I am a believer that true life is usually better than fiction. I’m oft to say, “you can’t make this stuff up,” give or take an expletive. Much of what I write has either some real life counterpart or is 99.999999% true. This story is a mix of that. Not all true, but not all fiction. It’s the best of both worlds and I hope you get a laugh. Names have been changed (except for Jack’s) to protect the guilty.
4 for 4 BITCHESSSSSSSS.
I hate the commercials for the Dr. Oz health show. They’re always saying things like, “TUNE IN TOMORROW TO FIND OUT THE FIVE THINGS IN YOUR KITCHEN THAT ARE SLOWLY KILLING YOU,” or “COULD YOU HAVE CANCER AND NOT EVEN KNOW IT?” or “HOW A TAPEWORM LIVED INSIDE A WOMAN FOR FIVE YEARS.”
They piss me off.
I actually watched the one about invisible cancer and it was because the woman was so overweight she didn’t realize a softball-sized tumor was growing in her neck. Softball. In her neck. Wouldn’t you not be able to breath? Wouldn’t you think,
“Hey, there is something large and solid in my neck that is making it very difficult to breath.”
Even if you don’t think it is cancer, you get that checked out.
The woman’s reasoning was,
“It only seemed like it was about the size of a baseball!”
Right, because the difference between a baseball-sized tumor and a softball-sized tumor equals cancer?
My friend Dena once thought she had a tape worm living inside her. She said she kept getting stomachaches. This of course had nothing to do with the fact that she’s lactose-intolerant and is the biggest hypochondriac I know, besides our friend Anne, who gave her the hypochondria. I told her if she had a tapeworm living inside her, she would know it.
“But how do you really know?” she asked.
“You’re right, Dena,” I said, “You actually do have a tapeworm. Why don’t you name him Fred and eat another waffle? Fred’s probably hungry.”
She decided she didn’t have a tapeworm.
I think if I watched the kitchen-killers episode, alone, it would not have been good. Stopping short of Cloroxing every surface in my kitchen, I might have felt so overwhelmed by my futile attempts to sterilize that I would want to light a match to the whole thing. Which would be a real sight if I really had just cleaned the kitchen with Clorox. Which would be bad because I don’t have renter’s insurance. Which would be bad because I actually like this apartment.
“So why did you light your kitchen on fire again?” my apartment manager will ask me.
“MOLD SPORES! FUNGI! TOXINS IN THE FOOD! PRESERVATIVES!”
“MSG CAN KILL YOU!”
I’m not talking about Madison Square Garden. I’m talking about cancerous salt. Yeah.
Thank God I’m never home from work in time to actually catch this show. I consider it a Central Time Zone perk. But I do catch Oprah. And sometimes she’s just as bad. What’s that you say, Oprah? This scene of a trailer park in Ohio is a den of meth addicts and is representative of the entire state? Women in Norway feel that leaving their babies in strollers outside of grocery stores is perfectly safe because the weather there increases levels of serotonin? Men can have babies? Cats can have dog babies?
This last one is real, I swear to you. I regard myself as an aficionado of all things disgustingly cute, and you would think dogcat puppies? kittens? would be right up there with Shibu Inu puppies. They are not. I used to have a poster of the “spectrum of cuteness” on my patch of the wall at the college newspaper. It went through the whole realm, starting with doe-eyed kittens and ending with gurgling fat babies. Dogcats were MIA.
But the whole idea still fascinated me. So I asked an expert. My cat, Jack.
“Jack, what’s the deal, man? I mean, according to Oprah, not only is it possible for you to have babies, but could you really give birth to dogcat babies?”
“Would you really get it on with that lady German shepherd across the hall?”
Rolls over. (It’s important to note that my cat thinks he’s a dog.)
“Help me out here, I need to know!”
Then I feel guilty about interrogating him and give him a little extra pea baby food with his probiotics. Yes, my cat eats baby food … with probiotics. His delicate system just can’t handle wet cat food. And the good bacteria helps. Haven’t you ever seen those Activia yogurt commercials with the perfect abdomen and a yellow arrow pointing to its nether regions in a wiggling motion, describing the flow of the good bacteria? It’s real, people.
I think Jack’s abdomen is perfectly fine, though. In fact, he’s more than fine, and the problem is he knows it. I can’t take him ANYWHERE. Once I had to leave him overnight at the vet while I was out of town, and when I went to pick him up, the lady at the desk started uncontrollably laughing.
“Jack is your cat?” she squeals. (In a heavy, heavy Southern accent)
“Yeah … ”
“Ohhhhh my my, what a lady killer.”
“Jack’s got some new girlfriends. We’d test him. We’d walk past his kennel, and if it was one his girlfriends, he’d meow and meow till you walked over to him. He likes Lydia and Shelby and Diana, but his favorite is Amy … ”
She continues on about Jack’s swagger, and in my head all I can think is,
“Oh my God. My cat stole my mojo.”
What has orange fur, orange eyes and ten new girlfriends by the time he leaves the vet? My cat.
Then Amy comes out and hands him over to me in his carrier, giggling like a schoolgirl. I know this is Amy because she has a name tag with the name “Amy” on it, written in what appears to be purple puffy paint adorned with stickers of kittens. I really shouldn’t trust a vet that trusts its employees to DIY their name tags. Amy looks at me with this huge freaking grin and she hands me the carrier handles. I smile/wince back. I walk out the door.
Outside, I sit Jack on the passenger seat of my car and as I walk over to the driver’s side, I see Amy, standing at the glass front door, still grinning. She waves.
I get in the car, start the engine and turn down the radio. I peer into the cage at Jack, who’s sitting like a sphinx statue, clearly feeling like King Tut on his palatial throne, except it’s a mesh cat carrier with a fleece blanket on the bottom.
And he just looks at me like, “Duh, what did you expect, a dogcat?”