Pets. Well, that?s kind of a sore subject in my family because my mom didn't want us kids to have pets. She grew up on a farm and had her fill of animals there so there were to be no animals in our house. She did let my older sisters have a cat once, but it ran away, and she never really worried about replacing the mangy thing. I guess the guilt of her daughters whining about not having a cute doggy or anything must have worn her down because when I was about 9 or 10, she broke down and let me get a gerbil. Not a hamster or other rodent like species?but a gerbil. Cute, mousey looking things that I?m sure I must have fallen in love with at the pet store. My mom broke down and bought me two gerbils which looked a lot like this: [image=http://www.princeton.edu/~conall/gerbil.jpg] I had hoped my gerbils to do fun little stunts like this? [image=http://www.princeton.edu/~jzana/gerbil.jpg] But all they ever did was run around on their little wheel and sleep. Gerbils are, apparently, not all that entertaining of a pet. One day, I came downstairs and lo and behold there were not just two gerbils in the plastic palace that was their home ? there were dozens! Dozens of little teeny gerbil babies all tucked in the corner of the cage. I was ecstatic! I was an aunt! Yay! I ran upstairs and told my mom the good news. Her reaction could be summed up like this: No, she was not pleased. A woman who hates animals is now saddled with dozens of little furry rodent-like creatures in her family room. I guess the pet store didn?t tell her that they had given us a little Mr. and Mrs. Gerbil as opposed to a nice, same sex roommate situation. A little time went by and I watched the baby gerbils grow and become cute, furry little guys. Mrs. Gerbil gave birth again in the next little while so our little family was growing fast! Since they were sort of cramped for space, we bought them another plastic cage with a plastic tube that connected the two. They were quite happy in their little Taj Mahal. I don?t remember if mom ever verbalized her thoughts on getting rid of the little buggers, but I?m sure she was formulating some kind of plan to pawn them off on the neighborhood kids. So, again, as usual, I woke up and went downstairs to greet my little gerbil family. Only, there was a slight problem. Somehow, in the middle of the night, the tube that connected the two cages came undone. And, well, there were all of two gerbils in the cage. The rest of them had decided to make a break for it and head for open ground. Again, I ran upstairs to tell my mom the news. Her reaction: She was not happy. She had resisted getting me a pet for years and this was her reward. Tiny little gerbils had the run of her house. Now, in the 70?s ? I was 9 or 10 remember ? we had this lovely brown shag carpeting. Which, as you can imagine, was not really conducive to finding small, brown furry creatures. Honestly, they were everywhere. Under the tv set; in the corners; running up the stairs; in the bathroom. Everywhere. We looked all over and found most of them. I can?t remember if we ever found the tiny corpses of ones we didn?t find. After that, the gerbils went bye bye. My mom let me keep one. One gerbil out of the lot. That way there would be no reproducing danger. But after he (or she, I forgot to check) died, that was it for pets. I never had another one growing up. But don?t feel sorry for me or anything. I had plenty of imaginary friends to play with.