Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drinking Beer on Antibiotics

My shirt is ripped and bloodstained.  Our office looks like a crime scene.

A couple weeks back we saw a sick-looking cat (please understand I am not using slang of any kind here)  and decided to save it, if we could.  We took this leaky-eyed, scrawny, clotted-fur cat home, fed and watered her (she wanted that food and water, desperately) and took her to the vet.  We named her Tinkerbell (as in "clap your hands if you want her to live").  The next day we took her to the Vet, and found that Tink has FIV, a fatal disease.  We did some research and found that cats can live with FIV for years, and that they're unlikely to transfer the disease to another cat (only cats can get it) unless one of the cats bites the other.

We decided to keep Tink in our office  and keep her separate from Mr. Two, our cat.  Miss Tink responded well to food and love, and slowly became a healthier, comfortable cat; eyedrops and medicine gradually changed her from Zombie Stray to Actual Housecat.  She proved to be sweet and gentle, with a pleading stare that compelled me to give her treats.  Meanwhile we kept her presence a deep dark secret from Mr. Two.  We joked about the Jane Eyre/Lost-ness of the situation; Madwoman in the Attic, The Others.

Today I strolled into her room to do some trivial thing or other, when I heard a banshee yowl.  Mr. Two had discovered the horrifying truth about why we were keeping him out of the office.  Mr. Two (understand: a sweet, gentle, affectionate cat, but unneutered and hormone-soaked) attacked.  I lept into the fray like a class-A dumbass who loves cats more than is reasonable.  CHOMP!

The big questions: had Mr. Two partaken of Miss Tink's infected blood?  Could I get Mr. Two's fangs out of my arm (apparent answer: not anytime soon)?  Would Mr. Two rip my whole forearm off?  Where did Tink just go?

I got Two off me and trapped him in the bedroom.  Blood all over the house; all mine, I hoped.  Blood pulsing from holes in my arm.  I grabbed the cheapest-looking towel from the bathroom closet and covered my wounds, then spent the next few minutes looking for Tink.  I began to seriously believe that Mr. Two had SWALLOWED HER WHOLE.

Anyway, Tink is now boarded at the Vet, Two still has blood matting his fur, and it appears the only broken skin belonged to me.

What are we gonna do with Tink?  We thought we could give her a safer, more comfortable environment than the street, but apparently not.  And who else can take her?  No one wants a sick cat.  Poor Tink did nothing to deserve this suffering.  Maybe the kindest option we have is to let her suffering end.

I'm angry at our cat, but what's the good of that?  He was just acting on instinct, thinking his territory was imperiled.  I'm mad at myself for allowing Two to get past my scrutiny, but if I was gonna flush screwing-up out of my system one would think I'd have managed by this stage of my life.  I'm mad at God Almighty for letting innocent living creatures suffer like Tink does, but God Almighty only exists so we can claim He has a reason for everything that happens.  That Bastard better have some good reasons, is all I can say.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Free Universes

I recently gave away a bunch of my old comic books.  It was a project for the Library Science class I'm taking.

After I advertised the giveaway, many people contacted me wanting to take the whole set, sight unseen.  I quickly set a 30 comics maximum to scare these people off, since part of the project involved observing peoples' search and selection processes.  Once people showed up I told them there wasn't really a maximum, and I had no intention of policing their selections; I just wanted them to pick and choose, and leave the rest for someone else to enjoy.  People are happy to take four boxes of free whatever, but when they have to search and select they get much choosier.

It's more fun watching kids pick comics than adults.  Adults seemed to have sclerotic ideas about what they want and will accept.  Familiar superheros are pretty much the limit with men, while the women seemed more interested in childrens' comics.  Kids are more open to off-brands; weird stuff no one's ever heard of, where the standards are different and nothing's entirely familiar.  Adults walked in and said "I'm looking for Marvels," Marvel comics having a strong brand identity.  They tended to flip right past the oddball, third party, indy comics that constituted most of the selection.  Kids, though, didn't look for brand labels; they looked for stuff that might be interesting.  If they dug the drawing, they took the comic.  Brings back fond memories of the one comic-con I attended as a kid; this was in the thick of the 80's black and white comics glut, where Elfquest and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles inspired a slew of independently published comics.  Most of these comics were clumsy at best, but to the boy I was being in a room full of unfamiliar, idiosyncratic personal toon visions was downright psychedelic.  These comics didn't feel as blandly proficient and stylistically interchangeable as most comics from the big companies; it was my introduction to the concept of cartooning-as-handwriting that's so important to the Kramer's Ergot crowd.

Manga was much less popular than I'd expected.  Manga was the Hot New Thing With The Kidz in comics for about a decade, and it's still popular, right?  But I suspect it's more popular in places with big bookstores and semi-hip readers.  This is a smaller, blue-collar town that isn't on the cusp of cultural trends, and there's not a thing wrong with that, but no one, young or old, seemed very interested in manga as such.  Some of the "girly" stuff proved moderately popular with the one little girl who came and highly popular with the two women who selected on behalf of absent daughters.

The most entertainment came when I told a mother of four boys that one box was "adult," and not recommended for children.  The eldest boy (about 11?) openly started perusing that box.  All this was done under the amused eye of his Mom, and I decided she could police (or not) her boy better than I could.  The boy occasionally pulled one of his brothers over, showed him an image from some adult-oriented comic or other, and shared a shocked giggle.  The boy walked out with a stack of adult comics, all with his Mom's consent.  

Friday, November 04, 2011

Temptation/opportunity knocks

It was the end of a school year.  I dinna remember if it was 1996, my final year of college, or a year or two before.  Point is, the campus was closing down.  Scavenging around the campus is a good idea at this time of year.  Birmingham-Southern kids are often livin' large on Daddy-Doctor dollars, and the Bank of Mom and Dad funds a lot of disposable lifestyle accoutrements.  So, a few days before everybody's gotta move out of the dorms, see if you can't worm your way into the halls and see what people are throwing out.  Once I saw a friend walk out of a dorm with his arms full of perfectly good lamps.  He looked a bit embarrassed, but I take my hat off to him.  Years later I was in need of a lamp, and it was the end of the school year, so you know where I went and what I did.

Let me be clear: we weren't STEALING lamps.  We were scavenging lamps that had been left in the hall by people who had left, and didn't care about the lamps.  There's a reason two BSC boys burned down churches; they'd had it too easy and never learned the value of anything.  By cracky.

But this one time, I was presented with a remarkable temptation.  I went to the library to turn in my last batch of library books.  the library was scheduled to be closed, so I planned to use the book drop.

But the door was unlocked.  No one was there.

If you'd asked me to list the library materials that I'd enjoy owning, we could have been there all day as I listed the books, videos, records and CDs that I coveted, coveted, coveted.  And here I was, the only person in the library.

You think I didn't check?  I strolled in, set my books on the desk, and wandered around... looking for people.  There weren't any.  No guards, nuthin.

Maybe there were security cameras hidden about, but judging from my friends' stories of late-night library shenanigans (up to and including sex acts in out-of-the-way nooks) I doubted there were any eyes in the sky.  So it's possible I could have walked out of that unguarded library with a wonderful haul.

I'm glad I left empty-handed.  For one thing, all the furrin films I'd snatch on videotape would be ruined by now, just like the videotapes I actually bought, all of which fell victim to some kind of dust or mold or something.  And most of the books would be sitting on shelves still waiting to be read.

But of course I'm mostly glad because who needs the guilt?