Why, Cricket, Why?


Lola:  Roo, I want to guest post on your blog.

Me:  Sure, Mom.  About what?

Lola:  Sit up straight.  Are you using that anti-wrinkle serum I bought for you?

Me:  Ummm.  Not yet.

Lola (stares intently at my face):  Time’s wasting.

Me:  Mom.  Focus.  Guest post?

Lola:  Right.  I’m going to post a picture of you….

Me:  Okay…

Lola:  …hugging a cat.  NGN readers need the whole story.


Let me bring you back in time with the help of a decades-old photo album that has a picture of a cat printed on the cover.  (I have no idea.  It was Hong Kong in the 80s and I wore Hello Kitty all day long.)

That’s Lola.  The chubby kid is me.  I’m wearing a terrifying clown hat to commemorate my 2nd birthday, apparently.  When I was two, Lola gave me a cat.  I’d tell you the name of this cat, but even though the cat’s name was innocuous in another country in the 80s, it means something slightly vulgar today.  Anyway, Cat and I were pals, I guess.  I’d hug it and abuse it like only a toddler could.

We moved to the US.  Left Cat behind.

When I was five years old and an only child begging for some interaction with other 3 foot tall humans, my dad brought me home a present in a huge box.  I was told to wait outside of my bedroom with my eyes closed.  When I opened them, a gray striped cat came sauntering out of my room.  I was thrilled and hugged it.  It responded by scratching the crap out of my shins.

“I’ll name him Scratchy.”  Let it be so.

I tried to love Scratchy, but it was unrequited love.  I’d feed him; he’d scratch me.  I’d pet him; he’d hiss.  He destroyed furniture and stuffed animals and my talking Cricket doll (oh my dang oh my dang, does anyone remember Cricket because all of my friends swear I made her up).  My Cricket doll had a tape cassette player built into her torso.  I’d press play and she’d tell me stories and her eyes would open and shut.  After Scratchy was done with her, half her blond hair was missing, the tape would skip, and there was a gash in her perfect face.

Let’s-let’s-let’s-let’s read a sto-sto-sto-sto-sto-ryyyyy…

Anyway, the kicker.  Saturday mornings, I woke up at 6:00 sharp.  I’d slip out of my bed and head downstairs to watch some Pee-wee’s Playhouse.  This particular morning, I reached to draw the curtains back so I could sit in the sunny living room and listen for Conky the Robot’s secret word of the day.  As I pulled back the curtains, there was Scratchy sitting on the window sill.  And Scratchy was mad.  Hulk-mad.  (I’m reference the Incredible Hulk here, but I suppose the Hogan type would do for this metaphor.)

Scratchy leaped off the sill, attached himself to my head, and clawed up my face while I screamed and cried.  I ran up the stairs, ignored their “knock first” rule, and swung open the door, hysterically crying.

Lola’s main concern, of course, was that I’d scar permanently and never be a teen model.  (Joke’s you on, Lola.)  We gave Scratchy away.  Not because of the Great Mauling Incident, but because we eventually discovered that I was allergic to cats.  You know, watery eyes, sniffly nose, itchy skin, etc.

I’m sure there are nice cats out there… I suppose, maybe, probably not.  I don’t really remember Cat and his demeanor, but I definitely remember Scratchy.

And Cricket.

RIP Cricket.


Here’s the latest cat update.

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  • Reply Jodi T. June 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Funny thing about cats… They seem to somehow live up to their names… My first cat I named Contagious, after that stupid song in the 00’s… Remember? “You’re contagious, love me baby..” or some such. Needless to say, I got a ringworm very soon after adopting her. NO LIE. She was renamed Kitty. I’m not a cat person myself, but we lived in apartments, and I had to have an animal. I loved that dang cat. Even though I think she might have been a bit feral. Glad you lived through that horrible experience, and no wonder you hate cats.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Whaaaaaaaaat. Ringworm!?

      I don’t hate cats. I’m just a little scared of them and don’t necessarily want to be within ten feet of them. ;)

      • Reply Jodi T. June 14, 2012 at 9:20 am

        Yep. Not sure why/ how they carry it, but it’s always a good thing to not pet strays… or cats named Contagious, apparently. :)

  • Reply Juliana June 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I had a Cricket doll, but then my grandmother proceeded to buy me every Cabbage Patch Doll ever made and I forgot about Cricket. I am also deathly allergic to cats and so I was never exposed to cats. When I am around them, its like they can smell my fear. They are the unknown and I think they are sketchy and moody and to be honest, they terrify me.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      One of my neighbors has a humongous cat. This big, morbidly obese orange cat that skulks around our neighborhood. I’m pretty sure it would eat you, Juliana, and your entire Cabbage Patch Doll collection. Tsk.

  • Reply Amelinda June 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I LOVED my cricket doll! I used to sing tons of songs with her…but unfortunately I love cats lol. I have confidence that if I end up alone forever, I will become the cat-lady, with at least 3 cats. Are you cringing yet?

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      You can be a cat lady, as long as I can make fun of you. Deal?

      • Reply Amelinda June 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

        OOH yes you can make fun of me, I’ll laugh at myself too!

  • Reply Debbie M. June 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Wow! I had a puppy that used to bite our rear ends! After putting holes in all our home made shorts my mom and dad decided my brother and I did not need a dog after all. We had numerous stray outside cats when we were little that got hit, poisoned and such. Finally in fifth grade we got one and I named him Squeaky. He meow squeaked, it was appropriate. Damn cat used to wait till I took my socks off and come attack my ankles, I kid you not! Some how after that we started calling him Knaw-Knaw! It fit better as he could bite your finger off if he really wanted. He would only do it to me. I think it was his show of love as he slept on my bed and followed me around.
    I do not remember the doll named Cricket, but I was into dolls that were more like real babies, like baby alive.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Daaaaang. Bad luck with pets, Debbie! They’re all trying to eat you.

  • Reply tara June 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I was also mauled by my cat, Rajah (not after the tiger from Aladdin – we had him first!), when I was little. I loved him and he hated me bc I played house with him and dressed him up. Because I played doctor with him and poked and prodded the poor thing. I also stuck stickers all over him…so I can’t blame him. I do still love cats though.
    PS I have no idea what Cricket is, but I did have a Teddy Ruxpin doll…remember those??

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Teddy Ruxpinnnnn! The most ballin’ teddy bear of them allllll!!!

      • Reply Kelsey June 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm

        I had a teddy ruxpin too. Very ballin! He helped teach me how to read!

    • Reply polymathamy June 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      I desperately wanted a Teddy Ruxpin, but they were too expensive. My parents got me a talking dress-up teddy bear instead. The kind that had various buttons and snaps and things for kids to practice fastening. You would pull a string from its hip and it would say “Please tie my shoe-laces!” and so on. My parents somehow thought that bear was an acceptable substitute for the amazing talking story-telling Teddy Ruxpin. It was not.

  • Reply JCF June 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Oh man, did I ever have a Cricket doll. My neighbor across the street who was a little older than I was had a Cricket doll, and I lusted after that thing for ages, until I finally got one for Christmas. I loved everything about her. Her pleated skirt. Her pink stripey sweater. Her chunky yarn hair bows. And her awesome director’s chair. Please tell me you remember the director’s chair! That may have been the best part of the creepy talking doll.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      AHHHHH I love you for mentioning the director’s chair. That chair was my FAVORITE and I used to sit in it all the time!

  • Reply Jennifer June 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    That was the “rest of the story” in the best Paul Harvey fashion. I think I even read it in his voice. And you probably don’t even know who that is because you are such a baby. (GAH I’m old.)

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      (Admittedly, I had to look him up. But you are NOT old, sister.)

    • Reply Rosie N June 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      I totally said “and now we know… The Rest of the story…” when I finished reading it! Totally a Paul Harvey story :) lol and this proves my theory, again, that I’m at least 4 years older than you, sweet Roo ;)

  • Reply Rebecca June 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Dear Roo,

    My nickname is Roo. :) I was born in 1978 and I definitely remember Cricket, but I didn’t have one. My friend did. The same friend who had Fashion Plates and that huge Barbie head so you could style a lot of nylon hair. 80s toys were awesome.

    I have a theory about cats. Only brown tabbies who were loved on from infancy (kittency) will do. I have had two in my life (one as a child and one now) and they are just the loviest.

    Otherwise? Depends on the cat but often not so much. I am a “both” person, but I’ll probably only adopt male tabbies as kittens from here on out based on my highly unscientific-but-utterly-convincing studies.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Hey Roo!

      That was a little weird for me to say, to be honest. My friend had the huge Barbie head, but I did not. YES 80s toys were the best.

      Let’s see a picture of this best species, please! :)

  • Reply Tori June 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Hahahaha, Roo! Loved this.:) I didn’t have a Cricket Doll, but I, too, had a Teddy Ruxpin. My brother used to put Metallica tapes in him. Pft.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Ahahahahahahahahaha! Seriously this made my day.

  • Reply Natasha June 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Ohhhhhhmahhhhhgaaawddd cats are evil. Satan. The devil. Are you ok? Seriously? I would need therapy….nothing quiet that traumatic ever happened to me with a cat, I think I was just born with a natural aversion. This also applies to small (pocket pup) dogs. Give me a big sloppy tail wagger please. I don’t remember Cricket-BUT I had Rainbow Bright. And her rainbow house. And the yellow record player whattttt. Also Teddy Ruxpin, but he lived in the basement as any storm would make him say weird things…..
    Roo, your girls and you need a puppy ;) call me, I know people

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      My girls are allergic to bread. I’m not sure how they’d do with a puppy.

      But it is totally my dream to have a dog when day. When the girls are old enough to take care of him and do the housework and file my taxes and stuff.

  • Reply Natasha June 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    AlSo, I love your mom. My grandma does the same thing to me :) she follows it up with ‘prevention is easier than reversing’

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Hahaha Lola’s crazy. Your grandma too, probably. :)

  • Reply Tania June 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    just curious…you’ve posted several pics of your mom. Do you have any pics of your dad?

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      I do, but not many. He’s sort of camera shy. Beyond that, he doesn’t reaaallly know about my blog – in its full-beast form, anyway.

      He’s a super private person, so he would never everrrrrr approve of me posting his pictures. If he knew I even mentioned him in a couple of posts, he’d probably be incredibly irritated. :)

      Picture a massively tall white dude. With glasses. :)

      • Reply Chelle June 14, 2012 at 7:29 am

        Sounds exactly like my dad. He NEVER reads anything I’ve written. I had him read a couple of children’s books I wrote and he said, “Maybe you could get a book on how to write children’s books?” Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dad.

        I think it shames him that I overshare on the internet. Dang, I always wanted him to be proud of me, but my need to express myself keeps getting in the way.

  • Reply Sarah June 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Omg omg I think I still have my Cricket, and my Teddy Ruxpin, AND this orange caterpillar thing that was Teddy’s friend that the internet says is named Grubby the Worm. And a whole box of the cassette tapes.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Let’s throw a partyyyyyyyyyy!

  • Reply Kimaloo June 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    It’s a proven fact that cats live up to their names! I had a cat named Lord Charlie Todd Pickles Schwab the Second and he was a dapper gentlemen.

  • Reply Liz June 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I used to love cats. They’d scratch me, but I kept coming back for more. Then we had a psycho cat that mauled my then 4 yr old cousin, and well, I now have a giant golden lab and I love him. Mostly because we both hate cats.

    • Reply Roo June 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

      Awww giant golden lab! I want him!

  • Reply Megan June 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    So, I have to say that I totally though Lola was your mom’s name, and I thought “How interesting that she calls her mom by her first name” And then I was reading an old post and realized it’s just Filipino for grandma… haha!! Also, I never had a Cricket doll, but I SO wanted a Teddy Ruxpin!! That would have been so awesome!!!

  • Reply Kristie June 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I have a few years on you, so I’m not down with Cricket, but this does explain your position on cats.

    • Reply Roo June 14, 2012 at 8:44 am

      Lola was going to out me anyway…. :)

  • Reply Missy June 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Look how cute you were! Cats really are the creepiest of all domesticated animals. I have a friend who always posts pictures of her cat on instagram and I’m like – Really!? Now I’m gonna have nightmares about your smiling face and your cat that wants to kill you in your sleep. Thanks for that anonymous instagram friend!

  • Reply Bridgett June 14, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I was a little too old for Teddy Ruxpin, but my brother got one for Christmas. Almost immediately upon him opening Teddy, I inserted my fingers in its mouth while it “spoke” until it jammed up and I was certain it had fatally malfunctioned. That was my revenge for all barbies he had ripped the legs from during our childhood. I thought it was hilarious. Can’t say my parents shared the sentiment.

    • Reply Roo June 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

      Ahahahahaha, you killed Teddy Ruxpin!

  • Reply Jenn June 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

    My cate seriously is THE sweetest thing!!! Looooves to snuggle & pretty much never scratches…a few swats here & there but without her claws out (even when Adie is torturing…I mean loving on her!). She will however pee on towels if you leave them on the bathroom floor (Ellaaaaaa!!!)

  • Reply Alexandra June 14, 2012 at 11:10 am

    That is explanation enough.

    hate away, my dear.

    In fact, I’ll do enough hating along with you.

    Damn Scratchy.

    Doing that to cricket.

  • Reply Christa June 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I had Cricket and she was amazing (still have her tapes). In fact, I saw one 2 weeks ago at a yard sale in perfect condition. Almost bought her for my daughter until i remembered about when the batteries ran low and her speech slowed and slurred and her eye blinks got out of sync. Oh and waking in the night to see her staring at me from across the room. Decided to spare her the nightmares.

  • Reply Nikki Kelly June 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I don’t know anything about Cricket. But I had a doll called Suzie Scribbles that had a tape player in her back. She came with a little desk that she sat in and two fancy hands. The right hand held a pen and the left hand had a death grip to hold some paper on her desk. When you played one of her tapes she would tell you a story AND draw stuff to go along with it. It was pretty awesome.

    Oh, and sorry about Scratchy, you can come hang out with me and Barbara (my cat).

    Nikki Kelly @ the ambitious procrastinator

  • Reply Jamie June 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    My mom does the same to me! She looks at me with sad eyes and says: “Oh honey, have you been putting eye cream on lately?”
    which I interpret as: YOU LOOK O.L.D.!

    :( sad… At least the hubby cheers me up by saying he wants me to have as many laughing wrinkles as I can because it means that I’m happy…how cute is he. He’s a keeper!

    I have a cat… a moody one that I rescued and am still trying to understand. Read: She’s lovey with me, the hubs, and one of my girlfriends and hides from just about everyone else. And you’re all right, they can smell fear… watch out! And, as it turns out, I’m deathly allergic of her…

  • Reply My Shirt is Gross | {NiceGirlNotes} | {NiceGirlNotes} June 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    […] like a frat boy.  Yes, I’ll wear the t-shirt you made, especially if it has a picture of a cat holding a basket of yarn on […]

  • Reply Kathy June 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

    No wonder cats are not your favorite. That was scarey just to READ!

  • Reply Five New Baby Must-Haves | {NiceGirlNotes} | {NiceGirlNotes} June 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    […] it’s extra cute when Minnie clutches it.  I chose a cat.  Why a cat?  Because after the Scratchy incident and the home intruder incident, I feel like it’s only appropriate that a cat becomes an […]

  • Reply Kelly July 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I had a Cricket doll and I also had her brother, Corky. I got Cricket one Christmas and I loved her very much. Then the next year I wanted a Nintendo for Christmas so much that I asked for it daily. I got Corky. I hated him for that.

  • Reply It’s Slammin Collar Thursday | {NiceGirlNotes} | {NiceGirlNotes} July 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    […]  The Cricket and Scratchy post??  Look what I found.  She really does […]

  • Reply I Didn’t Choose the Pug Life… | {NiceGirlNotes} | {NiceGirlNotes} August 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    […] Soooooo, beyond blogging, many of you know that I also write.  And despite my Rage Against the PETA-van and disdain for cats, I was contracted to write copy for a pet care brand.  (!!!!!)  When they signed me on, I was all, “Listen, guys.  Full disclosure.  I publicly dislike cats.  I’m allergic to them and I’m pretty sure they all want me dead.” […]

  • Reply Five New Baby Must-Haves - NEON FRESH April 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    […] it’s extra cute when Minnie clutches it.  I chose a cat.  Why a cat?  Because after the Scratchy incident and the home intruder incident, I feel like it’s only appropriate that a cat becomes an […]

  • Reply My Shirt is Gross - NEON FRESH April 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    […] like a frat boy.  Yes, I’ll wear the t-shirt you made, especially if it has a picture of a cat holding a basket of yarn on […]

  • Reply It's Slammin Collar Thursday - NEON FRESH April 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    […]  The Cricket and Scratchy post??  Look what I found.  She really does […]

  • Reply Jodi, Kolchak & Felix September 30, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Someone’s in the kitchen with Cricket!
    Someone’s in the kitchen, I know-oh-oh-oh
    Someone’s in the kitchen with Criiiiiiiiiickkkket!
    Cookin’ up some ol’ fun dough

    Oh man. I remember that. Cricket rocked my world.

  • Reply The Ballpit of Doom - Neon Fresh January 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

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