OKAY, I SURRENDER–HERE’S MY FIRST BLOG!
Even though I have pretty much given up on advice books, webinars and blogs for writers, I have been badgered enough about doing a blog that I have finally accepted the inevitable. Apparently, if you write, you must blog, otherwise you have no redeeming value. So with no further ado, this is my first blog and it will not concern several things, at least this first one. It will not concern the topic of writing. It will not concern the puzzlement of how to make one’s books of interest to anyone. And, it will not concern why I still feel compelled to go ahead and write the next book regardless of the initial lackluster of the first three. No, this first blog will not be about any of those things, but I suspect they may pop up here and there as this journey digs in and makes miles.
So, what is this first salvo all about? I was told to blog about anything that strikes my fancy and not to worry about subject matter. What matters in the blog is the blog itself—a little Marshall McLuhan there I guess. Right now, my fancy is focused on a picture I took of the cat. It just came out of the rigors of Photoshop and squeezed through the rollers of my all-in-one printer. And here it now sits on my desk. It is a surprisingly good picture (see below). I am proud to say I took it and I am proud that Toni (that’s the cat) actually seemed to pose for it. She (“she” is the cat again…notice it’s “Toni” with an “i”) is staring right into the lens, sort of inferring that I should hurry up and snap the picture because it was to be a one-time-only photo op, her gift to me and don’t expect another one. Typical cat.
I’ve had many cats through the years. The first were Alice and Cervantes, brother and sister. My literary mother named them after the wonderland wanderer and the guy with the windmill thingy. They eventually got old, tore up the house, and made smelly deposits on the dining room rug that made dining in the room no longer desirable. I grew very intolerant of them during my intolerable early teenage years. When what happened to the new stereo happened, that was it for me—the cats had to go.
Almost as memorable as watching Stagecoach Theater on our modern 9-inch round-screen TV (we were third on the block to own one) was the day several years later when the dual-speaker stereo console arrived. It was a handsome piece of dark mahogany furniture that housed speakers behind cloth panels on, not one, but both left and right sides. This incredible piece of technology included an AM-FM radio and an automatic turntable upon which any normal audiophile could stack four to five vinyl “LPs” and proceed to blast a couple of hours of Art Blakey or Cannonball Adderley. I was the audiophile. I was in audiophile heaven. Then it happened. I came home after school one afternoon and upon entering the living room, there was our beautiful dark mahogany dual cloth-covered speakers stereo with the AM-FM radio and multi-LP stacking turntable…the same stereo but now with the totally clawed out speaker cloths and the totally shredded speaker cones, remnants of which were distributed throughout the house.
My father, the straitlaced (the term, “geek” did not exist yet) mechanical engineer with the shirt pocket protector snugly embracing his red Scripto mechanical pencil and his black and silver Parker ballpoint pen, observed the damage and listened to my plea that the cats had overtaken our house, damaging one of our most prized new luxuries, not to mention the emotional rehab I would have to go through having to give up Art and Cannonball. The cats had to go. My father agreed. The two of us put Alice and Cervantes in a box. I held it on my lap as we drove to the SPCA where we both knew what would happen to them. It was the first and only time I ever saw my father tear up.
There were more cats to follow. Winston was the most beautiful. An orange rendition who insisted on sitting next to me wherever I sat. He died young, from leukemia. I found him one night under the basement steps near the heater. He had suffered all week and he went off to be by himself and not burden the family with his final wince of pain. He was my favorite.
Others came and went, some peeing on the rugs and clawing the furniture; others just hanging around tolerating us. The longest stay was by Bowser. He was born in our bedroom closet in Maryland in the ‘70’s. He had such a large yawn we named him after the wide-mouth bass man of the then popular singing group, Sha Na Na. Bowser hung around through three states and over 16 years. He was diabetic in his later years and we had to give him a shot every morning. I hated when my wife, an RN, was out of town and I had to stick him. He always got an extra treat with me.
So now, fast forward to Toni. Toni arrived in 2011 with my granddaughter, Haley, when she came to live with us for awhile. Toni and Bill the dog (a Maltese) get along reasonably well. Toni likes to hide atop a chair and wait for Bill to come by. She then leaps down on top of him and rides him like a rodeo star. It is quite unusual…so is Toni. She is an electronic cat. Yep, no kidding. We procrastinated on getting her spayed and paid dearly. She began spraying around the house one day, hoping to attract something more animated than the stuffed duck in the bedroom. But, Toni sprayed only on appliances and electronics. She got on the kitchen counter and let the toaster have it. I didn’t notice until I plopped in a Thomas’ and a pungent smell proceeded to waft its way through every nook and cranny of the house. Then she hit the back of the big flat screen and the cable box in the family room. She shorted out the box and one of the HDMI inputs on the screen. Next was my all-in-one printer, but luckily I caught her just seconds into the act.
Everything Toni baptized has been cleaned up or thrown out. We rewarded her horniness with a stay at the Broward County Animal Shelter during which she was treated to a manicure and the appropriate neutering procedure. She no longer has the need for social media and her disposition is even a little nicer than it used to be. She will actually come to get her head scratched for a few minutes before she bites you. And the all-in-one printer? She sleeps on top of it most nights. I keep warning her she could wind up faxed somewhere cold and scary.
Well, lookie here, I did a blog. It’s longer than I thought it’d be and it doesn’t have anything very useful to offer the readers, ‘cept maybe don’t procrastinate because you might have to get a new toaster if you do. I’ll let it go with that.