Def: o'kay ter'ri'fic: 1.common expression of muted astonishment due to being surrounded by amazing stupidity, without quite knowing what else to say. 2.expression that usually precedes the changing of a subject brought up by an individual who is perfectly clueless to anything or anyone outside their own narcissistic corner of the universe. Origin: Unknown

Location: Bergen County, New Jersey, United States

Steven Hill is the author of the independently published A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN, available at www.lulu.com/holbrookhill, or Amazon or B&N.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Catnap Fever

I’ve found the solution to the world’s problems. Terrorism? A thing of the past. Wars and conflicts? No more. Domestic problems? Totally done away with. That’s right. Strike up the band and start the parade because my moment of revelation can help all of mankind. And, I owe it all to my cat.

Or, rather, my ex-cat I should say. As luck would have it, my longtime furry feline Scout is now gone, kidnapped--er, catnapped if you will--by a neighbor down the street. Why didn’t I just go take him back, you say? Well, things weren’t quite that simple. You see, Scout was one of those rare cats who thought he was a dog. He made friends everywhere he went, often disappearing for days at a time. He wagged his tail incessantly, ceaselessly rubbed up against you or slept at your feet, and even let you cradle him upside down in your arms like a puppy. He was the antithesis to his twin brother Bucky’s quieter, more lethargic feline presence.

Ultimately, it was Scout’s friendliness that led to his undoing. I’d warned him about this unacceptable behavior, that it only would lead to trouble some day, but he refused to listen. Off he would trot, purring, in search of new friends and experiences. Being sixteen years old and having recently adopted the ever popular emaciated-rib-and-paunch-supermodel-waif-like appearance, he quickly fell into the Florence Nightingale graces of two little girls down the street, who, for some strange reason, mistook him for a hungry stray and appropriated him for themselves. Having ascertained from my kids--who were much more familiar with the layout of our kindergarten laced ‘hood than I was--where Scout had disappeared to, I toyed with the idea of marching right down to the neighbor’s house and giving him a piece of my mind. While I was delaying the cat-confrontation, the neighbor in question actually showed up at my home, and though I didn’t answer the door--lucky him--My Better Half did. The conversation basically went like this:

My daughters found a black cat. We heard it was yours. Can we keep him?
No, you can’t.
They’ve really taken a liking to him. They even named him Midnight.
Let me get this straight. You catnapped our cat, named him even, and now you want to keep him? I don’t think so.
Well, all right, but my girls aren’t going to like it.

The nerve of some people, I thought. Turns out that Scout never did come back because the neighbor kindly helped the situation by putting tuna fish out for him to eat.
Well, now it was time for decisive action on my part. I laid out my options. A frontal assault with a police complaint, catnapping charges, and subsequent jail time for the felonious feline filcher would work just fine for me. Or perhaps a stealth, 101st Airborne-type, surprise reverse-catnapping attack would be in order. Or. . . I could do the loving thing and let the whole incident go. Pretend it never happened. After all, the cat was on his ninth life already. He was eating a hole through my wallet the size of a cannonball. And any day he was bound to start shrieking in pain 24/7, when his old age started to catch up to him.

In the end, I decided to let it go. I risked bearing the brunt of the humiliation of being the only person this side of China to have his cat kidnapped for no good reason other than a meal. But I felt it was the right thing to do. Don’t make waves, don’t blow it out of proportion, just let it go.
It was then that I had this light bulb moment, this crystal clear realization that if everyone in the world did the same thing, lots of problems would be solved. Excitedly, I shared my newfound wisdom with My Better Half, who promptly patted me on the back and gave me her good-thing-you-got-on-the-bus-before-it-left-town look and walked away.

In the following days, I tenaciously clung to my revelation like a book bag on the first day of school, my kids survived the traumatic catnapping of their precious pet, and the world continued to ignore my pleas of love and self-sacrifice.

Personally, I miss that kooky Scout. But then again, I still have Bucky, my lone, reticent, alopecia-stricken cat who looks like he’s ready to audition for Mr. Bigglesworth stunt double in the next Austin Powers movie. What more could a guy ask for? Really.

©2003 Steven H. Hill


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