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1999.09.30 The Day I Learned to Hate Cats

posted Feb 11, 2010, 2:27 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Mar 26, 2010, 6:15 AM ]

My younger brother T2 (our Mother gave us all names starting with the letter "T" to make us easier to remember) temporarily moved in with us once while he was between jobs. Not that I mind living with T2 again, but he has a cat named Buddy The Supercat. It's not that I don't like cats, mind you. However, I've had bad experiences with a few particular cats, and that makes me wary of the species as a whole. Cats, I think, would take over the world if they could. It's hard to take over the world, though, when you sleep upwards of 20 hours a day.

Buddy The Supercat seemed nice enough, however. Sure, there was his habit of jumping on my chest every morning at exactly 5:15 AM. But T2 explained that he usually fed Buddy every morning just after the alarm clock went off, and my alarm clock goes off before T2's. So I naturally blamed this more on T2 and less on Buddy the Supercat.

After having a large cat jump on your chest at 5:15 AM, by the way, you don't need that morning cup of coffee.

Buddy The Supercat would occasionally sneak into my car. I'm sure exactly how. The rear end is rusted out and there are certainly holes big enough for a cat to climb through into the trunk, and from there up through the holes in the rear deck where my speakers used to be. So I duct taped up the rust holes in the trunk. I'd still find him in my car, sunning himself on the dashboard. I put the speakers back and wired them down. I'd still find him in the car. I finally got tired of it and made sure that T2 locked him in the spare room that night. The next morning, I looked in the car and saw no Buddy. Success!

Halfway to work, Buddy The Supercat climbed out from under the front seat, stretched, and meowed something about breakfast.

I cussed T2 all the way back home.

One morning, after being out of town for a couple of days, I started getting dressed and reached for a fresh pair of socks. I always put on a new pair of socks every week, whether I need them or not. At this point I noticed the socks were damp, right up at the top where the elastic is. That's the elastic that's supposed to hold the socks up but usually just makes my leg look like it belongs on an antique table.

As a diabetic, I'm not supposed to wear loose or sagging socks. Such socks could bunch up in my shoes and cause sores and blisters, which is bad because I'm scheduled to lose all feeling in my feet any year now, so I wouldn't notice said sores and blisters. Said sores and blisters would take forever to heal and quite possibly develop into gangrene because the blood circulation in my feet is so poor.

At least, that's what the doctor tells me. All I know is that it hurts like the dickens when I step on something sharp and pointy, and if that amount of blood is indicative of poor circulation, I don't see how the rest of you keep from bleeding to death.

Another sock rule is that, because of my poor blood circulation in my extremities, I'm not supposed to wear watches or long sleeves or tight socks with strong elastic tops. The last one is what gets me. I'm supposed to wear socks that aren't loose but aren't tight that don't sag but don't have strong elastic tops. My doctor can tell me all that in a single breath with a straight face and declare afterward that he can't understand why I'm laughing.

After much searching, I finally found some socks that come close enough for my doctor to stop threatening to cut off my feet just to save me the trouble. These were my special socks. These were the ones that were damp.

Now, I've been known to take the socks out of the dryer a little too soon. I'm a man, and while I can strip down and rebuild major appliances, I don't always operate them correctly. Besides, putting an extra quarter in a machine just to go from "warm and slightly damp" to "warm and completely dry" seems a little extravagant, especially since they generally dry by themselves after a couple of days of laying in the sock drawer.

These hadn't, so I reached for another pair of my special socks. Also damp at the top. I reached for another pair. These were not damp at the top. I put one on and noticed immediately that it was damp at the toe. I took it off and looked at it for a while. My life is not complete until I've had my early morning stare, so I stared for a while. More importantly, it occurred to me to sniff. I'm not sure I've ever actually taken a whiff of ammonia, but I'm certain this is what it smells like.

I finally found a dry pair of socks, then proceeded to the underwear. I won't bore you with the details. Needless to say, by the time I was dressed for work, I was more interested in finding Buddy The Supercat and having a little talk with him. I didn't exactly intend to hurt him, but neither was I exactly sure what I was going to do to him. Fortunately for him, I couldn't find him. By the time I saw him later in the day, I'd cooled down. Like many other things, I'd also shifted the blame from the cat to the owner. "Did you know your cat peed in my underwear drawer?" I asked.

T2 shrugged. "Your sweat must smell like cat urine. They only go where other cats have gone, you know."

I love my brother. I really do.

Next laundry day, I made sure that the affected socks and underwear were ready to go. I picked out a clean t-shirt, put it on, smoothed it out, and noticed the damp spot. At this point I decided that I had better wash every sock, brief, and shirt that I owned. I started digging into my underwear drawer (okay, actually a big cardboard box in the corner) and stuffing stuff into my laundry bag. When the laundry bag was full, I started on my back-up bags aka pillow cases. I started to wonder just where all this stuff came from. Then I remembered.

As a child, I hated getting clothes for Christmas. I could have received a pony, 47 comic books, and a working flame thrower, but it would have all been ruined by one pair of sensible pants from Sears. However, once I reached the age that my mother no longer bought my clothes for me, I realized that the only thing I hated more than getting clothes for Christmas was going out and buying them myself. That's how socks, underwear, and t-shirts became a staple of my Christmas Wish List. I did some figuring and decided this had been going on for, oh, 15 years or so.

Upon arrival at the coin laundry, I commandeered two tables and started sorting. On one table went all the new (sometimes never worn) or simply serviceable undergarments. On the other table went all the ones that I never wore anymore due to holes, stains, fading, lack of elastic, faded colors, etc. I briefly considered donating these clothes to charity, then decided to trash them and just send a check.

Nothing is quite the blow to the ego as having a charity decline your contribution and offer to fix you up a box to take with you.

I ran all the clothes through an extra cycle, just to make sure they were dry. When I got home, I tried to put them all back into the box they came out of. I think that's the main reason I never minded if my socks were a little damp. Dry, fluffy things don't pack as well.

As for Buddy The Supercat, the feline that started this all? Well, he's still around, but I put my foot down. No more gourmet cat food for him. He eats the same as everybody else at the table. And our camping trip for this weekend is definitely off.