Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Mouse Turd Theory of Popularity

A mouse photo by coxy

Mice, given many alternatives, almost always opt for a path that other mice have gone down before. I know this because I read scientific research.*  Part of the experiment involved presenting the decision-making mouse with many inviting openings where only one hole had been "seeded" with a mouse turd. The turd-seeded passage was the most popular choice. (I could call them bio-organic communication bundles, because that's what they are. Turd is shorter. If I were more diligent, I could probably turn turd into a meaningful acronym related to communication.) 

Few were the out-lier mice who would just shrug their little mousey shoulders and go in any ol' hole. 

I don't pretend to be one of those boldly-go-where-no-mouse-has-gone-before mice. I trust the turd myself--particularly when faced with the delightful surplus of books to read, music to hear, films to watch, video games to play, apps to use...all those choices. I read reviews. They help me make my decisions.

That brings me to my new situation. My work is at the receiving end of reviews. They are not always glowing. 

Last night I dreamed† that one of my first-year-of-college-housemates had read The Freak Observer and really didn't like it. She had a lot to say. The book is depressing for one thing--and she hates the main character: "She won't change anything. She could at least change her name. Something like Weezie Geazer would be good."

This is a perfectly legitimate review of my book. So are the negative reviews that appear here and there in the waking world. Some mice would not enjoy reading my book; they deserve fair warning.

But other mice will find it delightful. If I'm lucky, those mice will leave a little invitation to other like-minded mice.

For my part, I am committed to spreading some invitations around here and there. It's part of my mousey responsibility.

*I will not be giving you the citation because I read this a very long time ago. Also, I am not compelled by the ethics of proper behavior at the moment. But I did read it. This I am not making up.

†It was not my only dream of the night. Here are a couple more: 1) An earnest looking boy with a clipboard wants me to sign on with the future wave of Feminism. He says, "We have nine months to recover 270 months of change." 2) I'm hiking when I encounter three gorillas. I have the presence of mind to shake the bushes and hoot at them. Apparently that's the recommended course of action because nothing bad comes of it. 
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