The Story of Pyramus and Thisbe



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I lived with two gerbils named Pyramus and Thisbe. If you know where the names came from, tell me in the comments and I’ll give a prize. The prize may or may not look at lot like my replying to your comment saying, “Yay! Here’s your prize. :-D .“

Pyramus and Thisbe, besides be saddled with some pretty heavy literary names for gerbils, had a pretty nice life. They were both male. However, Thisbe is a girl’s name. Had Thisbe gone to middle school, he likely would have been teased mercilessly about that. As it was, it just goes to show how important it is to Correctly Identify Your Pet’s Sex and Name Them Accordingly before Sending Them to Middle School.

But, I digress. Pyramus and Thisbe did pretty okay. They had an okay-sized cage. Nothing fancy, but large enough so that the food and the gerbil treadmill did not have to be in the same room of the cage. When two guys (or gals, or any combination thereof) are locked up together 24/7, it’s good for them to have some space where they can be alone.

Though they didn’t go out much, there were industrious creatures. They worked at several important jobs every day. The jobs, in no particular order, were: 1. Build Nest 2. Eat and Drink 3. Run Around in the Wheel For Exercise 4. Soil as Much Bedding as Possible 5. Tease the Cat At this point, you’re thinking, “O dainty duck! O dear! Now she’s going to tell us that the cat ate poor gerbils!”

Well, you’re wrong. The cat spent many a long hour watching them, but never made any real attempt to get to them. Except when that one exciting day came every week. The Day of the Cleaning.

Every week, Pyramus and Thisbe had their place deep cleaned. (Honestly, I’m not sure how they afforded that. I can’t afford to get my place deep cleaned every week.) This cleaning included destroying a lot of the work these guys had done over the last week. The soiled bedding and the nest were both thrown away and fresh bedding, either paper or wood chips, was installed. This is kind of like getting new carpet, except we don’t tend to chew on our carpet as much. Or soil it as often. Otherwise, we might have to replace our carpet once a week, as well.

I know, you’re thinking, “That is so mean! You destroyed their work every single week!” But, the thing is, the bedding smelled pretty bad by that point, so it really had to be changed. Had Pyramus and Thisbe spent less on cleaners they may have been able to afford indoor plumbing. With indoor plumbing, they may not have needed cleaners every single week, and in the long term, the investment may have paid for itself. But, it’s so hard to save up while living paw to mouth…. And, anyway, without those tasks to keep them busy, I don’t know what they would have done all day.)

Like many people, Pyramus and Thisbe found it better to leave and let the cleaners to their work so they would not be in the way. So, each week they went and hung out in a shoe box.

I know that doesn’t sound that exciting but remember they did not get out much. For them, it was like going to the movie. There was even entertainment in the form of the cat trying to knock the shoebox over. So maybe it was more like a haunted house, or somewhere else you go to be scared. Or an amusement park ride, the way the box would slide when the cat swatted it…

Anyway, after the cleaners had finished their work, Pyramus and Thisbe would go home and discover that all of their work from the week before had been destroyed and get started redoing their work right away. And that’s pretty much what they did. Sometimes, on a special occasion, they might add some carrot or a bit of apple to their regular diet of gerbil food, and that was pretty exciting.

When I last saw Pyramus and Thisbe, they were in a car, headed to Yale for grad school. My roommate went with them so they wouldn’t be all alone.