If You Give A Mouse Self-Awareness

When a mouse looks in the mirror, he’ll see himself for the first time. Soon he’ll realise that this is how everyone else in the world perceives him.
Written by Maddy Schmidt. Illustrated by Kyle Patterson.

Gather ’round, kids! You may have heard the version of this story that teaches the dangers of a slippery slope, but this lesser-known version will prepare you for the real world of social competence and existential dread. 

If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll probably ask for a glass of milk.

When he’s finished, he’ll want to look in the mirror, to make sure he doesn’t have a milk moustache.

When he looks in the mirror, he’ll see himself for the first time.

Cartoon mouse looking into a mirror, perplexed

At first, he’ll be confused and think he’s looking at another mouse, so he’ll strike a defensive pose.

But soon he’ll realise that it’s him, and that this is how everyone else in the world perceives him.

When he sees how everyone else in the world perceives him, he will have a small crisis because all this time he thought he was at least a 7/10 and now he knows he’s definitely no higher than a 5.

Cartoon mouse looking anxiously at another mouse sleeping on a tennis ball

When he comes to terms with that, he will start to think about the fact that he lives alone and his only friend is a young boy. Are they roommates? How did he end up here? Should he be aspiring to more than just wanting cookies and milk?

Cartoon mouse unable to sleep in a sardine can drifting through space

Once he starts thinking about his aspirations, he’ll wonder about the meaning of life. What was he put on this earth to do? Is there a purpose to his existence?

After having a full blown existential crisis, he’ll probably ask you for some philosophy books on the subject.

Cartoon child reading a book with mouse 'friend'

When you give him some Nietschze, he might initially agree that society should evolve toward Ubermenschen who can create and live by their own values, but then he will find out that the Nazis totally appropriated that shit and he’ll ask you for something tamer, like Aristippus.

Cartoon mouse lying on a book and dreaming of hedonism

When he reads Aristippus, he’ll realise that maybe the true purpose of life is to be hedonistic and seek pleasure wherever he can find it. He should do what makes him happy, and focus on what he loves most in the world. And when he realises that…

He’ll ask you for a cookie.

Author’s Pick

Maddy: Currently OBSESSED with ‘Norsemen’ on Netflix. It’s a Norwegian historical comedy series about the viking era, except they’re all kind of self-aware and using modern language and examining the way they do things (i.e. wondering if a ‘fear based leadership style’ is really the best approach.) Even more impressive, they film each scene twice – once in English, once in Norwegian. It’s so underrated and an absolute must-watch!!!

Kyle: Go watch Ratatouille please. And if you’ve already seen that, watch it again. Then watch The Incredibles and The Iron Giant. Brad Bird is a beautiful man who makes beautiful movies and you’ll be in for a beautiful time. Am I writing this because I just re-watched Ratatouille last night? Probably.

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Maddy Schmidt
Maddy Schmidt

Maddy Schmidt is a college student/lowly intern with a passion for satire and buying groceries for the office. Her proudest achievement is that she has been blocked by Drake Bell on Twitter (@piece_ofschmidt).

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