Smith: Interview with a feline
Cat: Now that the chickens are all fully grown, I have a few issues that I’d like to discuss.
Me: You can talk?!
Cat: Let’s try to stay focused. Now, I’m recalling last spring when you brought these bite-size birds into the house and would not allow me to eat them. I was hurt by that but managed to move on. Nothing like a good furniture scratching to take your mind off of things.
Me: You know, that couch was my great-grandmother’s, and I think it would be better if you used the scratching post that …
Cat: Again, focus. So you didn’t let me eat these birds when they were small and edible. Instead, you fed them and fed them until they’ve now grown to be larger than I am. And there’s a dozen of them. Why would you do such a thing?
Me: Well, it’s for the eggs.
Me: Yes, the eggs. That’s what we’re gathering from their coop every day.
Cat: You mean those oblong poops that you’re always getting so excited about? Why in the world would you take all of those into your house?
Me: We eat them.
Cat: Gross! You eat poop?
Me: They’re eggs, not poop.
Cat: Have you seen where they come from? Because I have. Hey, there’s a whole box of my poop in the mud room. You know, that box that you clean out like once a month? Why don’t you just eat that instead? What do you need chickens for?
Me: I told you, they’re eggs! Besides, cat poop isn’t edible.
Cat: I’ve seen dogs eat it. Like it was candy.
Me: I’m not a dog.
Cat: But you eat like a dog.
Me: No, I don’t.
Cat: You eat your own vomit.
Me: I do not!
Cat: Oh, yeah? What was that you were having for dinner last night?
Me: That was pumpkin soup.
Cat: If you say so. Listen, I’m just wanting to know where I stand around here. ’Cause it seems like you’re trying to send some sort of message. You’ve introduced giant, untethered birds to the area where I used to hang out, and now they’ve started to chase me, and you seem to be delighted by this.
Me: They’re just playing with you. It’s cute.
Cat: Right. Imagine a dozen giant ostriches chasing you around your yard every time you walk out the front door. Yee-haw — how adorable.
Me: How do you even know what an ostrich is? Aren’t you supposed to be asking if you can “haz cheeseburger” or something?
Cat: I’d rather have a dozen small chickens, but that ship has clearly sailed.
Me: How do you know what a ship is? And sailing?
Cat: Hey, I’m not just on your laptop all day because it’s warm. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I ordered a few cases of Fancy Feast from Amazon.
Me: Baby chicken flavor?
Cat: I wish.
Cat: Oh, come on. Don’t pretend that me buying things on your Amazon account causes you actual physical pain.
Me: No, I just thought that in this conversational format, where whatever I say is preceded by a “me,” seeing me say “ow” would make it read “meow.” You know, what cats usually say. That way it would look like I’m suddenly talking like a cat. It’s kind of an obscure visual play on words.
Cat: Doesn’t having to explain jokes in such detail mean that they aren’t funny?
Me: Usually but not in this case. Go back and re-read it. You’ll see.
Cat: You have a hard time with reining in the cheap wordplay, don’t you?
Me: Yeah. It’s an issue, for sure. It’s probably even clinical. Like, if I see an opportunity for a pun, no matter how bad it is, I feel that if I don’t make it, it would be, uh — what’s the word?
Me: No, that’s not it.
Me: Just be quiet for a second, and it’ll come to me.
Me: Now you’re just saying random words to try to distract me.
Cat: A minute ago you were impressed that I was using words at all, and now you’ve segued into criticizing my vocabulary. Not sure you have much room to criticize, especially since this column has been particularly …
Me: A culpa.
Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays. More at http://www.barrysmith.com.
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