It was during a recent period of "floor time" that I heard second hand as my staff chatted amongst themselves. that the proprietor of their favourite coffee shop thinks I am a hamster. A hamster! That's like calling Usain Bolt a jogger. Hamsters are inferior to guinea pigs in so many ways. Sure they can stuff their cheek pouches so full that they look like a furry puffer fish. Sure they can run like billy-oh on a squeaky wheel all night, keeping their staff awake so that in the morning they're as bad tempered as a squirrel who's lost his nuts. But do they write Mr O'Barmer's speeches? Do they have the ear of the Australian Prime Minister? They'd probably bite the ear of the Australian Prime Minister if they had the chance - vicious little brutes. Once they hang on with those savage incisors of theirs they can be very difficult to dislodge. My male staff's mad sister had to wear her two pet hamsters as earrings for several days because one day when she was cuddling them they latched on to her lobes and wouldn't let go. I think she finally got them off with a crowbar or something. That was when she worked for the post office and she received several admiring comments about her new fashion accessories from her customers.
What's the difference between a hamster and a puffer fish? Not much actually.
Mind you, it has to be said that my male staff's mad sister doesn't have a lot of luck when it comes to pets. A while ago she had a beautiful rescued racing greyhound called Sandy. Humans who are owned by greyhounds will know that unlike guinea pigs whose butts constantly drag along the floor, greyhounds' bottom passages never, ever touch the ground. Whether sitting or laying down there is always a gap of a good inch. This can often lead to having a dirty bottom - bits of dried bush chocolate that stick to their butt fur. "Clinkers" to use the scientific term, because they are unable to wipe it of on grass or carpet.
Mad sister was in the habit of leaving her handbag on the floor by the side of the settee of an evening while she and her long suffering husband watched their favourite programmes on the telly after a day's work. Shows like "Dancing With The C List celebrity's Sister's Next Door Neighbour" and "Britain Had Talent Once, But Now It's Got One Direction". Anyway, mad sister had remarked to long suffering husband that Sandy had a clinker on her butt that needed removing, but then they became engrossed in whatever they were watching on the telly and forgot about it. In any case, by the time they went to bed they noticed that the clinker had gone.
The next day a the post office, mad sister and some of her workmates were sitting chatting in the staff room having morning tea when her cell phone rang in her handbag. She yanked it out from the jumble of tissues, spare knickers and lipstick, but as she did so Sandy's clinker came with it, describing a graceful arc through the air and landing with a plop in her supervisors tea. It sank momentarily and then bobbed to the surface where it floated like a little brown life raft. The chatter stopped and everyone peered into mad sister's supervisor's cup as if trying to read her tea leaves.
"Please excuse me," said mad sister. "I must just take this call." and then walked as casually as she could from the staff room as if it was the most natural thing in the world to throw dog poo into one's supervisor's tea.
Ah well, I suppose being mistaken for a hamster is not too bad. My male staff's nickname at school was "Donkey". Those of you with a vivid imagination will immediately think that it must have had something to do with a certain part of his anatomy. He likes to think so too, but he's dreaming. Sometimes he walks stark naked past my cage in the morning, so I know for sure that isn't the reason. When he was a kid he had a bad stammer and one day he brought a school friend home to play. My male staff's mum heard his friend call him "Donkey" and after his friend had gone she asked my male staff why his friend called him that.
"I d...d...d...d...don't know M...M...Mum." He answered. "He aww...he aww...he aww...he aww...he always calls me that."
My male staff as a child.