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….
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.