Where Is The Cat?

It’s Friday night and my wife is out with friends from work (I’ll get back to that later) and I’m not sure where our big fat cat Ed is. I let the cats in for a while to have free roam of most of the house and I made the mistake of leaving our bedroom door open along with the door to the adjoining bathroom.

I’m sure I didn’t let him outside. Right? What I really do not want is for my wife to come home and after we go to bed and finally fall asleep we hear a noise. Once a long time ago we found the cat in the closet or something when he started meowing after midnight. I really don’t want to discover him at 3 am. I’m sure I didn’t let him outside. Did I?

He’s really gotten big. We have cat food that is supposed to help cats lose weight, but I don’t know if it’s working. He’s so fat that if you look at him from behind he seems incredibly well-endowed. I think he might be losing hair on the inside of his back legs because they rub against the fat. Ed’s gotten much better behaved in recent years and he and I are more affectionate than we used to be. A few years ago he would either ignore me or hiss at me mostly. I think he finally figured out that I’m not the same as the dog.

We inherited cats from my late mother-in-law and I have never been completely comfortable with that. Her cats were mentally ill as far as I was concerned. I did see something on PBS one time about how living with cats indoors will usually make them mentally ill. They just don’t have enough room to live a healthy cat life in most people’s houses. Probably you need something like 4000 square feet per cat. Most people expect cats to simply adjust to our lifestyle.

In my family we had cats that lived both indoors and out. (There goes the cursor jumping around again. This time I really don’t think that I accidentally hit the wrong key. Anybody know what that is yet?) When we lived in Valley Center we had three cats. We had the mother, Christina, and her sons, Ferd and Tiger.

I think my oldest brother named them. He really liked the name Christina and later he named my first niece that. Ih don’t remember where the name Ferd came from, but I’m pretty sure he was adamant that it wasn’t short for anything like Ferdinand. Just plain Ferd. I’ve felt for a long time that we were spoiled by those cats. They were not mentally ill. They might not have lived as long as some, but they did last several years. Eventually they got into a losing battle with either a car or a coyote. Spending my teenage years in the country I just saw that as the natural order of things.

My wife’s family, who lived in the city of San Diego, definitely wouldn’t let the cats outside. That’s what started their mental decline, in my opinion. Ed used to let you rub him or scratch him until he purred and then he would bite you. I’ve had enough cats (and puppies) to know that not all bites are created equal. I understand that many bites are play. But when the animal tries to sink its teeth into the bone, that’s not play. If it is, well, that’s simply not acceptable. I’m only going to make so many allowances for the behavior of animals. If they want to rend my flesh and open a nice gash, that doesn’t work for me.

Marianne, my wife, said that Ed was normal as a kitten and then had something that gave him a high fever and that he was completely changed after that. I guess the fever fried his brain. The good news is that he doesn’t seem to go straight from purring to attempting to sink his teeth into you anymore. At least he doesn’t seem to do it with me. He really likes to lay next to me when Marianne and I play cards and rubs up against me until I scratch that area near the tail that the late George Carlin called the “ass button”. You’ve probably noticed this phenomenon with cats as well. He practically gets up on tippy-toes when I scratch right in front of his tail. Not too hard and not too soft. Just right. Sometimes he’ll even lick my skin like it’s his own.

Well, that’s the cat that I don’t want meowing at 3 am later tonight. There’s no way I left him outside. Is there? Maybe I should let the dog roam all around the house and the garage. He’s bound to find Ed.

Now about what I mentioned at the start of this: my wife is out playing poker. She sometimes gets together with friends from work. All of them are women and most of them are teachers. The play for really low stakes. I think the most anyone has ever lost in a session is three or four dollars. I’m told that often they don’t play that many hands because they stop to talk so often.

Tonight it occurred to me that this might be a pretty unusual situation. How many husbands are at home while their wives are out playing poker with buddies on a Friday night? I don’t begrudge her this at all. God knows I’ve played more poker in my lifetime than maybe 99% of the population of the planet ever will. And even though it’s after 10 now and she’s still not home, I’ve played past midnight on too many occasions to keep track of. I just don’t play nearly as much as I used to. The other day she encouraged me to play in a tournament that started at 7 pm and I finished in 22nd place out of nearly 500 entrants and I didn’t get home until after 1 am I’m pretty sure. So this is no big deal. I would be curious how many women ever do this though.

Today I made a greek salad and took it to her after her school day so she could take it to the poker party. Someone asked me if I was a chef and I wondered what kind of men she has in her life that would cause her to assume that I must do this as a profession. Don’t most men make a salad for their wife if she asks? I’m sure some do even if their wife doesn’t ask. Or maybe I’m reading to much into her question.

Though I do run into what I would call very conservative people around here sometimes.

I remember a few years ago I had a friend from Toastmasters who had attend my club even before I did. He had a religious conversion and then went to a high school reunion where he saw a woman he hadn’t seen in years. She was surprised to see that he had become a born again Christian and they started dating and after not too long they were married. Soon he wasn’t allowed to come to Toastmasters because there were so many women there. I was blown away. He’s a good guy and I know he really enjoyed Toastmasters and got a lot out of it. He was not even close to what you might call a promiscuous person. Quite the opposite. He was glad to have found a wife at this fairly late time in his life. I don’t think he had been married before and he was probably early 60’s or at least late 50’s. His wife laid down the law and I haven’t seen him at Toastmasters in years. I ran into him a few years ago in the supermarket and he couldn’t stay long. He didn’t seem that happy.

Isn’t this unusual? It seems to me that most people – even people who think of themselves as conservative – would not object to their spouse going to a group like Toastmasters. I don’t think most people would even think they had the grounds to demand that their spouse stay away from it.

I am amazed by some of what people believe sometimes. Come to think of it I still have a good friend from high school who lives in Michigan and unless he has changed his opinion, I don’t think he thinks women should be allowed to be ordained. I’m not sure whether he thinks it’s ok for Christian women to hold elective office. I think he might simply accept that it happens in the world, but maybe he would advise a woman against it. I’m going to ask him about that when he’s in town again.

Today I saw something about a study done about rationality and religious thinking. What they seemed to be saying is that people who think rationally have less faith in God. They found this to be true even for people who were religious to begin with. I’m not sure that I agree with the methodology of their experiment, but I think I understand what they are getting at.

It’s challenging to see so much in the world and not wonder how to explain things about religion. I find it difficult to explain why the bible seems to say that the Earth was created in such and such a way and in a certain span of time. I remember an interim pastor we had who said that the book of Genesis, which contains the account of creation, was not so important when it came to how we were created. He said it was more important that we understand the why from the book of Genesis. I liked that, but I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t be satisfied with that answer.

I’m not sure that we can give a fully rational answer to every scientific question when we try to address it from faith-based writings. I’m not sure that that is the function of sacred texts.

Besides, many years ago I came to the conclusion that the most important thing about Christianity is the death and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, Paul basically says that if it didn’t happen, then what are we all doing? His point is that if Jesus didn’t really do that, we can all just pack it in and go home.

And I know that that approach won’t satisfy everyone either. But I do think that it’s a better place to start than in the account of creation.

Now I’m tired and I didn’t actually expect to go here when I started this tonight, but what Jesus said I do think is very important.

He was asked about what was really important. (I’m obviously paraphrasing mightily here.)

Jesus said that we can sum up all the commandments in two.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

Now it seems to me that this is much more difficult to argue with than a whole lot of other stuff and this is what Jesus said was the nitty gritty of the commandments.

I’m not sure if this is where someone asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

When that person asked that question I do know that Jesus responded by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. If you’re not familiar, well, Google it.

That story illustrates that even though someone might be very religious and righteous or they might be socially or politically very important, that if they were not concerned with the welfare of their fellow man, they weren’t really behaving as a neighbor. And, just because someone happens to be low on the social, political, or economic spectrum doesn’t mean that they aren’t very able and willing to do a great job at being a neighbor to someone. They can even be a pariah and end up treating their fellow humans the way God wants us to treat each other.

If you Google the story you’ll see a much better picture of what I just tried to say.

Have a great weekend!

Ex

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