, and in between dental visit teeth cleaning seem to take up most of our time, the upcoming holiday season of giving demands a response from the rat community at large. It is for this purpose that I, Otto Squeakers, present my carefully researched top Christmas gift picks for 1996.

Although I am a simple Rex guy with simple rat tastes, I feel it is my duty to warn my rodent sister and brothers to steer clear of mundane and eminently practical gifts such as tupperware and microwaves. I propose that our humans deserve the extraordinary in rodent gift selection and so I have selected gifts designed to delight the human male, female, child, and even the entire human family. Let us being with my gift recommendation for our human male friends.

We can give our male humans a gift that will provide them with an edge in their never ending societal rat race. It is called the "Minute Mouse Pocket Watch". This mouse-shaped pocket watch comes with a sturdy silver chain and a multi-purpose clip that hooks onto backpacks, belt loops, and more. One simply turns the mouse over to note the current time and date. This pocket watch in manufactured by Zebratown, and can be purchased for $7.99, at Cost Plus Warehouse.

I next considered the needs of our wonderful human females and decided that nothing tops the time-tested combination of chocolates and flowers. A nice benefit of this gift choice is getting to share a few delectable morsels of chocolates with your human loved ones (see Editors letter in this issue). While our primary caretakers are adult in nature, we must also consider out beloved human children's gift needs. It is important to remember that while toys are created for children, some adults do go through a periodic second childhood - a phenomenon not experienced by our species.

The first and best toy I found was the Ratmobile which is produced by Hot Wheels, and basically resembles a rat on wheels. This beauty has a tower turbo blown engine with a set of headers and chrome-plated side pipes, faintly reminiscent of a silver-hooded babe I once knew. The Rat mobile comes in color choices of white or black and is available wherever Hot Wheels are sold.

I next came across the "Beast Wars Transformer" called "Rattrap". "Rat turns into robot spy" screams the package label on this surprisingly realistic appearing toy. The outside is a grayish-brown rat with yellow eyes and a toothy grimace. It is not exactly flattering, but then it is merely a shell for the brown and silver robot spy that it unfolds into. My human product tester found it somewhat challenging to restore it into the original rat shape, but enjoyed it nonetheless. Rattrap runs around $8.99 and can be found at Toys 'R Us Stores.

During my shopping journey, I came across a children's toy that receives a dishonorable rodent gift mention. I feel it to be my duty and responsibility to warn rodent shoppers against products that are ignorantly harmful to the image of the domesticated rat. One such product is the "Mighty Max Shrunken Head" called "Rat Trap". This product irresponsibly resembles the wild sewer rat from hell, complete with bloody gash in the forehead and exaggerated sharklike teeth which are dripping with saliva. The package partially reads, "Max is face to face with danger, cornered by a vicious mutant rat who attacks him on sight...". This awful product serves as a warning to rodent consumers to beware of items that present rats in a negative light. On a more positive note, it is now time, (can you hear the sound of drums rolling in the background?), to present the 1996 top Christmas gift of them all.

It is my firm and irrefutable belief that every rat containing household is incomplete without a subscription to Rat & Mouse Gazette. This masterpiece of rat and mouse oriented information and entertainment is guaranteed to please each and every member of your human family, as well as providing the information they need in order to best care for us, their rodent companions.

Having concluded my presentation, I once again encourage all my fellow rodents to play the role of Jolly old "Rat Nick" and provide all humans with a token of our great appreciation and affection for them. Until next time, this is Otto Squeakers saying, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!