One Day, I, Too, Shall Piss Off Cats
Last year a cat adopted me. I kinda liked this very affectionate cat. So I bought it cat food. Then it came into my house anytime the door was open.
One day, it ran to my bedroom. It made a place for itself beside my pillow.
Then I knew this cat was up to no good.
It was preparing to spinsterize me.
I removed the cat off the bed and deposited it outside. It cried there for two or three days. It scratched up my back door.
When it finally left, I was saved from the fate of transforming into a crazy cat person. Marriage was in the cards again.
It’s a pity about cats. I grew up liking cats. I even had a cat once. But there is a time in a woman’s life when she just has to refuse cats. Otherwise it’s into the Dustbin of History with her.
The cat, thus, is often depicted as the witch’s familiar for good reason. Making women into spinsters and leaving them ripe for Satan’s picking. Taking over prime sofa real estate. Licking your face after it has licked its slim pickings. Peeing in your purse when you’re not looking (but after it has removed the contents of your wallet). Shredding your favourite monogrammed tea towels to the consistency of ragged gauze.
Theories abound as to why spinsters collect cats. Below are some of the more common ones:
1. Cats fill the husband void. A shaved cat, in the morning, will be just as stubbly as a man’s face.
2. Cats satisfy the need for misplaced urine. Some women even hold fresh urine to be a great anti-bacterial astringent/crime deterrent.
3. Cats provide the fur required for knitting baby socks for married friends. Evolution favours the shedding cat; during the early Renaissance, prior to the advent of of a fully shedding cat, the highest number of spinster casualties occurred during the Shearing of the Cats, an annual festival still celebrated in the sub-Alpine regions of Switzerland and Austria. (Interestingly, one of the earliest breeders of the so-called Self-Shearing Cat, was a Venetian dandy who accompanied Marco Polo as far as the Rialto Bridge.)
4. Cats are temperamental. Nothing quite resembles the rapport between a wife and a husband, as the sullen, accusatory silences that a cat emits. Cats don’t like to explain where they’ve been all night. Cats don’t like to talk about their feelings. Cats can’t even speak.
5. Cats taste like chicken. Tasty in any recipe calling for poultry, the cat is readily available and does not break any laws banning livestock in urban areas.
Men who missed the marriage tram to bliss, sometimes collect cats too.
Yet, cats, with their reputation as a woman’s pet, can taint the human male with an unsavoury air of feminity. To avoid possible emasculation, bachelors refuse the pussy. Instead, they go for rottweilers, dobermans, pitt bulls, moustaches, beards, sideburns, mullets and goatees.
The ease of fostering excessive hair growth precludes that three out of five bachelors prefer mullets, moustaches, fu manchus, Grizzly Adams specials, Elvis sidechops, nosehairs and natty armpit jungles to the much more deadly killer canine.
Ease alone is not enough in the bachelor’s quest for hair. The beard and its kin replaces the wife, much as the cat substitutes for the husband in the skewed woman-cat relationship. Consider the following:
1. The texture of masculine hair can, if shampooed correctly, attain qualities similar to that of female hair. Thus stroking one’s beard bears a striking resemblance to patting one’s wife (on the head).
2. From a distance a beard looks like the back of a woman’s head, as if she is kissing the bearer. With a constant simulated “kiss,” bachelors thereby eliminate the need for the wife. The goatee, also called the “pussy face” in parts of Illinois, fits a similar purpose.
3. Beards provide the necessary receptacles for meals. Bachelors often cite their frugality in the Tupperware department to the properties of the beard.
4. A dollop of gel turns facial hair into a weapon.
5. With a beard, bachelors can eat and wash their dishes at the same time.
Indeed, the attraction of singlehood for both sexes is getting so strong that marriage rates are descending all over North America. It is no secret that in Quebec, with the lowest rates of marriage in Canada, boasts a sizeable population of cats. Or, that Alaska, with its propensity for rugged bearded men, has enough bachelors to supply two hundred years’ worth of reality shows.
With everyone getting divorced and jumping on the singles bandwagon, being thirty and unmarried is no longer the conversation killer it once was.
I do want a cat! I do want a cat!
(So I can do this to it.)
A Third Thought
Ebola must be like this. Unceasing bleeding that eventually begins to stink.
Andrei Codrescu had the right metaphor: blood tastes like a rusty key. It also smells that way.
Smell is related to taste. If I can smell blood, I can almost taste it.
My repulsion to the smell/taste of blood proves one thing.
I am definitely not a vampire.
On Second Thought
Do you ever think, “Why did such-and-such die, why couldn’t such-and-such have traded lives with some useless motherfucker, who we don’t want around anyhow?”
I just found myself thinking that. My next thought was to insert the name of some useless motherfucker in the space occupied by the words useless motherfucker.
My first thought immediately after thinking of inserting a name was to think George W. Bush.
This thought was next followed by the thought of AniÅŸoara’s body infected by the screaming soul of George W. Bush, while Bush’s body suddenly housed the soul of a charming little hamster.
Suddenly, the President would run around chewing on parts of the White House that meet at acute angles. The President would sniff his staff, his wife, and his intoxicated daughters. Would anyone notice? Or would they recall his coke days and shoo the contents of an inner city school bus off the White House grounds? Would the President have enough sunflower seeds and celery sticks? Would his staff realize that hamsters can’t eat chocolate, citrus fruits, garlic or onions?
Now, my AniÅŸoara, now possessed by George Bush, would be trapped in the bathtub. The tub is more escape-proof than any cage. Hamsters can’t do more than muster a few squeaks.
What would the George do?
Anişoara’s day at the Port Moody Animal Hospital turned up ovarian cancer. Dr. Siegert explained my three options:
1. Have Anişoara euthanized.
2. Have Anişoara spayed ($120). This might save her.
3. Allow Anişoara to bleed to death.
Dr. Siegert kindly explained how the Romans, when they slashed their wrists in bathtubs, they could drink wine and write down their final words as they died. It wouldn’t be so painful for Anişoara either, especially as her painkiller prescription is the strongest available for hamsters.
Three out of three people don’t see any point in prolonging her life through surgery. (None of these three people were me.) She had a full hamster life.
I will miss her constant falls off high counters, the little bounce she sometimes added upon hitting the ground, her chasing me around in her hamster ball, her philosophical moments atop her second story house. She whom my boss just mistook for a muffin, what a loss to civilization that such an inquisitive and charismatic hamster should live for a mere two years!
But I am forewarned of the Frankendisasters that can happen should I attempt to extend her time.
My black velvet jacket with the gold trim: I shall cut out a patch of it to serve as her burial shroud. (The velvet part inside, though Anişoara’s fur is softer than any velvet.)
There is a spot in the front yard where I can dig a small grave. I will paint her tombstone on the boulder overlooking her spot. (I imagine this should be done by moonlight. Ideally I would dress the part.)
Now that I moved Anişoara to the bathtub, she can truly die a stoic Roman death.
Tuesday July 27th 2004, 8:07 am
Filed under: Anisoara
Anisoara is on her deathbed.
Yesterday she began hemorrhaging far more blood than I thought was possible for a little hamster to hemorrhage.
Poor little cute ball of fluff! She perked up a bit in the vet’s office; Dr. Siegert warned me that it was the adrenaline and, furthermore, she was wasting valuable reserves of energy.
Her diet, in these trying times, is celery and cucumber. Since she can’t drink anymore, these will replace her water intake. Plus she refuses spinach (I was kinda hoping for Popeye forearms).
The possibilities were, for her lack of appetite and extreme lethargy – she was a superactive hamster prior to this: change in diet (she lost 30 grams or 20% of her bodyweight); heat stroke; old age and the Aspergillis fungus. Cheryl the Red (the Cheryl formerly known as Non-Arizona Cheryl) nodded knowingly to the last one. The Aspergillis fungus is the bane of caged pet owners everywhere.
But Dr. Siegert took one look at Anisoara and let the Aspergillis fungus off the hook. It’s either bladder stones or a tumour. The latter seems to be the case. Anisoara developed a strange bump on her right hind leg.
If it is bladder stones, Anisoara can elect to have them surgically removed. If it is cancer, Dr. Siegert said we’ll just have to make her last days comfortable.
The only way to know for sure is to take an X-ray (here’s a picture of Anisoara’s animal hospital radiograph room). Her X-ray is scheduled for 10 AM.
Little Anisoara, may your bladder stones wither to dust and may your foot tumour pop out like an oil-boiled kernel!
Thanks to the Squirrel Name Generator, my inner squirrel identity is Major Bignuts.
But if I use my real name, I am Twitchy Fluffyfart.
(Thanks to Firemind.)
Playing the Game
1) if there were sixteen men on a dead man’s chest, which of the men would you like best?
The one with the hook hand.
2) what do you miss most about your parents when they are away? what about the least?
Most: speaking crude Romanian. Least: their advice.
3) if you had to choose between lying to someone to spare their feelings, or telling them the truth even if you knew it could end your friendship, what would you pick?
I’d spare the feelings.
4) what is your favourite “ethnicity” of food?
Japanese. But not all this sushi crap. Japanese is so much more than just sushi. Plus, the sushi here is nothing like the sushi in Japan.
5) if you won 10mill on the lottery, what’s the *first* thing you would do?
I would phone one of the people I’ve already designated as recipients of my largesse and very calmly tell them I just won ten million. After an incredulous, half-hearted “I beg your pardon,” I would repeat, just as calmly, that I won ten million. Then, I suppose, we’d start screaming in unison.
1. What would you prefer: a naturally hot pink hamster or a giant one to ride on?
The giant hamster. I can see me, in Princess Mononoke makeup, astride a giant hamster, galloping through rush hour traffic.
2. What is the weirdest artifact you have ever catalogued?
Well, yesterday I handled a weird ceramic thing that looked like a bedpan.
3. What does Romanian ‘Pig – Latin’ sound like?
I am not familiar with pig Latin. I didn’t pay much attention to those things in the playground. (I was of a more nerdy extraction.) If you tell me, I’ll provide the word to be pig Latinized: purcel. Romanian for pig, it’s pronounced “poor-chayl.”
4. Which movie would Ani like to see? The Good, The Bad, and the Hamsterly; Ferris Hamster’s Day Off; or Gnaws?
Gnawing used to happen a lot around here. If she knows what’s good for her, she’d pick the Clint Eastwood movie.
5. What is the wildest dessert you have ever eaten?
Yeah, that was dumb. My real answer is pear-and-camambert ice cream. I wish it was wilder.
Library Leprechaun, thou lordliness who isn’t calling me:
1. If you were able to invent one thing what would it be?
Devices to make tarantulas speak Spanish.
2. If you could spend the day with one person from the past who would it be?
My first choices are generally George Herriman or Tove Jansson. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I’d like to be seduced by Eugène Delacroix.
3. What is your favorite word?
Tough one. “Eh” is one of them.
4. You are being sent into space to live on a lonely outpost and can bring one book. What book would you bring?
Another one I always think about. Most people say the Bible. The complete Krazy Kat, if it ever existed, would keep me thinking. Or Ulysses.
5. You are a top general with orders take over one country and destroy it and all its inhabitants. Which country would you choose?
Again, a hard one. What country can I do without? Malta. I’d blast their sorry asses off the planet.
Mental Office Imogene:
1.) Have you ever seen a painting (or statue)that made you just sit and stare for more than 5 min? What was it/Who was the artist?
Quite a number of times actually. One of my degrees is in art history.
2.) Would you live in the future or the past?
Unless I could specify where in the past, I would say the future. At least I could continue fearing a vague thing like the sun blowing up. In the past, I would immediately begin calculating what tangible threats I would face, making my stay in the past more stressful than relaxing.
3.) What planet are you? (Not what sign… I hate that BS)
Pluto: small, weird, and probably not a planet anyhow.
4.) Have you ever eaten grass… from a lawn?
Damn. I haven’t.
5.) Have you ever wanted to date a cartoon character?
Please see the sidebar, under “Pet.”
Because salmon swim upstream.
In the meadow, dancing with all the little pixies.
Well, when the crickets put down their harmonicas, for starters.
The little strawberry stapled to the book, of course.
The marigolds waving in the breeze.
Anonymous: that was six items and they weren’t even questions. But I’ll answer them anyways.
1. “I do, and I also wash and iron them.”
Denis Thatcher, 1981, when asked who wore the trousers in his house
I only wear trousers if they have a fine coat of fur attached to them.
2. “The great question… which I have not been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?’”
Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyst.
I want a sole.
5. “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”
Henry Higgins, lyric from A Hymn to Him, My Fair Lady
I manage to man the mangrove in a mannerly manner. Am I a manteau or, more simply, a manifestation of a manure-manipulating mantis?
6. “Women fail to understand how much men hate them”
Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch
I understand that men hate themselves.
9. “Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”
Novelist Virginia Woolf
I am twice my natural size by sunset each day.
10. “Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.”
William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
My parents always told me, “many a good banging makes a good marriage.”
Raspberry of 16 Days Under the Sundae is playing this game. I want to play too!
Ask me five questions and leave your website/email address. I’ll answer them, then ask you five of your own.
Slow Motion Death
AniÅŸoara sleeps most of the time now. She can’t sleep in her house anymore because she doesn’t have the energy to climb up her ladder. She sleeps so deeply sometimes, it’s hard to rouse her. Just an hour ago I thought she was dead.
She also can’t eat much anymore. Her seed dish is as full today as it was yesterday. Fresh vegetables seem more welcome.
I thought about another $50 vet visit. Karen said there must be something out there to speed her up again. But I suppose this is inevitable. She’s slowing down, until she stops.
Guard Your Sheep
Myth: There is no place called Transylvania.
Truth: Yes, there is!
Myth: No, there isn’t!
Truth: Yes, there is!
Myth: No! Liar!
Truth: Moron! Yes!
Truth: Yes! Yes! I’m telling mom!
Yes, Virgina, there is a Transylvania. It’s not a fictional place. Called Ardeal in Romanian, Transylvania is one of a few regions in Romania, as the Midwest, the South and the Coasts are to the U.S. The other regions are Wallachia, Moldova, the Banat, Oltenia, Besarabia, and the Litoral (or Dobrogea).* Romania is legally divided into counties. Transylvania contains many counties; mine is Alba County.
Transylvania consists of rolling green hills and creepy mists. Nothing is more wonderful than crossing over the border from Hungary (boring normal houses) to Romania (outlandish monstrosities). Even better, crossing from the flat flatlands of Wallachia, and its unduly arrogant city, BucureÅŸti, over the Carpathians, one comes down from the mountains and onto some bad vampire film set. Cold Mountain, starring Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, featured this lovely scenery.
The word Transylvania does show up, as Transilvania, on schlock alarm clocks and in the slivers of tourist zones.
Myth: There are no vampires.
Truth: In Romanian legend, one most commonly encounters the strigoi. A werewolf-like being, strigoi are more of a danger for sheep than humans.
Further Truth: My grandparents had a strigoi neighbour. His wife would lock him up during full moons. Once, when I was a wee bairn, a shepherd boy warned me that dusk was coming on and I should hurry to grandma’s house before the strigoi came out. (I asked my mother if Transylvanians really put garlic around their windows to keep vampires out. She said, “So that‘s why we did that!”)
Myth: Count Dracula is a fictional character.
Truth: The bloodsucking part is. Dracula was a voivode (or prince, in some translations) of Wallachia. He was born in Transylvania, in the beautiful town of SighiÅŸoara, but he ruled the region to the south of Transylvania. Some of you may know Dracula as Vlad the Impaler. Give yourself fifty bonus points. If you know his name in Romanian, give yourself one hundred points. If you can pronounce his name in Romanian, give yourself two hundred points.
Despite his penchant for sticking sharp pointy things up people’s asses to their mouths, Vlad the Impaler is a national hero. My sister uses a Vlad keychain. I have a Vlad bust on my desk at work. We have a Vlad wall plaque in our living room.
We scoff at “Dracula” movies. We snort at faked Transylvanian shots like those in Van Helsing. We are aghast when some rapscallion tried to pass off Czech scenery for Transylvania. (Can’t remember which movie committed that faux pas.)
Myth: Jonathan Harper, in Dracula, cannibalizes when he eats mÄƒmÄƒligÄƒ.
Truth: MÄƒmÄƒligÄƒ is polenta.
*Please correct me, Romanian readers.