At first glance, this looks like a squashed mouse. It is in fact a mouse pad – a rubber mouse track pad, made from recycled tires. I acquired this in the early 1990s, while shopping at the UBC Bookstore with my friend, Natasha. At least I think I did – I thought it was older than that, from my days at U of M, but I can’t imagine why I would have wanted a mouse pad in the days before I ever had a computer.
University bookstores are a favourite haunt for me, not for the books so much as for the stationery supplies. Especially at U of M in the early mid-80s, the bookstore was a treasure trove of interesting pens, pencils, paper, and other toys to make the chore of note-taking less of a slog. I still take a wander through the UBC bookstore when I can, to check out the latest in pens and highlighters; despite the digital age of the 21st century, pen and paper are still essential school supplies.
Since computers became an essential household item, my flat mouse mousepad has been a desk fixture in my home. I can be a bit bulky when the desk is crowded, and the little toes and tail occasionally catch on sleeves or bits of paper. But I find this flattened fellow an oddly cheery little desk item. And being so solidly built, I expect he’ll last me for many more years.
And like so many of my other objects, he comes with a memory (albeit vague) and a shared story with a good old friend.