Since about age twenty-five, many conversations I have had with my friends seemed to often descend into one recurring topic: my friends bragging about their children. You know, their rug rats. Chips off the old block. Bundles of joy.
Future Rednecks of America.
Now that I am the ripe old age of thirty-one, this topic comes up in nearly every conversation. Nearly everyone I know has kids. Except for me. Perhaps God, Charles Darwin, or my sarcastic personality (or all those things combined) has thus far deemed me unworthy of reproduction. But I've found a way around this conversational conundrum. Every time someone starts to yammer on and on about how great their kids are, I simply say: "I have a cat."
Buddy #1: "I hate changing my kid's diapers. It smells worse than French B.O. Those diapers, by themselves, could qualify as 'weapons of ass destruction'. Where's Hans Blix when you need him?"
Chris' response: "I have a cat. She poops in a box. I don't have that problem."
Or, this common conversation:
Buddy #2: "My little baby is so smart! She can read at a college level, and she's only two! She's already working on her doctoral thesis and she can barely walk. I'd better start saving up for Harvard!"
Chris's response: "I have a cat. She thinks she already knows everything. She refuses to learn any further. The only stimuli she even responds to is the sound of the can opener or the sound of me opening up her food bag. I don't think I need to worry about sending the cat to college. I'll save that money and spend it on...I don't know...maybe beer."
I've heard this, too:
Buddy #3: "My kid is always in trouble at school. I'm afraid he'll grow up to be a hoodlum, derelict, or, even worse, a Democratic presidential candidate. What can I do?"
Chris' response: "I have a cat. She sleeps twenty hours per day. One of the great things about her is that I know I'll never have to bail her out of jail in the wee hours of the morning, which I'm afraid you will have to do with your hellion child someday. My cat will also never appear on any 'Girls Gone Wild' videos, which is a real shame, because she has like eight nipples. When my kitty misbehaves, I simply threaten to have her put to sleep, and she straightens out...what? You mean, you can't do that with teenagers? Wow, the ladies at N.O.W. must be doggin' it."
Then, the follow-up to the scenario above:
Buddy #3 (again): "I just can't discipline my adolescent. What should I do?"
Chris' response: "I have a cat. If she misbehaves too much, I can simply threaten to euthanize her. See my response above. Works every time. Here's another idea. With a cat, if you can't afford euthansia, threatening to donate her to some Far Eastern restaurants may sometimes end up with the desired attitude adjustment."
(Disclaimer: I do not condone euthanasia for pets except for extreme circumstances, and would never do that to my cat.)
(Disclaimer #2: Teenagers, however, are another subject.)
Then, there's this tearjerking story:
Buddy #4: "My kid is always sick! He's always bringing home something from school/Boy Scouts/daycare/rehab/therapy/juvy hall (insert trendy activity here). Not only is he always sick, he brings the illness home, and the entire house gets sick!"
Chris' response: "I have a cat. She's never sick, since she never goes outside. Besides the occasional grisly hairball or two, anyway. That's not sickness. That's just a hygiene issue. And hey, if the cat ever gets real sick, you can always resort to that nasty last resort discussed above. Kill her and grill her. I'm sure she'd taste like chicken. Everything else does."
Buddy #5: "My little girl is the best player on her softball team, her basketball team, her volleyball team, dominates in her soccer league, has won fifteen beauty pageants, and is the head cheerleader at her elementary school. Though she's not even a teenager yet, I am already planning to be her agent when she goes pro."
Chris' response: "I have a cat. The only sport she cares about is hunting. My, does she hunt. She hunts shadows. She hunts breezes. She hunts flickers of light and traces of dust in the air. And just like your meathead jock daughter, my cat can't spell, either."
Buddy #6: "I am paying way over $400.00 per month for my illegitimate kid's child support. Man, I guess I got lucky one too many times."
Chris' response: "I have a cat. She only costs me the $30.00 adoption fee from the Sikeston Humane Society, plus ongoing expenses for food and kitty litter. All in all, I'd say that's a pretty good investment. As a side note, congrats on the illegitimate kid. You have participated in the miracle of human reproduction, which has only happened about a few hundred billions or so times since the beginning of history. Wow. I'm in awe."
But, this one, I can relate to:
Buddy #7: "My teenager is petulant, whiny, doesn't listen to me, and is only nice to me when there's something in it for him."
Chris' response: "Wow, now, that sounds like my cat."