The rat was out on the feeder again this morning. James stood at the sliding door and eyed him.

“He’s big. Man. What’s his name?”

“I haven’t named him,” I admitted. (I did not attempt to explain my peculiar chain of logic here, which was that A) there was only one rat, and thus “the rat” was a perfectly good identifier, and B) rats, unlike squirrels and birds and whatnot, are dignified, self-contained individuals, on par with a dog or cat in the brain department, and one gets a vague sense that they may already have their own names, and C) despite pet rats, a father who raised rats, and a general fondness for rats, I am still unable to shake my nagging conditioning that says wild rats are vermin and should not thus be assigned monikers.)

James, however, having no such qualms, said “He looks like a Wilbur.”


“Totally a Wilbur. Look at those ears. That’s a Wilbur.”

Unable to fault this logic, I agreed that he did, indeed, have Wilbur-esque ears, and thus the rat joined the ranks of the named fauna behind the house. Hello, Wilbur!

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