Yes, you read that correctly. I dropped a mouse. And I swear that at the end of my (hopefully) amusing story, there IS a Spark relevant observation.
For those of you who may not know, I work in a research lab where we use mice as our animal model. [Please no hate mail on this subject. I don't want to get into a debate about animal research here.] Handling mice is not a part of my job that I enjoy but I do it because it's my job. The other day I had to sacrifice some mice for an experiment but I dropped mouse #8 and the little guy scurried away into the corner of the room behind some big machines that we have. Drat! My co-workers came running as soon as I started to unleash a volley of choice words directed towards Mr. Mouse.
They only *look* cute. Don't trust these guys.
In my defense, the mouse I dropped was an old mutant mouse. To put it scientifically, these mice "got problems." As I was picking the mouse up, it started to convulse and my shock caused me to drop it. I had never seen a mouse (even these mutants) do that before. I'm sorry if you will all have nightmares later. I know I certainly did.
Luckily, there was nowhere for Mr. Mouse to escape to. The problem was how to get to him since there were machines in the way. I finally lured him out with a flashlight. He was curious about the light so he finally came out from under the big machine. I swooped in before he had a chance to make a run for it and picked him up (without dropping him this time). Oh, and it only took 4 human beings to catch 1 mouse.
[Insert cat and mouse joke here. I was a member of the Cats team in the 5% spring challenge]
I'm a biologist so very little grosses me out. But I know most people are more squeamish than I am, so I'll spare you details of mouse dissection. The mice I sacrificed ranged in age from 3 months old (fairly young) to as much as 11 months (old). The older the mouse, the bigger it is, and the more it weighs. Not only are they bigger but they also tend to be fatter. They're bigger not just because all of their internal organs are bigger but also because they accumulate more belly fat.
I hope I never have to work with the obesity mouse lines. Those mice are big! Bigger than my hands probably.
Big surprise there.
The mice are housed in cages with unlimited access to food and water. So they can eat whenever they want (get fat) and they don't exactly exercise (stay fat). Bigger mice are harder to dissect because you have to get around all of their fat in order to find whatever organ you're looking for. I admit that the first time I encountered this, I was pretty grossed out. I was not grossed out by the overweight mouse. No, I was grossed out by myself being overweight (at that time). I thought to myself that if some an alien decided to dissect me, the alien would think, "Ew, this human being has so much belly fat, gross!"
So if anyone would like some extra incentive to lose that extra weight you're carrying, come and observe an animal dissection. Trust me, it's an eye opener.