Families are odd little things. They are their own country in a way, with rules, laws, regulations, and rulers. In looking at some of my friends growing up and their family world was quite different than mine. The ruler concept is always easy to understand when you go from home to home. It was always the parent(s) and when they were not home it broke down oldest to youngest.
Then there is the collection of rules that you need to follow to ensure you didn’t get beat, verbally reprimanded, put in a corner on time out, or hugged and kissed in front of your friends until you promised never to do that again and amazed the embarrassment didn’t kill you. The thing that is so incredible to me is the absolute adherence you had for so many of these rules growing up. Rules that make absolutely no sense now, but back then, sure, you could see the point… if only because your parents would explain your confusion with the always “impossible to argue with” statement, “Because I said so.”
One of these rules recently came to mind one evening while I was enjoying a bowl of “magic soup”, which I believe most people call cereal. I mean I call it cereal as well, but only when I’m having it for breakfast. The rest of the time it’s lovingly referred to as “magic soup”, because… it is. Cereal enables to you build a magical fortress that you can hide behind, or do games on the back, or dig through to find a decoder ring with a special message on the box that, once decoded, tells you to eat more cereal.
The cereal rule I had growing up was a rule based on sugar. Because sugar cereal was, is, and will always be more expensive that unsugared cereal. I guess to be clear, for me sugar cereal constitutes cereal like Honeycombs, Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, and Lucky Charms, where unsugared cereal means Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Corn Chex… even though technically they all have some sugar in them.
The rule was this; we could only have sugared cereal on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and only one bowl for each day. The rest of the time, if we wanted cereal for breakfast, we ate crappy unsugared cereal, which I would drown with sugar. Seriously, after all the cereal was gone I loved slurping down the left over milk, which was about half sugar. It had the consistency of clam chowder. The thickness was a result of all the sugar I poured over the flakes, one bite at a time. Thinking about it now almost puts me in a sugar coma. Pardon me while I embrace an uncontrollable shiver or two. (/shiver) Seriously though, left to my own devices, my regular cereal had about three times more sugar than my sugared cereal. And yet, I remember the sugar cereal always tasting so much better.
We followed the rule too. Mainly because if any of us screwed up, or took sugared cereal on a day we were not supposed to, everyone would lose their sugar cereal rights for about a month. Not to mention that there would be a good chance that you would be accosted by all of your siblings when the parents weren’t looking.
In looking back, there is one thing about this rule that makes absolutely no sense… Sunday! I managed to grow up in a religious home were every Sunday we would go to church. Now while at church it was hammered into me that church was a reverent place. A place where I was to sit quietly, listen to the stories teachers would read, and above all else I place where you behave.
So my question is this, if good behavior was an important aspect to the overall effect of this church going experience, then why was one of the only days of the week I was allowed to get wired and jacked up on sugar cereal on the morning of the day I would be going to church. There was no chance in hell I was going to sit quietly though an type of meeting after emptying a bowl of Fruit Loops just before going to a build designed to get people engaging in some type of holy experience.
Occasionally my parents did experience good behavior on my part, but this was only because I had opted to add sugar to my sugar cereal and by the time we got to church I had already hit my sugar peak and was crashing right as service started. I’d sleep through the whole thing, which I suppose was a rather peaceful experience for me as well. Although there were those times that I think my parents, usually my dad, appreciated my sugar rushed behavior, but only on the occasion that a sermon was excruciatingly drab and dreary. If, I mean when I’d misbehave on days like this, my dad was always more than happy to pick me up and escort me out of the main room.
Sometimes he’s smack me on the butt, because I’d more than likely earned it. Other times he’d just smile and give me a hug and take me outside to run around the building to work off some of my excess energy while he sat outside and watched me (out of earshot of the sermon being shared inside). Apparently, sometimes badly behaved children can be an answer to a parent’s prayer… but only if that prayer is for the sake of getting them out of church. Who knew? At least I’m glad I could help. Who knows, maybe that’s the reason right there for why sugar cereal was only allowed on the weekend.
What were some of the rules you had growing up that when you look back made absolutely no sense?
Google Images, keywords: family, cereal, pillow fighting kids, kids in church, holding kids, and spanking kid.
I ‘m not sure if everyone else does this, but for some reason I have always itemized money in my life. And no I don’t mean that money comes first. It usually goes first though, due to the lack of active barter systems in my life right now. As far back as I can remember, once I learned about money, I associated it with other things. Here’s what I mean, in grade school when the only thing better than recess was a piece of candy to eat during recess to help increase my recess production levels. I penny wasn’t a penny, it was a Swedish Fish, or a Tootsie Roll, but only when they were out of Swedish Fish. I penny equaled happiness, in the shape of a little red candy fish.
When I got into junior high school and became immensely smitten with music and the ownership there in. I began purchasing cassettes. Then in high school, after the great cassette to CD crossover, I began my collection of CDs, which became the item I used to associate with money. When I would go out to eat or look at spending money on something, it was not a matter of how much cash I could save when it was on sale or how much it would set me back if I did buy it; it was a matter of how many CDs it was equivalent to.
When I got my first parking ticket, I wasn’t upset that it cost me $45, I was upset because it was three CDs that I wouldn’t get to buy as a result. Likewise, when I was saving up for my new stereo system, it wasn’t a matter of how much it would cost, it was a matter of how many CDs did I had to resist in order to save up enough to buy something else. Seventeen… it equated to seventeen CDs that never came into my life in order to get my stereo.
I really didn’t take notice to what I associated my new exchange rate to until my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I were renting a car in Hawaii. We needed a car for only one day, which apparently is a bit odd when you are spending a week on the island. The rest of the time we were on the island we took the bus, just like the people who lived there. It was like watching a bear in the woods, except, well, the wildlife was not really wild, but they were life forms indigenous to the area… and the bus was kind of like their natural habitat. Riding on the bus is kind of like the lotto, you spend a dollar and sometime you win a show put on by the other people riding the bus, and sometimes you won’t. You might not always win a free show, but when they happen… talk about a show!
The point is we needed a car. So we reserved one online. Trouble was, the island was out of cars to rent, but the Enterprise website failed to make that realization and just kept accepting and setting up reservations. When we went to pick up our car, there were none available, cars that is. There were only two options left on the entire island, a big red Dodge Ram truck and a minivan, which we named She-Ra, after the Princess of Power herself. You can guess which one we took.
The deciding factor however had nothing to do with the windy road we would be traveling that day (the Road to Hana) or the tread on the tires, or… it was a bottle of wine. The amount of money we would save filling up the truck vs. the minivan equated to being at least one full bottle of wine. Yes, my new itemization exchange rate of choice is a bottle of wine (and if I were the type of person to include those little happy face images made by typing a colon and then a parentheses I would type one in right here).
I do believe my itemization exchange rate method is a work in process though, especially when large sums of money are the topic. Take the interest I paid on my mortgage last year. It’s a bigger number than I am typically use to, so I have to invent a new itemization conversion. It was five two week trips it to Italy, or one commercial sized hot air balloon, or the producer credits in a direct to DVD B-movie… the list goes on and on. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at money as money, because really it’s just a piece of paper. I find myself much more interested in it and its well being if it’s associated with something I’m rather fond of. I guess if I had an affinity for stationary then I might be ok with it being just a piece of paper, but I’m not. I need something a little more, and for now wine seems to be doing the trick.
Do you do this as well, and if so what are some of your itemization exchange rates?
Google Images, keywords: buying candy, CDs, She-Ra, and Italian wine.
To begin let me start with a heartfelt “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” to all the pagans out there. Hey if the Christians can pretend that December 25th is the birthday of that Jesus chap, then I feel perfectly comfortable redistributing the meaning of this whole Halloween holiday as the official birthday of Paganism.
With that being said, let’s all step into the WABAC Machine and go way back to the time when a young lad in Wyoming experienced some actually diversity in a town of 1500 people. It happened on a dark and chilly night on the 31st of October in 1982. I was eight, and probably a vampire. Of course this was back when vampires were still cool in a creepy kind of way, instead of the trendy bastardized shells of misunderstood models brooding and pouting in an attempt to get sympathy and instill crushes from thirteen year old girls and soccer moms. And I don’t care if you point out that you could see the strings when the vampire would change into a bad and flying around on strings, they were better damn it!
So there I was standing next to my brother on the doorstep of a rather plain looking home that was 100% devoid of any holiday decorations. I placed the plastic glow in the dark vampire teeth that would that would only glow for about 30 seconds after holding them up to a light for about a minute, in my mouth, you know, so I could get into character before giving the people behind the door my, “Sshick or ssseeeat” plea for more candy (those teeth always made it hard to talk clearly.) Once the teeth were in, I nodded at Mike and we knocked on the door.
As the door opened, Mike and I yelled in unison, “Trick or trea…”
“We don’t believe in Halloween,” interrupts the lady who opened the door.
This had never happened to us before. I figured she was kidding. So I said treat or treat again.
“We don’t celebrate holidays,” she said.
“The bible tells us not to,” adding, “goodbye.”
Nothing harshes and eight year olds unbridled sugar buzz quite like a stranger refusing to give you candy on Hallowing because the bible told them not to. It made no sense, and to be honest, it pissed me off a little. I even hung around for the next set of kids to come to her door, just to make sure what just happened really happened… it did. Poor things were just as baffled as I was. Still, hanging with the new batch of kids allowed us to compare notes on who passed out the best candy in the neighborhoods we had not yet hit. Soon we parted ways and Mike and I were in route to the big payoff houses a few blocks down, forgetting completely about the anti-Halloween house… until the following year.
The same damn thing happened. Then the following year, it happened all over again. It’s amazing how easily you forget which are the ‘no candy’ homes once the trick-or-treating actually begins. I made a mental note to skip the house a day or two before Halloween, but on the night of there I was on their step with an open sack holding all my candy, and an open mouth full of disbelief that the people in front of me didn’t believe in Halloween. I do remember that with each passing year the patience of the person answering the door grew shorter and shorter.
Over the years I learned that the family were Jehovah’s Witnesses, and that they were actually telling me the truth when they said they didn’t believe in celebrating holidays. For years my friends and I thought they were just cheap, and lied about not believing so they didn’t have to buy candy for other peoples kids. I don’t know why their deity is so hell bent against on having people celebrate holidays, but that’s deities for you… getting upset for no reason whatsoever and always, and I mean ALWAYS, trying to take the blast out of blasphemy.
There always was one rather depressing experience that happened from knocking on their door. It was seeing the children stuck in that house, sitting in the front room looking in amazement at kids their own age all dressed up, pretending to be something other than what they were, laughing, and asking strangers for candy every time the door would open.
Halloween was always my favorite holiday as a kid. I think it usually is for most kids because it is full of the one thing they have ample amounts of, imagination. The only thing I can figure is that the kids had been very naughty and the parents were trying to teach them a lesson. I wonder if the parents ever, after they closed the door, told their kids, “I know it might look like those kids were having fun being with their friends, unsupervised, running around asking for free candy and getting it, but the joke is on them! They aren’t having any fun at all.”
Maybe it was some cruel and unusual anti-imagination activity, like taking them kids to the Disney Land parking lot to collect bugs for a science project and telling them, “Just imagine there is no Disney Land beyond that fence. Instead imagine an empty field with beige flowers and nothing else, not even the bugs you are trying to collect. So there is no reason to even look in that direction. Oh and just ignore all that joy and laughter you ear coming from behind that fence.” Perhaps breaking down and hindering a child’s imagination is part of their religious agenda. Honestly, I have no idea. Although, I imagine if you get rid of the imagination early on, you don’t get questions like, “What does this all mean?” or “Do I really believe what you are telling me?” or “What does happy mean?” You know, things like that.
The other thing I never understood is why the parents would leave all their lights on. It was the equivalent of a child in wolves clothing… oh wait… I mean in reverse. When you leave your lights on, on Halloween, it gives every kid, and adults with kids, an inviting green light. It tells them that you are home and waiting around with no other purpose than to open your door to pass out handfuls of sugary goodness to anyone that knocks. Leaving all of your lights on and then answering your door just to tell the person knocking that you do not believe in the holiday and sending them away treatless, well, that’s just mean. I mean at the very least you could put up a sign! And that’s exactly what happened. Granted it only took seven years to figure it out (perhaps it was due to a lack of imagination?), but it did the trick. I mean sure, we still walked up to the door, but left in peace once we finished reading their anti-holiday proclamation.
I do have to say one thing though, saying you don’t believe in a holiday and then partially participating in that holiday by answering your door just to tell the costume clad person who knocked, and who is celebrating the holiday that you do not believe that holiday… well that’s kind of like going camping and then smearing honey all over your face and then telling the bear that has just showed up for an afternoon smorgasbord that you don’t believe in them. Whether you believe in it or not, it’s still there and still very real.
Although, I get people choosing not to participate in celebrating a holiday. Holidays are created all the time that I choose not to participate in… That’s right! I’m talking to you Hallmark! Quit it! Besides, I’m not sure a holiday goes away just because you choose not to believe in it. If that were the case Halloween would have disappeared a long, long time ago when the Catholic Church was avidly working on expunging all the Pagans, their beliefs, and their holidays.
In the end, I suppose that as long as these people are well and their anti-holiday belief isn’t hurting anyone then by all means, continue not to believe. To help with this whole thing I’ve devised a plan… so to any Witnesses reading this let me be the first to wish you a “Happy No Holiday At All Day!” I hope it treats you well.
Any anti-Halloween stories of your own you’d like to share? Please do.
Google Images, keywords: Happy Halloween, glow in the dark fangs, trick or treat, Jehovah’s Witnesses, imagination, house lights, and happy non party.
Not too long ago I did a little Smirk about sleep and some of the things we do while we are asleep… like dreaming (I felt that needed conveying for those who have not yet read that piece). However, there was one thing I was reminded as I was writing the piece… the exact opposite of sleep and dreaming. Then again maybe it was awake dreaming. I’m not altogether certain, all I can say for sure is that the only hallucination I’ve ever had in my life was a result of no sleep… for three days straight.
It happened during my senior year of high school. During this phase of my life I had decided that art was my life. I even managed to get the authorization to have three of my seven classes to be art classes. I had even gotten permission to have a ceramics class during 7th period, when no ceramics classes were offered. The teacher would teach her normal beginner art class and I was left alone to play in the ceramics room. It worked very well for me, and you’d be amazed at the number of ceramic thrown bowls I had to give as gifts to friends and family for no reason what so ever.
It was during my senior year that my interest in school began to wane. I did well in school when I would go. It’s just that I wasn’t terribly interested in going, at least going before noon. Staying up late was a bit of a family tradition in my house. Going to bed before midnight was what we called ‘going to bed early.’ Seriously, the lights in our house were almost always on until two a.m. or later, and the last ones to usually go to be… my parents, especially my mom. The woman had more projects than New York, and was always up late trying to get one completed before the new day.
I don’t remember the reason for why I stayed up all night the first night. It might have been for a reason as brilliant as, “Because I could.” Believe me, when you’re 17/18 years old, reasons like that were usually as brilliant as you got. The following day I was amazed at how good and alert I felt. So that evening after dinner was consumed, friends had gone home, and I had made my ‘Sev Run’ (this is what we called going to 7-Eleven) to get 32 ounces of neon colored bubbly sugar water we lovingly called “Dew,” I committed myself to my room for the rest of the evening, knowing that I would be getting tired at some point due to my lack of sleep.
After writing two love poems about girls that would never know how I felt (ah to be a young and suffering artist), I let my imagination dive into a novel a friend gave me to read. When I reached what I considered to be a good stopping point, it was about five in the morning. I only had two hours before I would need to get up and get ready for school. That is when a line from the cinematic genius is ‘Strange Brew’ came to mind. There is a scene where two brothers get a job at a brewery. Once home they decide to celebrate by drinking all of the free beer they had gotten from their new job. As they are carrying cases of beer into the house, one of them says, “… let’s not blow it by being late for our first day on the job…” to which the other brother replies, “Well, why don’t we just stay up all night?”
Why not indeed? Even thought it didn’t work in the movie I was sure I could pull it off. Besides, there was only a little bit of night left, and I saw no point in going to bed. I was even early for school that day, which rarely ever happened to me that year.
Day two of no sleep left me a little more aware that I was missing something that my body and mind were in full support of receiving. The prospect of enjoying some sleep that evening was the key ingredient in getting me through a few nodding off moments during my afternoon classes. Well that and the constant flow of Mountain Dew both in and out of my body, which helped keep me alert and on my toes… mainly because of all the visits I had to make to the rest room.
Sleep would have been eminent had it not been for the gathering of friends that happened right after school. None of us had any homework, which was rare, so we hung out, watched movies, and eventually toilet papered our arch nemesis’s house. Yes we broke all conventional rules for toilet papering a home and did it during a week night. It was a cop’s house, the one that was always giving us a hard time. He would always go home while he was on duty and leave his police car running in his driveway. I think it was so the gas would be used up so on record it appeared he was out patrolling all night. Toilet papering his house was just the kind of spontaneous thing that motivated me to forget all about being tired and filled me with the required amount of adrenaline I needed to make it through another sleepless night. Well that and getting chased around down by the cop after he left his house. Stealthily sneaking back to my house did take a little more time than expected, but was well worth it.
So when four a.m. arrived, about the same time I was getting home, I dipped my cup of reasoning into the endless pool or teenage wit and wisdom, which all teenagers drink from during their time as a teen, and exclaimed, “I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead!” I mean sure it might have sounded cool, and rebellious, and edgy at the time, but it really was quite an erroneous statement. Unfortunately, it was lost on me at the time, so I proceeded to stay up for a third day in a row… more than anything though, I just wanted to see if I could do it. Turns out, I could. What? It seemed like a good idea at the time.
It was on day three, during my 5th period art class that my REMly challenged mind had had enough and was going to make it quite clear to me that it wanted a break. I was working on a three foot by two foot pencil drawing of a woman in a dress. Her hair was hanging down in front of her face, which was perfect for me because I was still having trouble drawing faces proportionally. The drawing had no face to speak of, just lots and lots of hair. I remember one of her arms was hanging to her side, but it was a sort of side profile drawing so the arm was placed right in front of the dress. It was as I was shading the dress around the arm that it happened.
The entire picture became three dimensional and popped off of the paper. At first I was quite please because this allowed me to grab the lady’s arm and move it out of the way so I could get the shading on the dress right where her arm was hanging. The problem that arose was her arm kept slipping out of my hand and falling back to its original position, and ultimately getting in the way of the shading I was doing. After five minutes of this, with me getting more and more frustrated by the arms interference, one of my class mates broke the silence by asking me, “Are you ok?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
He told me that I kept putting my hand on top of the drawing and then would move my hand off of it like I was holding something and putting it down next to the paper. After shading for a few seconds I’d do it all over again. Also, apparently there were a few times that I hunched over the drawing and started scratching at the arm with one hand while I was shading right next to the area I was scratching at. My experience was that I was using my finger to tap her arm to the side while I shaded.
As the realization of what just happened hit me. I said I was fine and as I looked back at my drawing I saw the arm falling back into the paper as a flat two dimensional image. I only had two periods left before the day was over and I could go home, but damn if those two forty-five minute classes didn’t have a two to one special going on that day. For ever one minute that passed, I got a second minute for free. It was an epic hour and a half.
When I finally got home, I went straight to my room, taped a “Sleeping” sign on my door, and climbed into bed. I have no recollection of my head ever hitting the pillow. However, when I woke up fifteen hours later to get ready for school, it was clear by my reflection in the mirror that not only had my head hit the pillow, but that one side of my head had battled against it to gain control of my hair for the night. The pillow had won and the left side of my head had my hair sticking out in every direction but down. I am happy to say that after a shower and a hefty heaping handful of hair gel, my puffed pillowy hairdo deflated. Plus, I was no longer sleep deprived. Otherwise, I probably would have just said, “screw it” and gone to school looking like I was trying to win a Robert Smith lookalike contest where I was the only contestant (again… my junior year was an unfortunate time during my high school years… damn you Robert Smith… damn you The Cure.)
So any sleep deprived stories about your school years you’d care to share?
Google Images, keywords: art class, writing poetry, drinking mountain dew, toilet papering house, sleep deprived, drawing, and sleeping sign.
I suppose that if there were ever a really bad B style horror movie made about Tippy and her insatiable craving for attacking the human race, this next story might be a good starting point. I’d like to say it’s about a good kitty gone bad, but to be as accurate as possible we better make it a bad kitty gone worse, well the same I guess. Tippy was always Tippy that never changed. due to relentless teasing by angst filled youth. Part two of Tippy’s attack cat memoirs begins with a sleepover my brother Dave was having with a few of his friends.
Being prepubescent boys there is a certain amount of mischievousness that, when you are of that age, seems funny. However, in the overall scheme of things it turns out not to be such a good idea. Enter Steve. Steve was one of the friends staying the night. While wandering around the house he noticed Tippy in the kitchen drinking out of her water dish. He called some of the other boys over to show them the brilliantly hysterical idea he just had. As the boys gathered around Steve bent over and tapped Tippy on the back of the head so that her face when into the water.
She pulled her head back, shook off the water that covered her face and in her best nonchalant manner, looked up at Steve. She stared at him for a few seconds and then went back to drinking. Steve did it again, and the group of boys giggled. Again Tippy just took a few moments to stare at Steve and when back to drinking. This process continued for a few more cycles, but the cat’s lack of response caused the boys to venture into a different room in the house to find something else to entertain them.
Eventually the phrase that has haunted and derailed the endless joy of having a sleep over with your friends was uttered… it was “time of bed.” A unanimous sigh of disappointment rose from the boys like a cloud of steam rising off the roads after a random rain storm in the middle of summer. But the adults had spoken, so Dave’s group of friends filed into the television room and climbed into their sleeping bags.
With five boys covering the orange shag carpeted floor, Dave cracked the door open to get a little air flow into the room. Then he flipped off the lights and climbed into his sleeping bag. Just as he was about two thirds submerged in his sleeping bag he felt a soft brush of fur against this arm. The cat was in the room with them. Dave jumped up, stumbled across the floor of boys as fast as he could and flipped on the light. It was too late. Tippy had taken her revenge.
Tippy had her front paws wrapped around the side of Steve’s head. Her back paws were wrapped around Steve’s neck, and she was biting his forehead. Steve attempted to scream out, but because the cat was wrapped around his face the second he opened his mouth to scream all he got was a mouth full of fur. So instead of a scream you got a lot of spitting sounds as he tried to get the fur out of his mouth. The second Dave took a step towards the cat she leapt off Steve’s face and dove out of the room.
After a thorough going over, Steve only had a few light scratches and a little bit of a twitch every time you said Tippy. As everyone calmed down and got ready for bed once again, Dave made sure the door was tightly closed this time. The others had laughed when her face kept getting tapped into the water so there was no telling how far she would go to get where she considered things to be even.
Turns out she was rather content with just biting Steve’s face and calling it even. As I recall, Steve never did bothered her again. In fact I’m not sure he came over much after the incident, just as a precaution.
Sadly, I have no idea what happened to Tippy. We had our cousins stop by to feed her while we went away on holiday one summer. When we got back, she was gone. Our cousins told us that they had not seen her for the latter part of the week. They would come over but fill her dish, but it had remained full for three days in a row. There are many possibilities as to what happened to her.
Perhaps the mothership came to take her home because her race of attack felines needed a champion. Maybe she picked a fight with a person who had a concealed weapons permit who didn’t like the way she was eyeballing them. Personally, I like to think that after four days of not having anyone to terrify and spontaneously attack for the sake of attacking, which she did do a lot, she set out on a walk about to reek terror on the world one Tippy attack at a time. It really does seem like the only logical explanation.
Google Images, keywords: attack cat and wet cat.
Pets, I’ve had plenty growing up… a few dogs, some fish, even some gerbils, but mostly cats. Yes cats, not necessarily because we were cat people, but because we weren’t pet people. When you own a cat it’s more of a living arrangement where one party takes care of the food and taking out the trash, while the other fills the roll of eating the food and contributing to the trash fill by my making processed food deposits in its very own box of rocks.
Let’s see, when it came to cats the ones I remember clearly are Bertha, TJ, Cosmo, Tigger, Tippy, and Evil… well my friends and I called it Evil, but my sister who actually brought the little thing home called it Misha. Crazy thing is she’s still around. She’s twenty people years old now and going strong. Granted she sleeps about twenty hours a day, but for those four hours she’s awake she’s eating cat food with her one remaining tooth and hiking up and down the stairs trying to find a nice warm spot to take a nap. Still, out of all of the cats we’ve had over the years the one that gets talked about the most when the family gets together is the one we called Tippy.
Tippy was more of an obvious name than a clever name. She was a fluffy little gray kitten, except for the tips. Every tip of the little fur ball looked like it had been dipped in bleach. The tips of her ears, her nose, her tail, her paws, even her tummy were all white. I’m not sure what it was about this cat, but if I had to pick just two words to describe it, juvenile delinquent are first ones that come to mind. Tippy had the memory of an elephant and the personality of a vindictive super villain that always got even. To compare it to the great felines in literary history, Tippy was the type of cat that would give Greebo a run for his money.
If you wronged this cat in any way, it remembered who you were and WOULD get even. The first example that comes to mind is my mom. She was in the kitchen one afternoon getting lunch ready. When Tippy saw someone bigger than her with opposable thumbs who could actually reach the cupboards were all the food is, she would wander into the kitchen with the intention of making herself noticed. This was in hopes that the human she was pestering would get her a little shack or even some scraps in place of her crunch dry cat food.
My mother had already kicked everyone, kids and pets alike, out of the kitchen. Tippy managed to run back in the house as all of the kids were filing out of sliding glass door into the back yard. It didn’t take long before there was a clatter of pots and pans and a yell from inside the house. The back door sudden slid open and there was my mom, holding Tippy cat by the immobilizing scruff of her neck. Then in one valiant heave, like a valkyrie doing the one handed underhand tree stump toss at the Valhalla Olympics, let go of the cat while yelling her infamous battle cry, “Stupid cat!” and slammed the door shut, which takes a lot of skill when you are stuck using only a sliding door.
Tippy made the kitty equivalent cry of someone jumping out of a plane without a parachute. As she spun and flew through the air her claws were and paws were out stretched in hopes that she would eventually catch hold of something tangible to hold on to and could then eventually make her way back to the ground. Instead Tippy landed about twenty feet from the back door. The second her paws touched the ground she was in a full sprint dashing away from the house and my mom.
It wasn’t until that evening, after dinner had been eaten and most of the kids were huddled around my mom on the living room couch to have a story read to us, that the cat had decided she had waited long enough. It was time for words to be exchanged between the two ladies of the house. My oldest brother was sitting in a chair across from the couch and watched the whole event transpire. Tippy, in the ultra silent ninja mode that comes to naturally to cats in general, scaled up the back of the couch. Once on the head-rest portion of the couch Tippy crouched as low as she could. Her complete and total attention was focused on my mom’s head. She would move an inch, then stop, then another inch, and then stopped again. She continued this stalking method until she was about four inches from my mom. Then, as her claws dug into the couch, she leaned forward so that her head was about three inches from my mom’s ear and hissed as loud as she could.
My mom screamed and threw the book in the air while yelling, “Stupid cat!” As soon as the book began its impromptu assertion out of my mom’s hand and toward the ceiling, Tippy leaped off the couch away from my mom and hid out the rest of the night. In the morning the cat walked into the kitchen and sat next to her food bowl. My mom noticed the cat, put some eggs into some boiling water, and then put some food in Tippy’s bowl. They came to a sort of truce I believe. If my mom was alone in the kitchen, Tippy would come in, but always stayed close to her bowl making sure she was out of my mom’s way. In return my mom would give her a little something in return, usually either an egg yolk or the juice from a can of tuna. Of course if any of us kids were in the kitchen, you can be assured that she was in there with us, underfoot and trying to get a sample of whatever it was that we were creating for an after school snack.
There is one more Tippy story that really does need to be shared. My favorite of all the Tippy stories that we acquired in the short time we had her. Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about the slumber party were Tippy tried to eat Steve.
Do you have any revenge cat stories?
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