Beyond the Column

Larry's LaRue-minations

Rats! And now we may all need a shower

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on April 24, 2013 at 8:31 am with No Comments »
April 24, 2013 8:31 am
Richard and Sharon Collins (Photo by (DEAN J. KOEPFLER)
Richard and Sharon Collins (Photo by (DEAN J. KOEPFLER)

Yes, today’s column is a return to the Spanaway House of Rats that was driving neighbors Richard and Sharon Collins crazy months ago, when it seemed no one would ever clean up the home that had sold in foreclosure.

Yesterday, someone did – but at what cost?

The TLC channel’s “Hoarders: Buried Alive’ footed the bill for the cleanup, hauling literally tons of trash from the home now owned by Canadian brothers Mark and Tony Gore. To their credit, the Gores showed up, donned hazmat suits, and went to work.

And yes, there were rats.

““It’s worse than you can imagine,” Mark Gore said. “There are dead rats. There are live rats. My brother killed a three-legged rat in the kitchen.”

But as the cleanup went on, with cameras rolling and Richard and Sharon watching from their yard, it became clear that the former owner of the home – not named in the column or here – was the focus of attention for ‘Hoarders: Buried Alive.’ And that felt as distasteful, after an hour, as the powerful scent of rat urine.

Clearly, the woman was excited that her former home was being cleared of trash and ‘treasures,’ and just as clearly she was in a state not geographically linked to reality. She told neighbors she was going to move back in and buy the home again, which is not the case.

She pounded on the dead keys of a rain-soaked, rotting piano – one of three on the property – and seemed to believe she was playing music, although there was no sound. At one point, she led an imaginary orchestra with a golf club. All caught on camera. In closeup.

And when she ran into the street to wave goodbye to a dumpster full of things she’d accumulated over the years – with a camera crew right behind her – Sharon Collins turned and said, ‘That’s just sad. They shouldn’t film that ….”

By midday, three things were clear. The home contained far more garbage than anyone imagined – the crew had already run out of dumpsters and trucks to fill. The rats were losing their battle to control the house’s high ground. And that television crew was filming insanity.

If we indeed get the government we deserve, it seems far more likely we get the television we ask for. Reality TV seems to  take advantage of those whose problems are greater than our own.

Yes, I wrote about the House of Rats again. I was happy for Richard and Sharon Collins, got a kick out of those Canadian brothers who now own a cleaner house. After watching a woman display mental illness for a national viewing audience, however, it was  more than the smell of rats I showered off last night.
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