I had a hamster called Taekwondo.
He lived over 1100 days (all through my university years) and was simply wonderful. When he got old, his fur went grey and he couldn’t trim his own nails, so I used to take him out very gingerly and clip them for him using my Leatherman.
He was the most kind and friendly hamster you could imagine. Always pleased to see me, always happy in his life and very well fed and watered. He died of old age the day that I moved back to London. I remember just an empty flat apart from this massive hamster cage made of bright tunnels and little rooms and bases; it could have fitted 10 hamsters.
So, I buried him in the garden.
I remember that he once taught me something I will never forget. Taek’ was an escape artist par-excellence. He could escape from almost anything and go ‘on the run’ around my room and flat. Sometimes it would take ages to find him and I would have to trap him back using food to entice him into the open. He never minded my handling him and I never minded his escaping.
He decided to teach me a lesson.
One day, he escaped in my university room and after much searching I realised he was under the bed. The little bastard was hiding so well that I was forced to go right under the bed to catch him, which was not easy as I am 6ft 2inches tall. It took 5 minutes to move all boxes and stuff from under the bed as he kept retreating further and further under. Eventually I was right under the bed and he had nowhere to run.
He was completely cornered, but he wasn’t finished with me yet.
He paused, raised himself up onto his little hind legs and looked at what was, from his point of view, an enormous pair of arms blocking both to the right and the left. I still swear to this day that I saw him take a little determined hamster breath, look me in the eye…
He flung himself forwards with all his considerable scampering speed and at full gallop leapt up at my face. I was far too far under the bed to move in that split second and I still have the memory of a flying kamikaze hamster soaring towards me and attaching himself to my nose. His sharp little teeth caused a level of pain in my sinuses that I have never experienced before or since. The shock made me involuntarily jerk my head up which was a mistake because my bed was one of those cast iron jobs normally seen in a mental institute and weighed a ton. I cracked my head on the metal frame thereby adding mild concussion to my increasing list of injuries.
My hamster briskly detached himself from my nose and ran out from under the bed via the gap under my arms. He continued his freedom for another three hours while I, 500 times his size, was completely defeated and could only lay there ruminating my ignoble fate as a trickle of blood ran down from the back of my head.
I learned a very fine lesson that day and have since named a martial arts technique (the Angry Hamster Technique) after the shear brilliance of one of Gods smallest creatures; brother to the bear, a fellow that was my old friend: Taekwondo the hamster.
“Judge me by my size do you?”
The Angry Hamster Technique is this: when you are cornered by a larger, over confident and significantly stronger opponent; do like the hamster and have the courage to wait for the right moment to attack the exposed weak spot!
Hamsters: excellent creatures, not to be underestimated for their courage!