As a middle schooler, my parents made the mistake of purchasing me a laptop for—well I’m not entirely sure what a middle schooler actually needs a computer for. I utilized this fine piece of technology to create a Facebook account (making sure to lie about my age, of course) and to watch useless YouTube videos of adorable little pets doing adorable little things.
On one particular day, I found myself utterly captivated by a video of a hamster eating popcorn on a piano. From that moment on, I was dead-set on getting a hamster. In fact, I wanted one so badly that I went so far as to lie to my parents about needing a hamster for a school science fair. “Of course,” I thought, “my parents could never turn me down in the name of science.”
But they did. Four times, to be exact. I, however, was relentless in my pleading. In fact, if I had been a more literate 12 year old and if I hadn’t been enrolled full time in middle school, I probably could have written an entire book on the art of persuasion. And one day, my parents cracked. It was either due to my aforementioned persuasive skills, or the fact that my parents probably couldn’t put up with my whining much longer. At one point, I’m almost positive I heard my own mother whisper, “Just buy her the damn hamster Bob, or so help me God, I will disown her.”
Thus, on a particularly warm spring day, I drove to the pet store with my dad, and searched for the perfect little companion. After 30 minutes wandering the aisles, I decided on a brown and white spotted teddy bear hamster, and in that moment, I was entirely certain I would be purchasing a new best friend (slightly pathetic, I know). Little did I know, I was actually purchasing a twoounce ball of satanic fluff, to which I gave the name Squeebles.
For anyone who reads Stephen King novels, I prefer to liken my experience with Squeebles to that of Joe Camber and Cujo. Except I lived. And Squeebles was a hamster, not a dog. And he didn’t have rabies. So really, it was nothing like “Cujo,” other than the fact that I was scared shitless of my own pet hamster.
If I hadn’t been so set on the name Squeebles, I seriously would have considered naming him something along the lines of Dracula, Lucifer, or even Jeffrey Dahmer, Jr. (due to the copious amounts of human flesh he managed to consume in his two years of life).
Evidently, my high hopes of having a cute and cuddly companion were quickly diminished. On Day One, as I reached into Squeebles’s cage to feed him a delicious popcorn snack, I expected to be met by a gratuitous hamster, like the one I saw eating popcorn on a piano in the video. Instead I was met by a bloodthirsty beast, as Squeebles launched himself off of his hamster wheel, jumped over his tunnel structure and began to gnaw my hand off. I screamed and flailed my arm wildly until he consumed most of the flesh covering my left pinky and released himself. From that day forward, I only approached Squeebles’s cage bearing oven mitts and long sleeves—and yet, I still managed to lose large chunks of flesh while handling the little demon.
Things pretty much continued on like this throughout Squeebles’s two years of life. I would cry when I had to clean his cage because it meant actually picking him up to place him in his hamster ball. I would cringe each time I reached down to retrieve his food dish, and I would have to brace myself for his razor sharp teeth whenever I refilled his water.
If I learned anything from this experience, it’s that the Internet is a liar. Hamsters that sit on pianos and graciously munch on popcorn don’t actually exist. It’s clearly just a scam created by pet stores so that hamster sales will skyrocket, and, evidently, it’s pretty effective.