Sunday, August 25, 2013

Interview with The Meatball

This post will signal a short break from writing essays, as I focus my writing time and attention on a series of cat-centered children’s books.  And so for a change of pace to mark this occasion, we step away from the usual existential rants, paeans to gardening, and cris de couer, and turn the editorial wheel over to noted celebrity animal interviewer Tabitha O’Doul (“Tabby” for short) as she goes nose to nose with The Meatball.

Tabby:   Meatball, let’s cut right to the chase, as it were. How do you explain those videos of you on the Web that show you running full speed through the woods? Accompanied by a DOG! For one thing, you are running, which I always understood to be against a cat’s essential nature. And for another, it makes you look like you are actually running toward your human! What’s up with that?
Meatball:  That is a complex question, my dear. I run because, at whatever moment, I wish to.
Tabby:  Really? The popular perception of cats is that they are indolent, lethargic, spoiled and lazy…or at the very least, extraordinarily relaxed.
Meatball:  You don’t make friends very easily, do you? (Sigh…)  Yes, those are the cardinal feline virtues, I admit. But I believe my mother’s great uncle was a cheetah. At any rate, I find that it is very good exercise. I visited the veterinarian recently with my human, and I heard her say that she wished all the cats who came to her clinic had my fabulous muscle tone
Tabby:  I don’t wish to drive a wedge between you and your human, but she has been quoted as saying that when you reach her, she picks you up as a reward. Is there any truth to that?
Meatball:  Bah. I let her pick me up once in a while, to make her feel validated. Sometimes she tries to imitate purring noises or even (he shudders) a “meow.”
Tabby:  Can you understand her?
Meatball:  Ha ha ha ha!  It makes no sense at all. It’s a bit like watching Sigourney Weaver try to fake her way through singing a song in Russian in the movie “Heartbreakers.” Very annoying.
Tabby:  You have all your claws, why don’t you use them?
Meatball:  She is otherwise a nice lady, and it’s important in a relationship to forgive the little things. I read that in a book once.
Tabby:  Tell us about your early years. You are what, now twelve years old? That must be more than sixty in human years.
Meatball: I see you are not only friendless but tactless as well.  (Sigh…) I do not remember my early years, it was as if I was “born yesterday” at the age of eight. I recall that one day I was jailed in a place called a “Humane Society.” As if captivity could ever be humane.  And then this young male human took me out of the cage and brought me home with him. It was better than the cage, but he was away for long stretches and I became bored. Then he brought me to another, larger house with a woman who would become my current human . There is a family relationship I think. The young man may be one of her kittens.
Tabby:  How could he tell that you were bored?
Meatball:  Oh, I believe I left my mark of displeasure in a way that he could understand.
Tabby:  You also live with a large dog, I understand, and he has been seen going on these forest  walks with you and your human.  What is this dog like?
Meatball: The dog is an imbecile, but he has his uses.
Tabby:  Like what?
Meatball:  Hmmm.  I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Tabby:  I have heard that you are quite the “mouser.” For food or fun?
Meatball:  Ah yes. It is a little bit of theater for the humans. They are so easily impressed.  I much prefer the taste of tuna. Those little mouse bones get stuck in my back teeth. I have an arrangement with one of the mouse lodgers in the garage. We play "catch the vermin" a couple of times a week when the human is out working in the garden. She always screams and then she  makes me release him in the grass. Then she brings me inside and rewards me with a bowl of cream.
Tabby: Nice work if you can get it! What does the mouse get out of the bargain? 
Meatball: I promise not to eat the rest of his family.
Tabby:  What do you think your human would say if she knew what you were thinking?

Meatball: I am still recovering from the indignity of being the centerpiece of her self-indulgent essay
"Walking the Meatball". As Henri Le Chat Noir must bear his personal cross of his own "thieving filmmaker," so I must endure the literary flights of fancy of my own human as well.
Tabby:  I hope you won’t consider this too personal, but it’s in the vein of “boxers or briefs” for human celebrities.  “Scoopable” or “non”?
Meatball: Friendless, tactless and now tasteless…have you thought of another line of work? (Sigh…) Non-scoopable, of course.  Though I vastly prefer the great outdoors, with dappled sunlight, fragrant pines and grass, and the wind in my fur.  Having a bathroom indoors is so barbaric unless there is snow on the ground. I do not know how humans put up with this year-round indoor arrangement for themselves.
Tabby:  This interview could very well raise your profile a notch or two in the entertainment world. Tell me, what do you think of other celebrities such as Henri Le Chat Noir and Grumpy Cat?
Meatball: I confess to being a bit like a Reagan Republican in that I do not wish to speak ill of fellow felines. Henri conducts himself with incredible dignity and ennui, and so I wish him well. He is a grand embodiment of the feline virtues. As for Grumpy Cat, well, he is a buffoon.
Tabby:  Do I detect a note of envy?
Meatball:  Don’t be ridiculous. Let Grumpy Cat have his fun with his mugs and calendars. True Machiavellians prefer to fly below the radar and plot in the shadows. In fact, I suspect I will have to change my name as a result of this interview.
Tabby:  Change your name? To what?
Meatball:  If I told you, I’d have to eat you.

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