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Rats! We're out of jokes

By Matt Wood in News on Feb 8, 2006 4:16PM

chicagoist_2006_02_rat.JPGIf you watched any of the major local news broadcasts this week, you surely saw the story about a "rat infestation" at City Hall and the Cook County Building. But not the same rats causing all those scandals, har har har, as Warner Saunders and Mark Suppelsa assured us, but real live scritchin' and scratchin' disease carryin' rats. Gross! As it turns out though, pest control inspectors say the problem isn't rats, but their smaller, innocuous cousins, mice.

As the story goes, county employees working in a cluster of underground offices reported seeing rats. One woman, still too distraught to show her face on the NBC 5 broadcast, even said one ran across her foot when she opened a door. Conventional wisdom was that the construction at Block 37 was displacing the rats and sending them looking for new haunts around the Loop.

But Streets & Sanitation officials say that their inspectors found evidence (i.e. mouse poop) of a problem with mice, not rats, caused by sloppy housekeeping, ineffective pest control, and employees leaving food in their desks. S & S spokesman Matt Smith told the Tribune that the mice were livin' it up at the County Building and not even being shy about it. Inspectors found would-be rodent traps filled, not with poison, but with piles of mouse turds. "That's almost a statement by the mice," Smith said.

So, if you must draw cutesy comparisons between the rodent problems and scandals at city hall, you still have something: a bunch of meek mice who run away when the light of day is shone on their furtive activities, now showing their defiance by taking a dump on attempts at investigation. Okay, so that's a stretch. We'll leave the corny jokes to the news anchors. Just clean up the Ho Ho crumbs around your desk people!