Sunday, December 13, 2015

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

by Ken Johnson

The clock read “No human should be awake” as I stumbled down the dark hallway with not even the faintest glimmer of morning light yet cresting on the horizon to light the apartment. A golden orb lay at my feet. I turned the corner and saw what could have been a ball pit for elves all over the living room floor. I screamed, “Sparta Jesus Vernal,” at the top of my lungs at the sight of more satin Christmas ornaments than I can remember using to adorn the Christmas tree laying upon the floor. Scattered and torn apart in an orgy of fun that had occurred during the wee hours of the morning. Sparta lumbers up to me with a defiant and proud stride and rubs into my legs showing his appeasement with his early morning activity of stripping the tree of anything round and relocating them to the floor without any attempt to try to avert the blame to our other cat Elrond Junior Johnson Esq. III.

We never name cats thinking of when we must call upon them in anger or punishment. Do we ever think of how Elrond Junior Johnson Esq. III twists the tongue at 2 A.M. when he is dumping a glass of water all over the floor? How insane shouting Sparta Jesus Vernal sounds to the neighbors when you find the silk all carefully removed from the Christmas tree ornaments? No, when naming your cat you are holding and looking at the cutest most innocent ball of fluff you have ever seen, who will never misbehave or cause you to raise your voice. This is why cats get cute long names that sound absurdly silly while yelling them in anger.

The Christmas tree goes up each year on the day of my birth, forming a division between the great feast of turkey undertaken in November and the great feast of goose undertaken in December. On the eve prior to the tree rising I am visited by three ghosts. While Dickens was right about the appearance of the yuletide specters, he was wrong about the order in which they plague one when he wrote his account of Ebenezer Scrooge. The first to visit is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come masquerading as the Ghost of Christmas Present. He shows you visions of your Christmas tree, the lights twinkling on the glass balls adorning the tree. Garland hung with care and ornaments meticulously placed to create the perfect Christmas tree. Then comes the Ghost of Christmas Past. He shows you images of Christmas trees past. Glass balls shattered on the floor, silk balls laying half under the couch with the fine silk coloring in a mass and the Styrofoam guts showing through the gashes, and the garland strung haphazard from endless times of trying to put it back on the tree from being mauled at night. Finally comes the Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows you the tree you will have, the tree garnished with safe silk balls, the ornaments, the garland and the bottom two feet of the tree a neutral zone that is devoid of any decorations from its nightly coordinated attacks from the cats.

Eyes half blurry still, the morning light just starting to give the sky the faintest of faint red illuminations, I stumble through the living room collecting the colored orbs from the floor. The most heavily attacked have their hooks removed and are tossed away creating a pile of the night's carnage in the trash. The less heavily attacked returned to the tree at a higher elevation in hopes of staving off the next attack. Then I return to bed, pull the covers over me, feel their warmth envelope me, as I try to grab a little more sleep before having to begin the day. As I drift off the sound of a tree branch rustling quietly wafts through the air.

1 comment:

  1. Written as only at true cat owner can write! Our silky satin balls succumb decades ago to two lively cats and two small children!