Sad times in Happy Meadows.

So, we have had  sad times in Happy Meadows. Three people in Mike’s world either died or had deaths in their family. This is always sad and distressing. It’s also unfortunate that deaths in families often have a tendency to cause old wounds between other family members to start throbbing and come to the surface. In healthier families, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are much more admirable and contribute to healing. With life being as hectic as it is, Mike only got to one of the 3 funerals. But he did make it to the homes of the other 2 grieving families after work this past Wednesday. Well, one of the visitations was at a funeral home. He left work at 5 o’clock and drove all over North Georgia practically. Comforting the bereaved is one of the most important of obligations emphasized by the rabbis, along with visiting the sick, freeing the captive, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and attending the dead to the grave.  Grieving families appreciate that you thought enough of them and their loved one to come and pay your respects.  Mike didn’t get home until after 9, exhausted. He had picked up sushi on his way home. (I admire Mike in a lot of ways but he’s far from perfect. I was very clear in my communication with him that a piece of salmon would be lovely. But let me tell you this about Mike, he doesn’t share his sushi.) One of the deaths was a young woman friend of Mike’s whose death was neither suicide nor overdose related. She was an addict but she died sober. In fact, the last few months of her life were some of her happiest. She had been born with a serious heart defect and had had a number of corrective surgeries. Mike says she got every second out of her heart  that she possibly could before it finally failed for the last time. She was a courageous and loving person, and she will be missed.

So, sorry to switch to such a mundane topic, but Jackson continues to pass hard poos as Mike continues to increase the amount of Metamucil he is adding to the kibble. The rest of us are passing the most excellent poos, but the Metamucil hasn’t changed Jackson’s internal behavior in the slightest. Mike says that he must have gotten this condition from Grandpa Moe. Mike’s father suffered from IBS and had a morbid preoccupation with his inner workings. Anyway, Mike and Judy continue to strategize and managed to get a laxative into him last night. Not long after he threw up an enormous hairball. He tried to act like it wasn’t his, and of course the rest of us weren’t talking, but Mike knew. Even this may have been helpful, though, if he had that much hair in his stomach.  Mike and Judy would like to avoid bringing him back to the Extreme Vet or even worse, the emergency vet. I will keep you posted as I promised earlier. I know you are perched on the edges of your seats (or commodes).

Mike is disgusted with his Google maps app. Although he (unjustifiably) takes pride in his sense of direction, he has come to occasionally appreciate the value of getting good directions and following them. It reminds me of the gag about why Moses and the children of Israel had to wander 40 years in the desert before they came to the promised land. You know the gag so I won’t give you the punch line. If you don’t know the gag, consider the context. Anyway, the woman who talks you through the directions has gotten quite inconsistent about when she is willing to talk. She typically will start at the very beginning, something simple like back down your driveway to the street, which of course you wouldn’t have known to do that if she hadn’t said so. And then when you’re actually there she tells you that you’re actually there. Nothing in between. So Wednesday when Mike went to the first visitation he managed to find the location but had to park about a block away because there were so many cars there. He walked down the hill until he came to the driveway and just as he was about to start up the driveway this female voice in his pocket said “Your destination is on the left.” Very helpful. Michelle suggested deleting it from his phone and then downloading it again. This makes sense. Sometimes Mike has to turn his computer off and then turn it back on again in order to get it to behave properly. Some days I have to reboot myself, so I get this. Now all Mike needs to do is figure out how to execute this complex task. I’ll keep you informed.

There has been some discussion that I’ve heard on the radio about some government official referring to his boss as a “moron”. I don’t think the reference was meant to be literal, just uncomplimentary. While I think that it’s important to be respectful to people, it would also be desirable if people could behave in a manner which is worthy of respect. The greatest challenge in any job is dealing with the other people who are there, and sometimes people let their anger get the best of them. Cats have the same issues but we resolve them easily and quickly. We either hiss, snarl, glare, make a big tail, fight, walk away, or some combination thereof. And we never carry resentments although we may remain wary of other cats, people, or dogs who have demonstrated that they might be dangerous or can’t be trusted.

Speaking of morons, people have cleaned up their language pretty well about other people with disabilities. When Mike was in medical school about 100 years ago moron was an actual medical term. It referred to people with an IQ between 50 and 70. Then there were the imbeciles whose IQ was between 30 and 50. Lowest on the totem pole were the idiots whose IQ was below 30. There were even institutes for morons, imbeciles, and idiots. These were places where families deposited their intellectually impaired loved ones. Today the concept of children with special needs is widely talked about and understood, and very much lacks the social stigma that these things used to have. Public and private schools both have developed the capacity to provide learning environments to accommodate children with special needs. And families are in general much more accepting of these issues, however challenging they may be. Mike’s older brother, Bob, today would have been called a special needs child. If folks had known then what they know now, he would have been diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder, a form of autism. (Doctor Asperger actually wrote his paper in 1944, but it attracted little attention at the time considering what else was going on in Austria then. And it didn’t reach the English speaking world for years since he wrote it in his native language of German. It only surfaced in the US in the early 1990’s as far as I know.)Bob had a lot of trouble making friends as a kid but as an adult he figured out a way to make his life work. He married a lovely woman and raised a fine family. He was admired in his community. But as he was growing up his life and certainly Mike’s parents lives would have been much easier if there were resources available to help him adjust to a world that he had trouble understanding. It was a tragedy in more than one way. Mike’s mother had lost her own mother when she was 4 years of age and she didn’t feel loved or wanted by her stepmother. Her compensation in her own mind for this was to become the best mother in the world. Now, the only way to determine if someone is the world’s best mother would have to be to have the world’s best kids. While this is a burden for any kid to have to try to achieve, impossible really, it is totally impossible for a child with special needs who doesn’t understand the world that he lives in. Mike didn’t have much of a shot at perfection either, and trust me, he certainly hasn’t achieved it. All Mike’s father wanted was to have normal children. Mike has learned that when his older brother was born his father told his mother that she had to give him one of 3 names, Robert, Richard, or George. (Mike’s father hated his own name, Moses.) Mike thanks God every day that she selected Robert. Bob’s life was hard enough as a kid as it was. Mike had another kid in his class who had Asperger’s disorder whose name was George, and Mike remembers that this didn’t help things at all. Kids can be cruel. The other kid in his class who had Asperger’s disorder was named Kenyon. Kenyon was fascinated with trains and had taken pictures of every Chicago Transit Authority train car and bus that they had ever used. Kenyon had a paper route and got hit by a car early one morning and lost the use of his left arm completely. It hung at his side like a dead fish. It was pretty awful. The kids were nicer to Kenyon after that though.

Anyway, the guy who was supposedly referred to as a moron couldn’t ignore it. He said that he would be happy to compare his intellect to anyone’s and that he would win the contest. I think that anyone who has to brag about how smart he is is suffering from insecurity. If you’re smarter than everyone else just be smarter than everyone else, you don’t have to say so. The funny thing is, Mike says that what he heard the guy actually said was not that his boss was a moron, but that he was a fucking moron. He must have really been frustrated and lost his composure. I can understand that. Sometimes things get to be just a little bit too much and you just don’t want to maintain composure all the time. Just let it out, and damn the consequences.

Well that’s all the news from Happy Meadows for now.  Be safe, try not to be sad, and enjoy the lovely fall weather.

Author: Black Magic

Black Magic is a handsome, charming, and self-absorbed cat who lives with Mike and Judy Gordon in Marietta, Georgia. He is about 7 years old, and he will remind you at every opportunity that his grandfather was Black Jack, that famous cat who wrote his own autobiography. Black Magic has a great many opinions, and despite his natural feline arrogance, he seems to be genuinely spiritual. But the reader can decide for him/herself.

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