Tag Archives: ens

Gerbil a go-go

All good things must come to an end. That is the way of things, even with gerbils.

On the surface things may seem to be unusually quiet here at G.R.I.P.E. HQ. After all, it has been some time since our last update. Outwardly all may appear to be proceeding swimmingly, but for those of us here living inside the eye of the storm I can now report that all is not well. There has been a spate of activity and sadly none of it has brought us any closer to finding a cure for FENS (False Empty Nest Syndrome).

A lot has happened since the last update and most of it, for now, must remain unreported. Perhaps the day will come when all can be told, but perhaps not.

The ending of which I speak is the major event that we refer to as the gerbil’s moving out day. All creatures big and small must make their own way in the universe and it is no different for the modern suburban gerbil. Eventually that day must come.

You might think that “moving out” would seriously alleviate the major symptoms of FENS and perhaps even go a long ways towards a permanent cure. Normally that would be a valid conclusion. But where gerbils are involved one must remain ever vigilant and remember to never underestimate the incredible range of gerbil behaviors.

Perhaps an anecdotal accounting will help illustrate:

After an escalating series of frustrating events involving the gerbil, most of which must remain unreported at this time, the gauntlet was finally thrown down.

The gerbil was kicked out of the nest and given a deadline one week in the future.

The week elapsed with no noticeable change in behavior. We could feel the week was building toward something but if the gerbil felt it too he gave no sign. As far as we could tell absolutely no preparations were made. No packing, no organizing, nothing at all even remotely visible to the naked eye.

Finally the big day arrived. I was overflowing with scientific curiosity. What was about to happen? How would events unfold? Myriads of possible scenarios went through my mind.

I have to admit what happened was unexpected and took me by surprise.

In a stark reversal of the normal pattern, the gerbil woke up early and cooked himself a meal. In another unusual move, the gerbil didn’t immediately leave the home. He simply lounged around the house all day. At lunch the meal cooking was repeated, then again at dinner. It was almost as if the gerbil was trying to pack away as much of our food as he could, perhaps as a going away present to himself, before hitting the road.

After dinner we kept waiting for some movement from the gerbil. We waited an hour. Then another. Then another still. Nothing ever happened. Finally we went to bed.

We didn’t know what the morning might bring. Would the gerbil persist? Would he skulk away under cover of darkness? An odd silence permeated our home as we tucked ourselves in and drifted off to sleep.

To be continued …

Gerbils in the Mist – expedition field notes

Night vision goggles capture a gerbil in standard nocturnal mode

Editor’s Note: This report filed by shoutabyss is the fourth in a series of our ongoing team coverage of False Empty Nest Syndrome (or FENS). If you’ve missed our previous coverage, “gerbil” is the term we’ve come up with to describe a youngling who fails to leave the nest, thus triggering the onset of “False Empty Nest Syndrome.”

When we last caught sign of gerbil spore, four cans of overpriced and over-hyped energy drinks had mysteriously appeared in our refrigerator, so we knew the gerbil was close. Sure enough, the next day we flushed the little fellow out in the open. It was mostly a peaceful encounter. Still, one must already remember to tread with caution.

At times, the gerbil can be an extremely elusive animal, and indeed, we saw little sign of the gerbil for a number of days. Then I was informed there had been another sighting, this time by Mrs. Abyss. She said later that very day the gerbil would be preparing our evening meal.

This can be one of the most rewarding and perplexing aspects of gerbilology. You never know what they’ll do next. They are remarkably surprising animals. In this case the gerbil had actually approached us and voluntarily offered to make dinner. (Tortilla soup.) Extraordinary. But, the one thing you mustn’t ever do is underestimate the gerbil’s ability to disappoint. Yes, the evening came and went with no sign of gerbil. Just a cryptic text message that said, “working late.”

In fact, as of now, we haven’t seen the gerbil for several days. We foraged for ourselves that evening and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of the beast ever since. We’d almost suspect that the animal had finally moved on to a new nest and host organism …

Except …

There have been subtle new signs that the gerbil is close, but, for reasons unknown, is choosing to remain just out of sight. It was such a dramatic shift in behavior that I almost missed the signs.

Normally the gerbil is very much a nocturnal animal, choosing to eat, play and engage in reproduction practices at night, then nesting during the day. This is a naturally evolved defense mechanism that allows the gerbil to avoid daytime dangers like responsibilities, chores, and nagging and comments from nest-mates that the gerbil would very much prefer to avoid.

This time something was different. I arrived home from work at the normal time and nothing seemed amiss. However there was a very strong smell from the bathroom. My tracking skill told me a gerbil had been there, probably on a deuce run. (Previously documented behavior where the gerbil visits the nest for the sole purpose of depositing wastes then immediately flees before being detected.) The very next day the deuce run pattern was repeated and my suspicions were confirmed.

The gerbil had switched to daytime nocturnal mode.

“Daytime nocturnal” is the etymology I’ve developed to refer to this newly discovered form of gerbil behavior. The gerbil can be a very clever beast. It learns the patterns of the nest, which allows it to select “safe” times for visiting which will minimize the chance of contact, thus minimizing the previously mentioned threats that are viewed as keen dangers: Conversation with the innkeepers (those who maintain the nest for the gerbil), discussions of money, chores, responsibilities, the status of job hunting efforts, odors emanating from piles of dirty laundry, and much much more. Gerbils have developed a sixth sense for avoiding dangers like these.

The signs of daytime nocturnalism are fairly familiar and include: missing food, freshly used restroom facilities, kitchen appliances left on the counter, food debris, empty beer and energy drink cans in the garbage, dirty dishes, empty food containers left on the counter, missing possessions and more.

Follow-up Report: Energy drink ritual exposed (rare photograph)

A rare image taken from within a gerbil herd gathering

Gerbils are known to travel in herds. One aspect of behavior that is seemingly of paramount importance is the consumption and display of energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. In fact, cans of these beverages function as a form of plumage form the gerbil (which has no naturally evolved plumage) in both peer situations and during mating when trying to earn the attention of suitable females for reproduction rituals.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that gerbil plumage includes other items, too, such as cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcohol (especially beer in cans), illegal drugs, expensive coffee drinks, vehicles, electronic devices and, of course, cell phones and text messaging devices. Cans of energy drinks, however, seem to be, by far, the most coveted within gerbil culture.

This rare photograph, which was taken by a gerbil within a herd gathering and then stored to my computer, illustrates the importance placed on a can of Monster energy drink by the herd. Other images from the same stores prominently feature cigarettes and cans of beer. The gerbils take an incredible amount of care to feature energy drinks, cans of beer and cigarettes in the composition of the photography, usually in the foreground, thus expressing much better than words ever could the significant and spiritual role such items play within the herd gathering.

Anger, thy name is Gerbilista

Note the red eye - must be caused by all the energy drinks!

Editor’s Note: This is Part Two in our ongoing team coverage of False Empty Nest Syndrome (or FENS).

Before I begin, I’d like to send shouts at the PeevePile.com web site and their post about the “ista” suffix, something that has been just about been run into the ground and has hopefully run its course. Trying deliberately to be a dick, I went out of my way to use it, though, and came up the word “gerbilista” for this post. I was curious if anyone else had ever used the term (they had) and while checking I found PeevePile.com by chance. Woot! 🙂

I’m pleased to report I was able to conduct an amazing amount of gerbil research in just the last two days. If you missed part one of this series, gerbil is the term I came up with to describe a youngling who fails to leave the nest, thus triggering the onset of False Empty Nest Syndrome.

A common gerbil may not have any resources, like actual money, but even so, the type of beverage that is prized by the gerbil is always of paramount importance. It may even be a matter of life and death. Beverages are used as a replacement for plumage and to establish hierarchy within the herd. The varieties of beverage may differ based on locality, but usually it is idiotic shit like Red Bull and Monster. The gerbil’s motto seems to be: “I may not have money, but I still want to pay over $2.00 for a smallish can of drink.” The particular gerbil I’m studying also has a penchant for coffee house drinks that can cost $3.25 each. Again, the actual cost is of no consequence to the gerbil – where there is a will there is a way. (This same concept applies to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs as well.)

Even if the gerbil can’t pay for its own food, rent, clothes, gas, insurance and cell phone bill (shocking, I know!), it always seems to find the determination and a way to the beverages at the end of the maze. No small amount of lying about finances may be involved and, when necessary, the gerbil is a master of moochiness.

Our gerbil owes us something like $600 in loans and a plane ticket to save his ass from being stranded in a big city far away. The gerbil works odd jobs here and there, so he has some income, and has yet never made any effort to pay us back while living for free in our house. Not even $5. To facilitate this absolute level of sloth, the gerbil must often lie and always claim, no matter what, to be flat ass broke.

A couple of weeks ago we hit a rough spot and Mrs. Abyss actually “borrowed” $30 from our gerbil. (Yes, try to wrap your minds around the concept of borrowing from someone who already owes you a lot of money.) Guess what? The gerbil is one of the worst creditors of all time. Who knew? Bring on the phone calls, “Hey, you got my $30 yet? I really, really need that!”

No doubt.

So Mrs. Abyss gave the gerbil her ATM card yesterday because the gerbil wanted repayment and she didn’t have any cash. The gerbil was under strict instructions to take $20 and only $20 no matter what.

Even if you aren’t a FENS scientist like me I bet you can see where this is going. We checked our bank statement and lo and behold there was a mysterious charge for $3.25 at a local coffee house. By weird happenstance it was our gerbil’s favorite coffee house. The charge took place during the same window that the gerbil physically was in possession of our ATM card. Of course, it goes without saying that the $20 was also withdrawn.

Naturally we asked the gerbil about this during his next deuce run. The gerbil denied everything. Oh no, it wasn’t him! He didn’t purchase any coffee with our card. He was adamant about it. That left us curious, since neither of us has been to the coffee stand in months. Offended by our gall, the gerbil stormed out of our home.

The main point I’m making is that gerbils have evolved an enhanced sense of what I’m calling “responsibility camouflage.” This camouflage kicks in during times of extreme danger, usually in the form of pathological lying. If you watch carefully, you may be able to catch a gerbil in the wild exhibiting this trait.

Stay tuned. More fun gerbil discoveries are no doubt right around the corner!

Something gerbil this way comes

Since the dawn of time Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS) has afflicted women around the world when the last of their younglings finally struck out on their own. Now recognized as a real condition by organizations like the American Psychology Association, symptoms can include feelings of loneliness, depression and grief.

But did you know there is a variant of this condition that has the potential to be even more heartbreaking and devastating? Sadly, as the first person to discover and classify this condition, I’m here to tell you that for me this wasn’t just another scientific discovery. I’m also personally afflicted.

I have dubbed the condition False Empty Nest Syndrome (FENS). Basically this condition is triggered when an expected period of ENS is interrupted, typically by a youngling who either fails to leave the nest as anticipated or returns to the nest unexpectedly after only a short period of time.

Incidentally, and I apologize in advance if this is too much scientific jargon, the term for a youngling that triggers onset of FENS is “gerbil.”

The common characteristics of the genus Modern American Gerbil are:

  • Typically a suburban male aged 21 or higher.
  • Voracious appetite with a particular fondness for food that belongs to others.
  • Usually a high school drop out who, in the intervening years, has invested little to no effort in working towards even a GED. (And also considers the word “college” to be base, vile and profane.)
  • Maintains an unusually-enhanced ability to mooch off others.
  • Common nutrition sources include beer, cigarettes, energy drinks (like Monster and Red Bull) and illegal drugs.
  • Lives in a space (a room, a corner of floor within a room, or even a sofa or comfy chair) that becomes tainted and has a smell similar to the inside of an overly used sweat-sock.
  • Can often go undetected for weeks leaving only telltale signs like empty containers of peanut butter and showing up unexpectedly at inopportune moments (like when you are naked).

Some gerbil behaviors can be fascinating. One in particular is deserving of extra examination. I call it The Deuce Run. This behavior usually happens when you haven’t seen the gerbil for a few days. The gerbil will show up, grunt some form of one-word greeting, then secrete itself in the nearest lavatory. At the conclusion of the visit, the gerbil will immediately depart, often completely undetected. In fact, in many cases, the only evidence of a gerbil visit during a deuce run will be the olfactory spore that lingers behind.

Please check back often for continuing coverage of FENS and the mysterious gerbil in this multi-part journal as I press on with my research.