HAVE YOU SEEN AN ORANGE TABBY CAT AROUND HERE?

Deezer (a cat)

It was the 17th hour of the second day when we finally found him. He (Deezer) had somehow — in some way I still cannot fathom or deduce the finer details of — crawled inside the back of a washing machine and, it would seem, wedged himself in between a rusty motor and some pipes and wires. In this spot he would then stay. He would remain, helplessly, with a murky and shallow puddle of a cloudy liquid rippling underneath him. It was a thin layer of filthy moisture that consisted of the discarded droplets of years of innumerable loads of laundry that had most likely escaped and accumulated one drip at a time from a faulty pipe. Or from condensation? Or whatever causes a washing machine to leak and produce water on the floor. I should make it clear that I know nothing about how washing machines work or how they are built or how, exactly, a cat could manage to find the room to stuff itself inside of one.

I only learned this little pool of moisture was even there after the fact when, during my retroactive autopsy of the erstwhile two days, I shined a flashlight at it and the puddle shined back. I ran my fingers along it and it was cold and runny, but with bits of unknown origin. Gross. Only with this flashlight could I see it, lurking in the darkness of the inner confines that house the guts of this machine and that had entombed Deezer. This was the 1,300 lumen flashlight I had bought on Deezer’s behalf the night prior in the hopes it would have illuminated him in the dark, and that it might have shined on his eyes to cause them to finally shine back. This of course being back when we were still hopeful he would be found. Before we had begun to wordlessly accept the unthinkable, the unacceptable, and the most unwanted reality — that Deezer had been lost or taken. That Deezer had been struck down in his prime by one of the coyotes the officer warned us about and was dead. That Deezer was alone in the unforgiving and frigid wild and would never make it back. That Deezer was gone.

His body was lithe when we finally got him out of that machine and held him in our arms. His limp and limber skeleton seemed to hardly be holding him together. His head spilled over one side of my arms and his legs and tail spilled over the other like he was a loose bag of beans. Or perhaps a dead goose’s pendulous neck…not that I have any experience with those. His soft orange and striped fur was matted, and tainted, by the aforementioned fluid. When we had finally brought ourselves to more closely examine his body and inspect what might have transpired, we also noticed his claws had been ground down to nubs and rust had been smattered on what I suppose you could call his cat toes. Who knows what he had been doing that whole time he had been in there and what he finally forced himself to do in his fruitless last-ditch attempts at escape? It must have been miserable and must have felt futile. He was alone. Our boy was all alone when he needed us most. By the time we found him it was simply too late. It had already been an entire weekend. We just didn’t find him soon enough.

The damn cat was, of course, alive and perfectly healthy. The only thing his rescue hadn’t been soon enough to prevent was him once again making a fucking idiot out of me and costing us a ton of money. See, what I did back up there was the ol’ bait and switch to make this situation sound more dire than it had really been, and to keep you GUESSING. I thought I’d try to get all literary about it with some real flowery and grim language. I really went into detail about that dumb puddle of water, didn’t I? Hey! Perhaps you even thought the cat had died! But no, thankfully he did not. I imagine anybody who is actually taking the time to read this already knows that, too. He is in fact alive and well and never better.

As of this writing, he is curled up on Brittany’s white blanket — the one which he weirdly suckles upon like a stunted Peter Pan of a cat who only grew up in some ways but not in all the important ways — with a look on his face of content unlike any contentment I have had the fortune of experiencing in my adult life. He also smells like a baby. The first thing we did was wash him and Brittany insisted upon using an aged bottle of baby soap, which she had positive olfactory association with because it had belonged to her much loved mother when she was still of this mortal coil. And while I understand and in fact envy being able to have such a positive association with baby soap, all it has managed to make me do is continue to realize what a stupid helpless baby this dumb orange cat is, and how without realizing it I had bit by bit gone on to love him unconditionally in spite of his plethora of foibles in much the same way a human father loves a baby-scented human baby in spite of the disgusting and dumb and annoying shit they manage to do. I love this dipshit cat, despite what he just put Brittany and I through on the fateful days of October 24th and 25th.

Minutes after the harrowing rescue.

I’m looking at him right now. He’s doing that thing where his head is up but he’s not really conscious. His eyes look like two hockey sticks with the blades pointing downward and the shafts pointing northwest and northeast, respectively. I also know that’s the proper nomenclature because I looked up “hockey stick diagram” to make sure I had it right. Did you know the small part between the shaft and the blade is called a “hosel?” Anyway, yes, the face with the hockey eyes is what Deezer is doing. When Morty, my dog, does this thing I have liked to call it Sphinxing.

Oh, now he’s dumbly licking his paw. For the love of God, this damn cat is sitting in the catbird seat, happy as happy could be and secure in the knowledge that this world is his oyster. And I curse him for it. I curse him because I can only recall how just one day prior he had thrust me into the deepest throes of despair I had ever found myself in. I curse him because his behavior as a cat in general confounds me so much, and because his reckless nonsense and his nonchalant inability to recognize just exactly what he did to my insides and outsides makes me so goddamn angry that it makes me love him more.

That last sentence, precisely, is what most puzzles me about this dumb orange cat. It is the closest thing to a superpower that I have ever witnesses or experienced. This cat annoys the ever loving shit out of me every day. The only way to describe his daily routine is a nine to five shift of fucking around, with overtime between the hours of 4 and 6am. Yet…it seems that the more he annoys me, the more I love him? Why?

I can only shudder to imagine just how many essays have been written about the unique allure of cats and how many ‘slice of life’ pieces there are that exist about some silly bullshit some cat somewhere did at some time, and I am loathe to contribute one more. But whatever, here we are.

Before I ever really got to know Deezer, the first cat I have deeply, truly cared for, my education about cats was rudimentary but sufficient. I knew they were fucking weird and annoying, that they really serve no pragmatic purpose but to accompany their human parents which they often fail at miserably because of their deep seated and prehistoric desire to kill and eat them in their sleep if only they were big enough and had sharp enough teeth to do so. I’ve read that last bit of information in many a think piece written by a sneering charlatan jackass in SoHo who delights in getting paid to burst bubbles and cynically reinforce just how bad the world is and how all the nice things in this world that we like aren’t really nice because they are bad and want to kill us.

I also knew that sometimes cats were nice…but that I should not be fooled because it’s just a front because we feed them and provide them shelter and they are just playing a role for their own gain and using us. After all, I had once read and distinctly recall a different piece written by somebody making the case that cats are the most effective parasite that has ever existed within the animal kingdom, and that they are performing an act that had taken many hundreds of thousands of years to perfect. It was, in all truth, a very compelling position that was and still is hard to argue against.

I always thumbed my nose at cats and felt satisfied in my position of being a “dog person” who would forever be fated to prefer dogs to cats. And make no mistake — I still do prefer dogs to cats. But that is, I have determined some time ago, because I prefer dogs to literally everything else this planet has to offer, and nothing provides me more happiness. Mortimer, the dog I have had my entire adult life, is a conduit of happiness straight to my soul. His mere existing is medicinal to me. He is an anodyne presence that injects my soul and brain with an analgesic ebullience even if he is weird and small and can’t talk or do much of anything very well. I love him as much as I am capable of loving. By default, I am a dog person, in much the same way that somebody who most loves oxygen over everything else in this world is an ‘oxygen person.’

I love dogs because, by and large, humans disappoint me and dogs, on the other hand, offer me and everyone else all of the auspicious aspects of humanity that are desirable and that I favor, and they omit, by default, all of the more dubious or insidious aspects of humanity that makes me wary of other members of my own species. So, yes, I am a dog person. I love dogs the most.

With that said, I think I was forced to reckon with the slowly dawning realization all weekend, in my brutal late October pursuit of a cat I thought was a goner, that cats may not be as far behind dogs on my ‘list of the things I like’ as I had spent my life thinking they were.

Let me be clear — my girlfriend and I frittered an entire weekend away looking for a cat that was not going to be found anywhere we were looking. I am not and will never be happy about that. She did the math and figured out we walked over 15 miles in two days searching for Deezer. 15 miles! In fact, it was even more for me because I practically sleepwalked out the door at 6am on Sunday morning to wave my flashlight around at bushes and trees only to wander back in and hopelessly crawl into bed again, capping off a bizarre trance-like outing that I can only recall one or two fragments of which serve as the only evidence I have that I had even done that.

Our bodies ached so much we could hardly make it to the door when we defeatedly walked in on Sunday evening and finally heard the MEOWING. The frantic meowing.

We both heard the noise, but it struck Brittany’s brain like a lightning bolt. I could almost see the cartoonish yellow zigzaggy bolt collide with her cranium the second we heard it and she demanded — not requested, but demanded with no alternative — I call the building’s office and somehow talk them into getting a maintenance man to come to us and do…whatever a maintenance man could do that we couldn’t to locate our lost cat that may or may not have been the source of the sudden meowing. She demonstrated the same innate readiness that went from zero to one hundred in less than a millisecond that she had demonstrated the entire weekend. It was dazzling if not bewildering to watch her somehow become fully suited up in autumnal attire and clad in boots with her purse already on in less than a second after the very moment we ever received a ‘tip’ about Deezer’s whereabouts. It also demonstrated just how truly in tune she was (and is) with this cat. This entire weekend in which Deezer was missing and presumed lost, she never relinquished her grip on the notion that he was still in the building. Not once. She said it again and again. I DON’T KNOW WHY BUT I DON’T THINK HE EVER LEFT THE BUILDING. I thought I knew full well that she was grasping at straws.

We both unadvisedly entertained the theory that Deezer had been kidnapped and was being held captive by the now exonerated residents of the third floor for far too long, up until the point I detailed my supposedly sound and ironclad bullet-point list of reasons I thought they might be in possession of Deezer to an actual police officer. After I had done that, and the officer had (to my benefit) made me feel like the fool I was, I accepted Deezer was gone and would never be found. Brittany never did. No, her innate connection with her soul cat is something I will never question again. I DON’T KNOW WHY BUT I DON’T THINK HE EVER LEFT THE BUILDING, she maintained.

This is also consistent with the CONFUSION both of us, but emphasis on her, felt after this had happened. The FACTS of Deezer’s disappearance made no sense. Not long after he had vanished, I came through with the motherfucking receipts. I had goddamn TIMESTAMPS as to his going missing. Somewhere between 10:18 and 10:43, Deezer disappeared. I knew this because I had taken a picture of Deezer with Mortimer looking out the window for Brittany and sent it to her at 10:18, and I had concluded a phone call with my sister Jess at 10:43, at the exact moment when Brittany’s questioning of where Deezer was had grown too frantic to brush off. Brittany had walked in the door from the dentist at 10:18 at exactly the same moment I had sent the picture.

I thought this was nice…

I knew, and yes indeed I could see when I hung up the phone with Jess. Yes oh yes you better believe it, Deezer went missing in that time window starting at exactly 10:18. It elicited laughter from the officer who questioned me about this whole thing when he asked when ROUGHLY Deezer disappeared, and I hit him with a swift TEN EIGHTEEN. I was so beside myself that I probably could have come up with the exact seconds if I had been pressed to.

Because it didn’t add up. How had Deezer vanished off the face of the Earth within such a small window? Well, I said, the only two options were that he was either taken by one of the less than ten people in this building, or that one of them must have been a real nogoodnik who let him out the door with reckless abandon and no regard for our HAPPINESS and WELLBEING. Some ne’er do well who sought to sabotage our JOY because they were DUMB and did it ON PURPOSE. I entertained the kidnapping option well into the second day, too, until I let it evaporate from my considerations. I told myself it made sense. That family had been acting suspicious, I thought, because they were so hostile and unwelcoming to a lanky looking idiot with glasses in a black jacket who came knocking on their door to breathlessly ask about “an orange cat have you happened to see an orange cat.”

I firmly contend that I freaked not only them out but many other of the neighbors in this little community. More than a handful of the people I encountered when I was traversing the grounds like a restless ghost, asking about an ORANGE CAT, YOU HAVEN’T HAPPENED TO SEE AN ORANGE CAT HAVE YOU, found me unsettling and untrustworthy. I will always remember the remorseless and stony but legitimately loathsome and indignant expression on one woman’s face as she brusquely nodded no at me and sped up when I asked, in the nighttime, if she had seen an orange cat. I stumbled on my words and, in that snap moment, come across as a stumbling, staggering drunk looking to start some shit. Though I still do blame her because that was rude as heck no matter what. Oh, and you know what else? I even got brushed off by somebody who claimed they spoke no English for the first time. I still don’t know if it was legitimate either. The verdict is still out on that one, because he had a dog wearing a sweater, so it was hard for me to believe he would be unreceptive to a frantic man asking about a “cat.” I feel like that word is rather universal, and only a pet lover would put a blue sweater with white stars on their dog, so it made most sense that he found me unnerving and wished not to speak to me. I considered saying “cat” in any other languages I knew, but realized I only knew “gato” and “neko,” and that there was only a two in the whole planet chance of getting it correct. At least I was able to reflect on my temporary state of irrationality and psychosis in that moment, none of which I was proud of. Just as I was able to take a step back and realize how bad the optics were of asking a police officer to question a family because I thought they had stolen our cat.

My God, am I glad I didn’t press that any further. I should have just taken it at face value. When the woman told me to back up, it was because she didn’t know who the hell I was. When she told her husband to come to the door and it took him like three minutes, it was because she didn’t know who the hell I was and I interrupted them. When she said, approximately ten to twelve different times, that she was “scared of cats,” I was because she was scared of cats and really, really wanted to make that known. When I saw her daughter in the parking lot shortly after, and asked her if she had seen an orange cat, and she laughed and said her mother had already called her about a guy “looking for a cat,” it was because I had been an unwelcome and awkward and frantic guy who went knocking on their door on a Saturday morning.

But the “that family stole Deezer” narrative was the closest thing to a sensible explanation we could latch onto. In our guts, we really didn’t think he had actually gotten out. I relinquished that eventually, however, and accepted a gruesome scenario that I had vividly nightmared about where Deezer had his throat torn out by a toothy canine creature in the middle of a bright green field filled with clovers in the daytime and was now dead and rotting. But Brittany? No, she never did. It was still I DON’T KNOW WHY BUT I DON’T THINK HE EVER LEFT THE BUILDING. And, I’ll be damned, that stupid cat never left the building.

But this was not realized until after we had spent close to $500 or more on flyers, ads, an absurdly expensive flashlight, a “pet amber alert,” and everything else in GOTWAD2K20 (Get Out The Word About Deezer 2020) accoutrements, and were willing to spend that same amount as a reward if he was found.

$500 is an awful lot for us. I can’t remember a single time in my life that I have had more than that in my spending money bank account, and in the best of times $500 is about all the actual ‘savings’ I have in my savings account that won’t go to rent or some other recurring expense. A thousand bucks is a LOT for us to suddenly spend in a week. Thankfully we only had to pour half of that down the drain on…essentially nothing. Well, let me revise that last sentence. We spent that much on a cat that had shoved himself into a washer out of his own volition less than five feet away from our front door. Thankfully, however, there were some parts that didn’t cost money. Some of the parts that I’ll get to keep forever were free.

It cost nothing for our wonderful friend Jen to drive quite the distance to spend two hours on a weekend asking strangers about an orange cat they had not seen and to look in bushes we had looked numerous times for a cat that was not going to be found because he was stuck in a washing machine.

It was FREE to receive emails from concerned strangers about orange cats they may or may not have seen, or with helpful tips on how to find lost pets. It required no money to hear from the woman who lives in the apartment community next to ours on the other side of the white fence about a quick and small cat she had seen running. It required no money but the cost of gas to then drive out there seconds after receiving the message from that concerned good Samaritan (whereupon Brittany had produced her purse and boots from out of thin air and was already out the door and in my car with the engine running before I even finished telling her about the message), and it was free to run into her in person.

We met her toddling son, with piercing blue eyes that, as Brittany said, ‘looked right through you.’ This boy was horrified in his little boy mind that our window was down and he implored us to ROLL IT UP, because it was COLD and he wanted us to stay WARM. He began to sob. He projected his arm outward and clutched something invisible like an opera singer or a mad scientist as we drove away and were without a doubt in his mind COLD which was unthinkable to him because he was wearing a big blue coat and mittens and a hat and was therefore sufficiently WARM.

We also were aided by another child who required no monetary compensation for her assistance. The little girl with the taciturn grandmother some buildings away took a great interest in finding our cat and took it upon herself to walk around yelling “Deezer! Deezer!” as her mute grandmother wordlessly accompanied her like the ghost of a strict schoolmarm who had lost the ability to speak but could still glare like the best of them.

It cost us nothing to contact the DuPage sheriff’s department to see if we could have some help getting the word out about our missing cat, and to have them have already dispatched an officer to our location to help us before the phone call was even concluded and without asking if we even wanted that. Also for free, they later called me personally to tell me that the officer would be late in tending to our cat crisis because an actual emergency had taken place but that they promised us one would still be coming and they sincerely thanked me for my patience.

When the officer came, he taught me something I had been doubting these past four years, which is that somebody with completely polarized ideological views from yours can still be in possession of the human trait of kindness on the basest level. Yes, the officer had taken it upon himself to steer the conversation in the direction of politics in short order. “I don’t want to get all political,” he told us as he readied himself to get all political because he wanted to do. He went on to imply that Deezer had likely been devoured by a coyote or that he would be almost certainly be killed by one during the coming evening, and that his likely and inevitable death was the fault alone of the liberals of Naperville for not embracing laxer gun control laws. I walked away from him, scoffing, and thinking it had been a waste of time for them to send Officer Friendly out to unhelpfully lecture me in person about how the only thing that could come between a sweet cat and a mangy coyote’s teeth are some rootin’-tootin’ good guys with guns. But I swallowed my scoffs later on in the subdivision of the woman with the blue eyed boy as we discovered that the officer had, in fact, been true to his word when he said that he would go out looking for our cat. She told us casually that at some point the night prior a very vigilant officer had made his presence known in the NeuDearborn community and, non-ironically, stated plainly that his purpose there was to look for a cat that he was dead serious about locating.

I mean, I’m not naïve. I know who this guy is going to vote for and what he represents, and I am starkly opposed to it. But irrespective of that, it was a rare treat to still be on the receiving end of kindness from him in spite of the yawning canyon that I know exists between his perspective on the world and mine. And, yeah, it cost nothing (besides taxpayer money)!

I thought it might have cost us our right to live in our apartment community when we plastered every single door of every single building with “MISSING CAT” signs, because I knew it was a clear violation of our lease. But it did not cost us that, because the woman at the front desk, named Jessica and haplessly beginning her very first weekend on the job, put herself far outside of the comfort zone of somebody starting a new job. It did not feel like it at the time, but in hindsight it is apparent that she went above and beyond to help us locate the cat that we now know was just in a stupid washing machine. She gave us permission that was perhaps not even hers to give to tape flyers on doors. She put herself in a position of possible punishment to help us out - out of kindness. We put her in a difficult position. She even sent an email to every resident of our apartment community asking about Deezer. I know this is unusual and not regular protocol for the simple reason of her having told us so when we first asked. But that was before she met Brittany From The Block — a character Brittany only becomes in rare moments of need. Brittany From The Block is the most assertive, self-assured, firm, and, yes, feisty individual I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Brittany From The Block is also absolutely terrifying, something which I am sure our friend Jessica of the front office recognized at precisely the moment Brittany said to her “IF YOU CAN SEND EVERY RESIDENT AN EMAIL ABOUT THE TOT LOT, YOU DAMN WELL SURE CAN SEND AN EMAIL ABOUT MY MISSING CAT.” This was a call she made somewhat impulsively when I was trapped at OfficeMax trying to print more LOST CAT flyers but was stuck in line behind a mirror-world version of Toni Morrison who was rude and irate but just as long-winded.

And in that OfficeMax, it did cost me $14 dollars to print the 100 flyers I printed. But it did not cost me a cent for the sympathetic employee working what I eventually learned was the very last hour of his very last shift on the very last day that specific OfficeMax would be in business to “accidentally” print all of the flyers in color. Which, you know, displayed Deezer’s orange color in a way black and white would not. This man looked like a human Swisher Sweet and his pants were loose and baggy. He kind of looked like what Bart Simpson would probably look if they made a live-action movie of the episode where he grows up. This disheveled man “accidentally” pressed a wrong button here, and a wrong button there, picked the cheaper printing option due to a “glitch,” printed too many copies because he was a careless “idiot.” Eventually he would concede, when I pressed him on what was going on and how much it would cost, that “this is my way of adding to the cause.” It should have cost me a lot more money than it did. But it didn’t. And I will not forget his kindness. Truly, I had a real life crash course in the Kindergarten level lesson of not judging a book by its cover. And that kindness is free (sprinkle it everywhere 💖)

None of the supportive and KIND comments and retweets from my mom, and my sisters, and Brittany’s grandma and family and friends and my friends and the moms and families of my friends and the friends who are somehow friends despite my never having met them or their living in the United Kingdom or Australia or Canada, cost us anything.

The greatest cost accrued, truth be told, was my mental and physical wellbeing…and, really, there is only one individual to blame for that and he walks on four legs and is orange and is presently celebrating his well-executed publicity stunt that got him what he has always craved most —𝐹𝒜𝑀𝐸.

I lost actual pounds due to the stress of locating this cat who spent two days in a washing machine. It is no exaggeration when I say that, upon weighing myself this morning, I found I weighed less than I ever have since I was in high school, well before I could legally drink and have access to that sweet and caloric alcohol. All I ate on the Saturday was a piece of pizza and a handful of gummy worms and gummy ‘twin snakes,’ which had been Halloween gifts to Brittany and myself from her Grandparents the week or so earlier.

I had gone from having a freshly shaven face with a damn near glow on it that Saturday morning when I was drinking coffee and cleaning up the apartment like a montage in an early 2000s ABC Family show, to having four fresh pimples, chapped and bloody lips, and some sort of weird indelible horn that my tousled hair insisted on forming on one side of my head the entire weekend. And yes, my eyes were puffy. I allowed myself to weep in private the evening prior because I was looking for Deezer deep into the evening with my flashlight and he simply wasn’t there and I felt I knew deep in my heart that I would never see him again. I cried a bit later with Brittany when I histrionically lamented that “DEEZER WAS TOO KIND FOR THIS CRUEL WORLD AND THAT’S WHY HE WAS TAKEN FROM US AND IS NOW GOING TO DIE.” Then I cried again when I was in one room and Brittany was in the other and she began to play “Only Lost Is Found” by Blue October (now the official anthem of this saga) and I could hear the soft cries of a mother who had lost her son as she looked out upon the empty courtyard, utterly devoid of a Deezer, with the cat’s favorite blankie on our little patio, alongside a little orange tent and a tin of Deezer’s favorite food (Smalls brand) and a fresh bowl of water, all of which had gone untouched. I whimpered when I saw Deezer’s carrier out the front door on the second day, with his collar sitting lonesome inside, next to a Tupperware of his litter meant to lure him back, and a treat of Morty’s that Deezer liked to eat because he is a fat, food-driven fuck. And I choked up most painfully in the moment when Brittany looked upon a pink cat shaped mug of freshly planted cat grass that had only begun to sprout and sobbed out the words “his cat grass” before losing all her composure.

None of this was good for my wellbeing or my health. I was the guy in a movie who looks in the mirror and gruffly says “I’m a wreck.” I also don’t think it was particularly beneficial to my reputation in this community, all the members of which now at best know me only as the sad man walking with a tiny dog in a sweater vest and his girlfriend looking for a cat who they fucking adore but who was probably dead. This weekend took a toll on me overall. It took a toll on me so significant that I am embarrassed to admit it. I am embarrassed because, as somebody who does not care about cats or dogs or even little lizards or mice would say, “it’s just a cat.” I feel silly about how torn up I was over this. It’s not a human, right? JUST A CAT. But I am a lame softie. I can’t help it. And there is no such thing as “just a cat” or “just a dog,” if you ask me. I think I discovered that this world has two unique camps of people, too. Those who don’t care about this sort of thing and have little to no regard for pets and animals, and those who do. And I have no desire to know any of the people from the former category. But, still, being this bent out of shape was a bit overkill, no? What the fuck had come over me to drive me to such a cutting place of desperation and anguish?

And this is why, as I stared at Deezer not long after his hide had been spared from whatever part of the washing machine he had holed himself up in, as he sat comfortably on the floor and then rolled on his back in a sickeningly harmless and cloying manner, I determined I had to really have a discussion with myself. Why exactly was it that this affected me so much? And why, after this abashedly traumatic experience, did I feel that, somehow, I was better off having gone through it? And why did I feel so acutely that this was the universe’s way of trying to teach me a lesson?

But what, pray tell, WAS that fucking lesson? I pondered this consistently, as we dried Deezer with a towel, and as his thousand meter stare wore off and he returned to being the same little fucking annoying dipshit who steals my chair every time I get up and who tries to mewl in Morty’s ear when Morty is sleeping which annoys the hell out of Morty. I pondered this as we ate our celebratory barbecue, which we bought because I asked Brittany what we should eat to celebrate and she said, without hesitation, “BRISKET.” I pondered it all damn day and all damn night and I still am. What was the universe trying to tell me?

Well, I’m not sure. I’m really not. I have assumed it must have been something about kindness, or human nature, or the love of an animal and their purity, or my love for Brittany, or the power of positive thought and manifesting, I guess. I’m also not quite sure the universe actually does try to tell us anything, as I find comfort in knowing that the universe and life itself is chaos. The universe tells us whatever we interpret that chaos as having meant. And I’m still not sure I quite know what I was being taught by Deezer’s chaotic little stunt. But I do, however, feel confident that whatever that lesson was can be found somewhere in this, a recollection I have compiled for posterity documenting a weekend that was both one of my worst and perhaps one of my happiest too.

What a ridiculous cat.

Twitter — @Reubnick

Website — ReubenGlaser.com

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