The story depicted by the image above is currently running as the “And finally…” item on many news bulletins. You can read the full story by clicking the pic; the essential facts are that a man found a dead baby mouse (minus tail!) in his loaf of bread, though happily managed to avoid accidentally eating it.
Freakish stories like this get a lot of media play; you only have to look at the length of the list of related articles at end of this post for evidence of this. I think it is because of their blend of the commonplace and the grotesque, and I couldn’t help noticing a wider metaphor.
Most lives are generally bounded by known elements: we live in a particular town, tend to shop at the same places, go to work in a familiar setting, see the same people after work. These boundaries provide a predictable structure and routine that we learn to live by, and very rarely venture outside.
However, sometimes an unexpected event will occur. These freakish incidents – like the gruesome mouse in a mundane loaf of bread – often appear as if from nowhere and disturb our equilibrium. The reason they are powerful is that they damage our sense of identity. The loaf is no longer a loaf; it is macabre apparition. A ghoulish doppelganger of what it once was and should still have been.
Without a clear sense of self, we can react in unhelpful and atypical ways to the stress caused by the unexpected event. In short, we lose control and make mistakes because our integrity has been lost. If we understand who we are and who we want to be, before the unexpected event occurs, it will not disrupt our life as much. We will find a way of working around the insult to our identity, and these positive coping strategies will let us continue a pleasant life.
- Mouse found baked into loaf of bread (telegraph.co.uk)
- Non-essential ingredients | Open thread (guardian.co.uk)
- Firm fined after dead mouse found in loaf (bbc.co.uk)
- It’s a miced loaf (thesun.co.uk)
- Father making sandwiches finds mouse found baked into loaf of bread (independent.co.uk)
- Bread Maker Fined Over Dead Mouse In Loaf (news.sky.com)
- Dead mouse found in loaf of bread by dad – picture (mirror.co.uk)
- Dead Mouse Found In Loaf Of Bread: Premier Foods Fined (photo) (nowpublic.com)
- Dead mouse found in loaf of bread (bbc.co.uk)