May 6, 2008
Herding Cats
I emailed my mother to see if she needed any help before the weekend. There is still post-death cleanup going on in the land of the Likeys, you see, forms and a plethora of “This page intentionally left blank”s that seem neverending. I don’t recommend the death of a loved one for many reasons, but forms rank in the top 10.

“No, I’m ok. Thanks for asking. The house was cleaned yesterday. Now if I could just get the cat to behave.”

Mom’s cat scratches the furniture and the flooring and the thousands of suit skirts she dons for trips to the opera and Safeway. Nothing she tries seems to dissuade this persistent kitty, and apparently none of the Tasers I bought her has been of any help.

I don’t get it. What is this lack of control people have over their cats? Sure, Cricket is morbidly obese and may require a crane extraction by ’09, but other than that, both she and Bug do just what I tell them. If I want them to go to another room, I simply bring out the vacuum, and after a series of hisses and hateful statements about my chin they both retreat to the farthest corner of the apartment and cover themselves with the mattress. This is truth. I can also call either or both from the other room and they'll come running to me. This, actually, is truth. They know their names, when to come up on the couch, and that lying on the bathmat whilst I shower guards me against the evils contained in tap water. That last one? That seems to be a cat truth.

The real evil? The real evil, I want to tell Mom, is the adult softball player. If you thought herding cats was bad, try herding a team of grown, human, opposably-thumbed, completely amateur softball players. Two months ago, I sent out an email asking a) what shirt size they wanted, b) what name they wanted on said shirt, and c) what number they preferred printed, also on the same – not a different! – shirt. This wasn’t a 1040 written in haiku or a MENSA exam. Admittedly, I neglected to include a flow chart or an IKEA mini wrench. This was my mistake.

I received approximately three emails containing all requested information, and the rest were for the record books.

“Where is this week’s game?” Come again?

“Do you have time to swing by my place and pick up my money?” No, I have to wash my hair and ridicule babies from my apartment window. Oh, also? You’ve seen those blue boxes on street corners, right? They don’t only take the mail to Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Lick it and put a stamp on it.

“I want number 13.” Someone already picked 13. “But 13 is what I had last year.” You’re a grown man with a grasp of whole numbers. Pick another one. [Insert dumbfounded silence here.] And what nickname do you want on your shirt? “I think a nickname should be given to you, don’t you?” After beating my head against the wall and Tasering both the cats, I chose Asshat.

“Kris, I’m having problems reaching you by phone. Can I drop the money by your place?” I asked explicitly for the check to be mailed to me. “What is your address again?” I gave it in the first email. “How ‘bout I just mail you the check?”

Pure genius, I tell you, an exercise in frustration and newfound appreciation for those tutoring tee ball teams in the English language. Even Bug knew how to ask for a three-armed jersey.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Ryane said...

HAHA. I love it.." I chose Asshat". that's brilliant...

Blogger Beth said...

I gave up on the entire sport of softball (is softball a sport?) after the asshattery of the team I played on last summer. Good on ya for holding the hands of your teammates through such a complicated processes as picking a number and mailing a cheque.

Blogger HKW said...

I think, no, I know, this is the funniest post of yours. Really funny. Good luck herding, hope the team is more organized on the field. Happy Mother's Day to your Mom.

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

Well, who knew that herding humans was more difficult then herding cats? Maybe you should bring out the vacuum? Also, on a similar vein: Check out an oldie but a Goodie: youtube: herding cats

Blogger JordanBaker said...

Shouldn't one of his arms be in his pants?

(That's awkwardly phrased, but it's not even 7 a.m. and I can't think of a better way to put it).

Blogger Rachel said...

Cats never behave like you want them too...They are either scratching the furniture or peeing on something.

Hence the reason why I don't have one in the house.

Blogger t2ed said...

Taser Cats is one of this Summer's biggest blockbusters.

I've seen grown men pout (with full lip extension) over not getting the number they wanted. Organizing a softball team absolutely sux.

Just don't try to make out the batting order. It'll be hurt feelings and stink eye in the dugout the entire game. God forbid if you ever try to substitute so everyone gets to play.

Blogger Christina said...

I feel your pain on the softball thing. I'm always trying to organize things at work - most recently the March of Dimes walk - and I'm utterly amazed at the way people DON'T bother to read email.

Blogger lostinutah said...

My husband used to be the coach of his team that his workplace organized. It was such a pain in the ass he quit playing for a while. I feel your pain, or rather, he does.

Blogger The Red said...

My cat perches on top of the etagere to guard me from the tap water. EVERY. TIME.

The IKEA mini wrench killed me.

Blogger Dating at Forty said...

I think you should forget the whole democratic process and assign all the names yourself. You're off to a brilliant start with Asshat. I'm so calling someone that tonight.

Blogger Valerie said...

The vacuum thing, it never worked with my cat Mickey. She actually liked to BE vacuumed, which if we could convince all cats that this is a good idea, would reduce allergy symptoms for many people.

Alex, on the other hand, bolts the second I grab hold of the vacuum's handle. With an expression of utter panic.

By the way, he knows not only HIS name, but also Mickey's. I had to have her put to sleep a couple of months ago, and when we talk about her, his ears go up and he looks for her. I'm thinking he might need a kitten soon...

Blogger Mair said...

This sounds disturbingly, maddeningly, like my job.

Blogger Sumner said...

Absolutely priceless!

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