by Pamela Hruska

Rattus rattus. This furry little species with a tail and chicklet teeth has, at times charming qualities. Historically of course they are portrayed in dim light, and charged with events such as the black plague. Perhaps there are some eastern cultures that treat these little rodents with respect, but for the western world, they enter into their 3 year life span unaware of what may become of them.

Imagine the horror of coming back, reincarnated, as a lab rat?!

Caged with hundreds of other squealing rats, swiftly moved around universities and medical centers, unassuming of what mad scientist will claim them for their research. Maybe you will have pink fur or an ear on your back, or perhaps all of a sudden you find your neck precariously positioned under a guillotine. It would also be very bizarre to look around to see exact replicas of yourself after being cloned. The worst however, is a story I heard at work. A neurosurgeon presented research on traumatic brain injuries. The subject: Mr. Rat. The type of brain injury being studied? A diffuse axonal one. This means somehow the mad scientist will need to invent a way to shear a large portion of the neural processes that allow one neuron to communicate with another. The invention? To place a disc on the rat’s head, almost like a little CD, and then to drop a gigantic weight on it with large acceleration force. When that freight hits the disc, on Mr. Rats head, the force of the load is widespread across his brain, ensuring that a diffuse area is affected. Poor bastard. Of course this scientific inquiry can be horrendously beneficial to humans who have similar injuries, I don’t want to minimize advancement of science or medical discoveries, but I was preoccupied the rest of the lecture thinking about the lab rat.

Now that it is the new year, and in my usual state of contemplation for things to come, I for some reason have tipped into pondering not only what is to come in the new year, but also what lies ahead of me, for eternity. If you have ever read Bill Bryson’s book ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’, you will recall the discussion on what happens to you when you die. Decomposition slowly will occur down to an atomic level. You are made of atoms that came from somewhere, and when you pass on, your atomic composition will take shape as energies in other formations of life and things, possibly even galactic at some far off point. But it is feasible you may come back as a lab rat. Of course my imagination goes past just the metaphysical aspects of this topic, and at some level has been affected by the religious doctrines that exist. I emphasize with that damn unlucky lab rat, and hope that my atomic composition makes it to the life of a domestic, well loved house dog! If the religious doctrines are true, I’m going to try to be good this year. The prospect of being punished as a lab rat petrifies me too much!

  • Mr.Rat
  • by Pamela Hruska
  • Published on February 9th, 2008
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything

More from :

Other recent features: