Our cat and occasional guest blogger Scooter Thomas requested that he be allowed to write today’s post. We have granted his request.
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified the five stages of grief in her seminal book On Death & Dying. I have done my best to illustrate them graphically (below). A note: My paws somewhat inhibited my otherwise superb Photoshop expertise, so this should be taken as an approximation, rather than an exact rendering, of the grieving curve.
Why do I include this graph? Because I, Dear Reader, have become well acquainted with these stages. How, you ask?
I’m no dimwit — like, say, Mr. Bigglesworth.
My life is over.
I’m about to become second banana to a whiny, pampered, repugnant ball of dependence half my size.
I’ve been humiliated before in my life. The empty food dishes. The cowboy costumes. The vet trips. The time I was stopped up for a week and had to be anal-probed by Dr. Abrams. (How I loathe that man.)
But nothing compares to what’s in store in two weeks — maybe sooner. I saw the writing on the wall many months ago. The alarming lack of regular litterbox upkeep when sole responsibilities fell to the buffoonish male. The rejection from the fickle woman when I was no longer allowed to sit on her lap. (And she thinks I have a belly.) The fortress-like sliding gate in front of The Room I Am No Longer Allowed To Enter, the one with the birds painted on the walls — mocking me, stirring up mutiny in my own home. How I’d relish tearing them limb from limb. (Or, at the very least, fantasizing about it from a window perch with a pane of glass between us.)
My initial reaction, many months ago, was Denial. Surely my asinine owners wouldn’t do this to me, their treasure, the apple of their eye, the sole happiness in their otherwise dismal existence? What uncultivated neanderthals they were until I arrived on the scene! I muddled through this stage by excessively napping and eating. I also picked up a nasty online gambling habit.
From Denial I moved swiftly to Anger, played out in midnight barfing marathons and precisely timed ankle swipes at the bottom of the staircase. I also bought a handgun, joined the NRA and took frequent outings to the firing range. Behold the handiwork of my incandescent rage!
My anger and ammunition spent, I proceeded downhill into Bargaining — trading shin rubs for the feeblest attention, prostituting myself for the slightest affection — just to feel something, anything, in that forlorn, abandoned, somewhat squished spot inside me where a heart used to reside.
During this period I am not proud to admit that I built a meth lab in the basement.
Stage Four: Depression. More sleeping and eating. More barfing. Admittedly, some binge-drinking. How could they do this to me?, I’d ask the bottom of my whiskey glass. Sometimes eight and nine times a night.
Occasional flashes of anger during this stage were directed at that conniving Green Mouse, whom I punished with vicious forehand swipes and back legs stomping. I envisioned my owners’ faces in place of its vacuous, stupid grin and cartoonishly big eyes. Afterwards I’d lapse into stages of self-loathing and, inevitably, nap some more, for as unloving and selfish an act as my owners are committing, they have not always been so cruel to me. Ninety percent of the time they were, but there was that sweet, blessed ten percent.
Finally, you meet me here in that fragile ascent of stage five: Acceptance. My home, my castle, is now riddled with baby toys and bewildering contraptions of infinite complexity and idiocy — like a hovering, shaking, chirping cradle swing manufactured by surely the most evil corporation on the face of the earth, Graco. Then there is the decidedly low-tech but still repellant “Bumbo,” a name equal to the product’s stupidity and pointlessness.
Yes, yes, I’m aware this sounds rather incalcitrant to be squared with “Acceptance,” but there are moments of peace. For example, I have made good use of the numerous empty boxes lying about the house.
Beyond that, I must confess, the jury is still out on Dr. Kübler-Ross. What if, perhaps, she mistook Acceptance for what should have been Patricide? I am currently revising a draft of my own scholarship tentatively titled, A Reconsideration Of On Death & Dying: When Time Does Not Heal All Wounds, And The Redeeming Virtues Of Bloodthirsty Vengeance. Publishers have not been warm to initial queries. Certain offenders, who will remain unnamed, have received at their New York offices sealed envelopes containing my recent stool samples.
I am not always proud of what I have done, but I have nothing to hide from you, Dear Reader.
Will Dr. Kübler-Ross’s scholarship prove more lasting than my own? Time, as they say, will tell. Might I even come to love this newest addition to the family, this little “gift from God,” this “miracle,” this “bundle of joy,” this “blessing from above”? (I’ll gag if I go any further.) I remain skeptical. And I remain in good stead with the NRA.
Until then, I’m leaving my mark on certain items around the house, just so it’s clear when the intruder arrives who’s king of the castle around here.