February 22, 2002
I have a confession to make: my dentist is really a nice person. So are her assistants. Although she did have an enormous bowl of free chocolates in the waiting room when I was there last week, I think this had more to do with Valentine’s Day than it did with any underhanded attempts on her part to drum up business by preying on the general public’s weakness for chocolate. I’m making this confession partly under duress, since during my most recent visit my wife threatened to tell our dentist that I’d said terrible things about her, and partly of my own volition. Well, sort of. I have this terrible fear that one or all of my previous rants about terrible things that have happened to me at the dentist will get back to her. There’s a computer in the cleaning room, right next to that Spanish Inquisition recliner, and I have this fear that one of these days I’ll go in there, and on the screen will be some story of mine about getting jabbed in the eye by my dentist with that sharp iron hook, and she’ll say, "Hmm, looks like your lower bicuspids are going to have to come out…NOW! Too bad we just ran out of novocaine." And then she’ll laugh demonically and tear my jaw apart. And I’ll deserve it.
Why do I have this fear of the dentist? For two reasons: First of all, anyone who enjoys putting their hands in other peoples’ mouths enough to pursue it as a career has got to be slightly off-balance. Not that my dentist (or any of her assistants, who are kind, gentle people doing noble work) has demonstrated any sociopathic tendencies, but it just doesn’t seem like the sort of field any normal person would willingly pursue.
The other reason is the dentist I went to as a child. He was the only dentist I’ve ever known who smelled as though he bathed in cologne, and had a foot-pedalled drill with rust on it. You know how doctors and dentists sometimes wear "scrubs", which are basically disposable clothes put on backwards? I think he invented those because he was never sober enough to put his shirt on the right way. Then one day a doctor saw him and said, "Hey, good idea, now I can do surgery and go straight to a dinner party, and won’t have to worry about stains on my tuxedo."
The building where he had his office has now been condemned. It probably should have been condemned then, but I didn’t realize that at the time. I thought all dentists’ offices had spiders crawling across the floor. Now of course I’d think, "Hmm, appears to be of the lycosa genus…hey, wait a minute, don’t they ever fumigate in here?" Of course you’re probably wondering why, if my childhood dentist was so awful, I would make up terrible things about my good, kind, witty, thoughtful, and skilled present dentist. I honestly don’t know. I guess it’s because I’m not smart enough to know when to keep my mouth shut.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
A Cat’s New Year’s Resolutions
My human will never let me eat her pet hamster, and I am at peace with that.
I will not puff my entire body to twice its size for no reason after my human has finished watching a horror movie.
I will not slurp fish food from the surface of the aquarium.
I must not help myself to Q-tips, and I must certainly not proceed to stuff them down the sink’s drain.
I will not eat large numbers of assorted bugs, then come home and puke them up so the humans can see that I’m getting plenty of roughage.
I will not lean way over to drink out of the tub, fall in, and then pelt right for the box of clumping cat litter. (It took FOREVER to get the stuff out of my fur.)
I will not stand on the bathroom counter, stare down the hall, and growl at NOTHING after my human has finished watching The X-Files.
I will not fish out my human’s partial plate from the glass so that the dog can "wear" it and pretend to be my human. (It is somewhat unnerving to wake up, roll over in bed, and see the dog grinning at you with your own teeth.)
I will not use the bathtub to store live mice for late-night snacks.
I will not drag dirty socks up from the basement in the middle of the night,deposit them on the bed and yell at the top of my lungs so that my human can admire my "kill."
I will not perch on my human’s chest in the middle of the night and stare into her eyes until she wakes up.
We will not play Herd of Thundering Wildebeests Stampeding Across the Plains of the Serengeti over any humans’ bed while they’re trying to sleep.
Screaming at the can of food will not make it open itself.
I cannot leap through closed windows to catch birds outside. If I forget this and bonk my head on the window and fall behind the couch in my attempt, I will not get up and do the same thing again.
I will not assume the patio door is open when I race outside to chase leaves.
I will not back up off the front porch and fall into the bushes just as my human is explaining to his girlfriend how graceful I am.
I will not complain that my bottom is wet and that I am thirsty after sitting in my water bowl.
I will not intrude on my human’s candle-lit bubble bath and singe my bottom.
I will not stick my paw into any container to see if there is something in it. If I do, I will not hiss and scratch when my human has to shave me to get the rubber cement out of my fur.
If I bite the cactus, it will bite back.
It is not a good idea to try to lap up the powdered creamer before it dissolves in boiling coffee.
When I am chasing my tail and catch my back leg instead, I will not bite down on my foot. This hurts, and my scream scares my human.
When it rains, it will be raining on all sides of the house. It is not necessary to check every door.
Birds do not come from the bird feeder. I will not knock it down and try to open it up to get the birds out.
I will not stuff my rather large self into the rather small bird feeder (with my tail hanging out one side) and expect the birds to just fly in.
I will not teach the parrot to meow in a loud and raucous manner.
The dog can see me coming when I stalk her. She can see me and will move out of the way when I pounce, letting me smash into floors and walls. That does not mean I should take it as a personal insult when my humans sit there and laugh.
Yes, there are still two very large dogs in the backyard. There have been for several years. I don’t have to act as if I’ve just discovered the Demon Horror of the Universe each time one of them appears in my window.
I will not play "dead cat on the stairs" while people are trying to bring in groceries or laundry, or else one of these days, it will really come true.
When the humans play darts, I will not leap into the air and attempt to catch them.
I will not swat my human’s head repeatedly when she’s on the family room floor trying to do sit ups.
When my human is typing at the computer, her forearms are *not* a hammock.
Computer and TV screens do not exist to backlight my lovely tail.
I am a walking static generator. My human doesn’t need my help installing a new board in her computer.
I will not bring the city police to the front door by stepping on the speaker phone button and then the automatic 911 dial button.
I will not speed dial the overseas numbers.
I will not walk on the keyboard when my human is writing important emiognaioerp ga3qi4 taija3tgv aa35 a.
Any critter that lives in the house (hamsters), stay in the house and any wild critters (frogs and earthworms) stay outside. I am not allowed to set the hamster free in exchange for finding a frog to put in the fish tank.
I will not stalk the deer in the apple orchard next door. They have sharp hooves and could hurt me if they weren’t laughing so hard.
I will not watch the guinea pig constantly as the guinea pig likes to sleep once in a while.
The goldfish likes living in water and should be allowed to remain in its bowl.
I will not put a live mole in my food bowl and expect it to stay there until I get hungry.
I will not eat spider plants and hallucinate behind the toilet.
I will not drag the magnets (and the papers they are holding up) off of the refrigerator and then bat them underneath it so that they adhere to the underside.
I will learn to relax at the vet’s office so they will start writing things in my records like "Good Kitty" and "Sweet Kitty" instead of the stuff that’s there now like "MEAN!!" "BITER!!!" and "GET HELP!!!!!"
I will not be miffed at my human all day and then kiss her on the nose at 2:00 a.m. to tell her that she is forgiven and can now pet me.
I will not scratch the children of lawyers, no matter how much they chase me or how hard they pull my tail.
If I MUST claw my human, I will not do it in such a fashion that the scars resemble a botched suicide attempt.
If I must give a present to my human’s overnight guests, my toy mouse is much more socially acceptable than a big live cockroach, even if it isn’t as tasty.
I will not soak my catnip toy in the water bowl to make tea. I will not get high and sit there drinking my tea and kneading the floor afterwards. I will not then get delusions of grandeur and make tea in the toilet bowl or the tub. And I will not try to make tea with used socks, dirty panties or hair scrunches when my humans take the catnip toy away from me.
A warm pepperoni pizza is not a good place for a nap.