Category: Cats - THE CATASTROPHIZER
 
There are some weeks that are really sucky. Not tragic, or disastrous, or genuinely traumatizing or sympathy-deserving—just sucky. But SO SUCKY that it's hard not to be consumed by suck and to want to talk to people about that while ignoring the fact that everything you are saying is appallingly tedious.

First, my computer died. It faltered; it faded; I frantically scoured message boards for mentions of ever more obscure and random combinations of keys I could hold down at the same time on my keyboard; I erased and reinstalled the operating system. After I did that last thing, it worked for another 12 hours before collapsing even more dramatically and conclusively.

I took it to the store. The hard-drive had been "compromised." The battery had also been "compromised." So, after various complications and a number of days, they replaced both. And I reminded myself that I had good and reliable back-ups of all of my data, and that nothing ever goes wrong with that kind of thing.

And then something went wrong, and the back-ups weren't entirely accessible, and I had to move little files one by one over the course of many hours and scour my apartment for those software installation CDs I KNEW I'd put in a box with all those adaptors I still have for devices I no longer own.

And then my only remaining sharp knife snapped in two when I was trying to cut a slice of comfort Cheddar. 

And then I turned around to gaze out my window in a meditative fashion, and noticed some strange, dark, giant, cobwebby things hanging from the ceiling of my balcony. "What could those be?" I wondered. "I am willing to bet they are something delightful." And I drew closer and discovered that (1) a spider had been engaged in constructing a massive series of webs out there, and (2) thousands and thousands and thousands of tiny flies had rushed over to kills themselves in it. Hanging from the ceiling of my balcony were thousands and thousands and thousands of dead flies.

After disposing of them and indulging in some small noises of distress, I washed my hands in the bathroom and thought something extremely dramatic and self-indulgent like "My God, everything is turning to shit." And AT THAT VERY MOMENT, my towel rack fell off the wall.

At that point, I retreated to the couch and did what I always do when I'm feeling discouraged (keep company with some Bridge Mixture). And my trusty cat, George, who enjoys sitting on my computer and staring at me, came over to my computer and sat on it— and in doing so, not only opened iTunes, but also pressed play on the first song in my library, which is, obviously, Aimee Mann's "One (is the Loneliest Number)."

And that brought about the magical suck-to-farce transformation, and so I did   what I always do when I'm overwhelmed by no longer feeling discouraged —keep company with some Bridge Mixture. 



 
Regular readers—and not the people who've arrived at this site only because they googled "farty sex" (I thought that was beautiful and inexplicable until I googled "farty sex" and discovered my site pops up THIRD)—will know that (a) I have a handsome cat, and (b) I love him.

Recently, my younger niece introduced me to something that has made my life better: Instagram. (Within about five minutes, she'd signed me up, chosen my user name—GeorgeTCat—and informed me I'd be focusing largely on photos of George but also occasionally posting photos of her  animals.) I knew it existed, mostly because of snarky comments I've heard about people who routinely take pictures of dinner garnishes. But I had no idea that I, who have never been particularly interested in taking photographs and then showing them to teenage girls I don't know, would find in it the GREATEST SATISFACTION OF MY LIFE.

First of all, George really is outrageously photogenic.
Picture
Those eyes and paws.
Picture
Those ears.
Picture
THAT LOOK.
Second of all, I do not care. I do not care if my photos are not very good. I do not care if anyone follows me.  I do not care that at some point very soon, all my new photos will look much like all my older photos. I do not care that my cat does not wear tiny hats or tiny ties or tiny shoes or have a charming gimmick of any kind. I considered, for a while, trying to rustle up some text (Byron? Donne?) that would complement George's general smouldery-ness—and then realized I didn't care. I do not even care if people think all my uncaring is the result of some kind of isolation-induced pathology. I have never in my life done something that brings me so much joy and involves so little effort or concern.

I also do not care that I am contributing to the cat-ification of social media. I dutifully watch PBS NewsHour each and every day, and so feel I should be able to look at as many damn cats as I like the rest of the time.

What doesn't come through in those photos is that he was purring the whole time. THE HEART-BREAKINGLY LOVABLE SON OF A BITCH.
 
It's extremely hot. I find that observation very interesting, because I am extremely hot. I am currently watching people on the PBS NewsHour talk intelligently about bilingual education, and the most interesting thing I have thought about them is that they do not look as though they're extremely hot.

I have no air conditioning in my apartment. Instead, I have an invisible cone of safety. The invisible cone is created by my fan, and as long I do not leave it, I am okay. Not refreshingly-cool awesome, but okay. If I shift a foot in any direction I immediately become (a) wildly irritable or (b) comically lethargic. I have to carry the fan to and then position it in front of any place I plan to settle for any length of time.

I am not alone in my cone:
(I also, naturally, cart that chair around so that it can be positioned in front of my fan so that my cat can lie on it.) I initially felt quite sorry for my cat, because he is, after all, furry, but then he insisted on my throwing his nerf ball around for a while so that he could run around vigorously after it, and I decided he was bearing up quite well.
 
I was going to write something really glib and flippant about the topic I am about to introduce, but the more I looked into it, the more all the glib and flip got knocked out of me. What's left of me when those things are knocked out is mostly sadness and Bridge Mixture.

I recently started getting odd emails. Here's one of them:

Hello!

You are receiving this email from J.T who has signed up for X3watch, a personal accountability service from Triple X Church.

J.T. has identified you as their accountability partner. If you've received this email in error or you don't want to be J.T.'s accountability partner, please ask them to remove your email address from the X3watch application.

What Happens Now?

You will receive an email every week containing all possible questionable sites they may have visited on their [list devices the user runs X3watch on] devices.

This information is meant to encourage an open and honest conversation between friends and help us all be more accountable. You should also add the address reports@x3watch.com to your email address book to ensure it's not marked as spam email.

I naturally assumed Triple X Church was a made-up place that existed in order to somehow acquire my banking details. Or a real-life place that existed in order to provide people who are not me with High Anglican pornography. Either way, it was suspicious, and I CLICKED ON NOTHING. But the emails kept coming, so I finally, STILL CLICKING NOTHING, googled "XXX Church" and discovered that it's a website for religious people grappling with porn addictions.

The name of the man who suggested I might like to regularly monitor his use of pornography was included in the email (I obviously redacted it here, because I am not an animal), and as far as I can tell, he's a prominent gastroenterologist somewhere in Kansas. He's also a devout Christian and a married man, and his pornography addiction has jeopardized his relationship (he has posted comments on blogs about porn addiction and religion). The only other thing I know about him is that he probably has a trusted friend or relative with an email address remarkably similar to mine.

If I can figure out a way to no longer be a stranger's online porn accountability partner without having to correspond with someone from a Christian website or with that stranger who is right now totally unaware that some girl in Toronto is his porn accountability partner, I'll do so.  And I haven't looked at a single one of those reports, because if I wouldn't want some gastroenterologist from Kansas knowing incredibly personal things about me, I'm not going to give into the temptation to know incredibly personal things about a gastroenterologist from Kansas.

Thankfully, I found some statements on the website that allowed me to drown out my reluctant pathos attack:

"Each year, we distribute 25,000 bibles within the porn industry."

"We take the light of the gospel to the darkest of places around the world: porn shows, strip clubs, and brothels."


You can, naturally, donate money to fund their bible- and gospel-distributing endeavours. And why send your money to the world's less-dark places when you could use it to send a Christian to a strip club?

I am heartened to find myself glibbant once more.

                                  ***

This post was supposed to end after that last paragraph, but I just discovered that Triple X Church runs something called "Operation: Save the Kittens" and I think you should know about it:

"'Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten!' This notion came to us in an email by an anonymous person, and we took it to a whole new level."

A WHOLE NEW LEVEL, INDEED.

The Triple X Church thinks that masturbating (even if one distracts oneself throughout with THOUGHTS OF FRUIT) is wrong, and suggests that people make anti-masturbation pacts and remind each other not to masturbate by sending weekly emails with catchy subject headings to one another. Because the world is not all bad, they provide examples of such headings:

    * OSTK
    * Please, think of the kittens
    * Killed any kitties this week?
    * The kittens thank you for your support
    * Long Live the Kittens!


Pure awesome.
 
I have been swallowed by school and sunlessness, so this post will be especially furry and fatuous.

When I have been swallowed by unpleasant things, I sometimes find myself committing very small acts of defiance in order to prove that I will ultimately be indigestible (I will pursue this analogy no further).

I have been surrounded by books balanced on other books balanced on empty bags of chips. Recently, I decided to salvage old pairs of earrings by redecorating them in odd and unpromising ways, so my coffee table is covered in jewelry and foam brushes and mod podge. My cat knocked over some books the other night, and I have not yet reshelved them.

So the other day, I decided to damn well take a little pride in my appearance and actually remove the cat hair from my pants before going across the street to the Loblaws. I got my little sticky rolling thing, and after some sticking and rolling, my pants were BEAUTIFUL. I left the room to get something, and when I returned, this is what I found:
And here's another angle (from which he look even more smug):
And the worst of it was, I wasn't even all that irritated. It's like I thought the fact that he'd sat on my newly hairless pants was further proof of his resourcefulness and precocity. I said things like, "You're a terrible boy," in the most sickeningly encouraging and indulgent voice, and then he went to sleep on my pants, and I didn't move them until the next day because I thought he might want to sleep on them some more.



POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.
 
I can't figure out whether I'd rather be governed by someone stupid or someone corrupt (assuming those were the only choices and there was no third option of, say, Cory Booker).

I know it's stupid to find anything romantic about the mobbed-up antics of Quebec mayors. They pay people off; they pay people off in fancy steakhouses; the construction professionals they pay off in fancy steakhouses look more like mobsters than any other mobsters who have ever existed. And I know the mob is all about nasty stuff, and so it's not like I find it alluring.

So it's not like I wish Toronto had a mayor who was a Vegas-style crook. I just wish we didn't have a mayor who was a Vegas-sized dick. If you do a google search for "corrupt mayors," the first result is a wikipedia entry for Buddy Cianci, former mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, who was forced to resign twice—once because he pled guilty to assault, and once because he was convicted of racketeering conspiracy. If you do a google search for "stupid mayors," the first result is a Facebook group called "Top Ten Stupid Things Rob Ford has Done (since he was elected mayor." Rob Ford is the stupidest mayor on the internet.

There's just something so ignominious about having the Stupidest Mayor. Not even some impressionable '70s-movie-loving high-schooler will go through a phase where he wants to be Rob Ford. There is no Goodfellas for ignorant dicks.

(Actually, there probably is, but I liked the ring of that so I decided not to think about the matter any further.)

And I don't yet feel any relief. Because he might become some ignorant folk hero and get reelected. Or his brother might get elected and keep the seat warm until he's legally allowed to run again and then he'll win because he'll have become some kind of ignorant folk hero...

There's only one candidate who can take him down.



Picture
George would save CORY BOOKER from a burning house.
I'm talking about George the cat, not television's Michael Weatherly.

Heck, Hank the Cat placed third in Virginia's senate race.

In fact, George and Stabler the guinea pig co-existed so peacefully on my lap this evening that she would be an obvious choice for deputy mayor. The only problem with that would be that there would be a lot of hay-related motions, and demands for more hay.


POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.
 
I have accomplished absolutely nothing in the past week. I de-stacked a stack of UPS shipping bills from 2010 Christmas presents and re-stacked them in a different place, but I'm not convinced that represents progress.

There is a reason I have not yet unpacked and settled in more completely; there is a reason I am not writing about this (although I suppose just noting that I felt ashamed for being delighted, and then just plain delighted, and then amazed that a full ten minutes had gone by probably sums up my response more than adequately). I have been shamefully unmotivated because I recently became a besotted half-wit. Here are five reasons I recently became besotted and half-witted:
Picture
My
Picture
heart
Picture
will
Picture
surely
Picture
BURST


POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.
 
I've spent much of this past week realizing that I have many things, and that those many things have to be unpacked once they have been put in boxes and moved from one place to another. I feel like each box I moved from my old apartment somehow transformed into a Tardis en route--each one looks like it's a reasonable box-y size when closed, and then turns into a bottomless pit filled with things I really should just have thrown out when I was fourteen when opened (not that I should have thrown out the Doctor when I was 14--that analogy got away from me near the end).

I recently found a box filled with a) loose paper clips, b) unremarkable postcards from a person I'm no longer in contact with, and c) undergraduate essays. I will doubtless feel overwhelmed by the prospect of disposing of any of those things and find a way to stow it under my bed, where it will rest undisturbed until the next time I move (I sometimes think of what will happen to all of these things after I die. Some Value Village will some day be swimming in essays about Conrad featuring alliterated titles). 

And at some point within the next two days, a cat will be joining me. The anxieties inspired by that could fill a whole entire post (although really I suppose it boils down to: "A cat is moving in. I fear he will not like me"). I now look at my apartment only as a collection of small, pointy things that could be eaten. What's that on the floor? Probably a screw from that box of screws I recently knocked over. Or maybe it's a nail from that box of nails I recently knocked over.

I suppose it's possible the cat will have a taste for pulpier things--maybe he'll pass on the hardware and eat all my undergraduate essays.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.
 
Let me begin by saying that I think it's wonderful that other people have babies. I think babies are great. I would willingly, if not delightedly, die for my nieces, who are the best young people who have ever existed. I like my friends' babies. I just don't ever, ever want to have any myself, while I spend much of almost every day dreaming of the cat I will soon get and watching internet videos of strange cats I do not know posted by strange people I do not know. Here's why I will always come down on the side of cats in the great cat vs. baby war:

1) I don't like most people, but I like almost every single cat I meet. Babies can be adorable. They can be tiny and sweet and make tiny, sweet noises and they have such little, chewable feet. And then their noises get louder and their feet get bigger and they become people, and you might find out that that teeny, tiny, adorable baby has turned out to be kind of an asshole. Kittens are also tiny and adorable, and then they grow into older cats, who are still pretty small and pretty adorable. If some of the cats I've known had been people, I might not have liked them one bit. But they weren't people; they were cats. And so the reasons I wouldn't have liked them if they were human are expressed in totally cat-ly ways  that I find fetching or perverse or a bit quirky, but always completely enchanting.
2) Your cat, unless someone leaves the door open accidentally, can't just up and leave you. Your cat will never go off for a year in Paris after high-school, discover an irritating love for France, stay there forever, marry a French person and make a new life for herself far, far away. You cat will never say to you, "I know you're old and lonely, and that most of your friends have died, but I can only see you once a year at Christmas because my French job is so demanding and I have my own family now, you know." And if your cat were to do all that, give that cat a medal.  That would be one awesome cat. I dare you to stay mad at a cat like that.

3) You're allowed to keep your cat shut up in the house all the time to keep him from harm. It's not that I don't love children. One of the reasons I don't want children is that I would love them in such a neurotic, smothering, terrified/terrifying way that as soon as they could, they would move to Paris. If I had a child, I would worry constantly and unhelpfully about food additives, and cars, and diseases, and chlamydia, and disappointments, and the things they put in plastics that make fish all messed up. If I tried to keep my child inside, if I told my child, "Nope. Sorry. There are too many hazards out there - get friendly with this house because it's where you will be spending THE REST OF YOUR LIFE," some interfering friend, relative, or neighbour, would undoubtedly interfere. 

If you tell your cat that the one-bedroom apartment you have will be his only kingdom until death, your cat will a) not understand you, because he can't understand a huge number of words, and b) without realizing it owe you a debt, because you're making sure he won't be hit by a car or get stuck in a tree or get some kind of horrible raccoon-borne plague. Your friends, relatives, and neighbours will not care one bit that your cat can't go outside, or that you worry so much about your cat going outside, and the only thing you run the risk of is that they'll talk behind your back about how the reason you love your cat so much is that you never had any children.


POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough.

 
One of the things I may not have made clear is that while I spend most of my time anticipating the worst and then reminding myself that probably something much worse than that imagined worst will end up happening, when something awful does happen, I become almost simple-mindedly philosophical about the compensations of life.

Last week, my brother-in-law's beloved, serene, ragged-eared, adoring cat died, very suddenly and in a traumatizing way. Banana was one of those cats that in his lifetime, becomes a legend. A round, forever-peckish, unsuspecting legend. People who'd never met him had heard of him; people who had met him were struck by his almost hard-to-believe lovability. He suffered through years of hardship as a street cat, and then found himself surrounded by welcoming laps and edible delicacies in his later years. If Peter's tribute to Banana does not cause you to cry just a bit and gaze at your own pet in desperate wonderment, please don't tell me so, because I would have to stop liking you and tell everyone else to stop liking you, too.

The fact that life can take you from severe deprivation to offerings of curried chicken and half-and-half, and that it then ends inevitably in death, has led Peter to develop the "Life Sausage" theory:

"You can live a hundred years if you never leave your home, never eat fatty foods, never risk love or sex for fear of failure and STDs — and your life sausage will be one long, emaciated pepperoni-stick of misery, hyperextended along one axis but barely registering on the others.  You can fuck everything that moves, snort every synthetic that makes it past the blood-brain barrier, dive with sharks and wrestle ‘gators and check out when your chute fails to open during the skydiving party on your sweet sixteenth. Your life sausage will be short but thick, like a hockey puck on-edge, and the sum total of the happiness contained therein will put to shame any number of miserable incontinent centenarians wasting away in the rest home. More typically the sausage will be a lumpy thing, a limbless balloon-animal lurching through time with fat parts and skinny parts and, more often than not, a sad tapering atrophy into loneliness and misery near the end. But in all these cases, the value of your life is summed up not by lifespan nor by happiness but by the product of these, the total space contained within the sausage skin."

He provides the following illustration of different kinds of life sausages:
I, inevitably, have something to say about the life sausage proposition, mostly because I will probably never skydive or swim with sharks, and yet still want to have a fat and meaty and enviable sausage. 

My elaboration involves the peculiar behaviour of life sausages in close proximity to one another. (This is when I reveal how simple-mindedly philosophical I can become in the face of grief.) When Banana began a new, warm, well-fed, much-loved chapter in his life, his sausage grew fat and meaty and enviable. But his presence in our lives, the clear evidence of his own generously-sized sausageness, also caused our sausages to grow and develop and swell in response. He made all our sausages bigger.  

Life sausages make each other grow. Being around an impressive, joyful, giant sausage can make yours more impressive, joyful, and giant. It is far more likely I will end up a incontinent centenarian than that I will wrestle alligators while having sex high on cocaine. But if I am very lucky, I will have a cat with a fat and healthy life sausage and find myself with a fat and healthy life sausage of my own.