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Blender the secret cat

A lady at work told me that her dog died. That sucks. It sucks that her dog died, and it sucks that she told me. I barely know this lady’s name — Joan, I think, but it might be JoAnne. She’s not in my work group; she’s from a different department down the hall. We’re not buddies so it seems strange that she told me about her dead dog.

“Good morning,” I said, and she said, “My dog died," so we talked about her dog. Joan or JoAnne did most of the talking, but I offered my condolences, and said, “Most pets are better than most people.”

I wasn’t sure what else to say, but I knew what not to say. “Well, don’t be so blue, it was only a dog.” That’s what someone told me, a long time ago, after a dog of mine had gone to Doggy Heaven. You have to be a graduate of Asshole Academy to say something that clueless.

A dog dying won’t get an obituary in the newspaper, but the grief is real. Maybe the grief is more real with pets than when people die.

Does that sound dumb? I stared at the wall for a while after typing it, and it probably sounds dumb, but I’m not gonna untype it.

People are a complicated mess of good things and bad things and things in between. When people die, you remember the good, but the bad and the in-between is there, too. Like my dead dad — I loved him and I miss him, and he was a good father and a good man, but I also remember some foolish, mean, even hypocritical things he said and did.

Pets are less complicated, and almost 100% happy memories. That's what I meant. Still sounds dumb, right? Well, I'm still not untyping it, and fuck you to anyone who says “it was only a dog.” I didn’t say much to the lady at work, and probably I said something stupid, but I didn’t say anything that stupid.

Death always leaves me speechless. What are you supposed to say beyond ‘Condolences’ and ‘I’m sorry’? Maybe I’ll get her a card.

♦ ♦ ♦

It would be nice to have a dog or a cat or a lizard or something, but no pets are allowed in the hotel.

Even if it was allowed, there’s no way I’d get a dog. Dogs are a big responsibility — you gotta take it for a walk, pick up its poop, get it housebroken, teach it not to bark at the neighbors … and I’m not so good with responsibilities. A cat would be nice, though. Cats mostly take care of themselves.

I had a cat, a few rez hotels back. Pets were against the rules there, too, but the building was infested with mice, plus I like cats and don’t like rules, so I got a cat. Called her Blender, because she had a swishy swooshy pattern in her fur, like mayo and mustard just starting to stir together.

One afternoon a package came while I was at work, and the landlord opened my door to put the package in my room, and Blender hissed at him. When I came home, the landlord told me the cat had to go. I told him I’d move out instead, and he flipped me off but said I could keep the cat, if I kept it a secret so the other tenants didn’t know.

Blender, the secret cat, was a good friend. When I turned on the TV, she’d jump on top of it and curl up for a warm nap. Overnight she slept in the crook of my arm. And she always left dead mice on my pillow, nowhere else. Without the mice I’d go a year without changing pillowslips, but at that place — fresh-laundered pillowslips, almost every night.

That cat is long gone, of course, but right now I’m looking at my pillow and missing her. Yeah, most pets are better than most people. Maybe everyone thinks their cat or dog is better than most, but Blender really was.

From Pathetic Life #3
Thursday, August 11, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

 

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