It’s JUST a couch

2 Jul

My wife loves our two cats, she just wishes that they were hairless, toothless , and clawless. Okay, maybe she doesn’t love our two cats. She does, however, love furniture. I think furniture is fine; sometimes I like to sit down, but I don’t love furniture, and don’t particularly care if the cats use one end of the couch as a scratching post. They can scratch and scratch until they have cat-scratch arthritis and they still won’t turn that piece of wood and fabric into something I can’t sit on. We live peaceably together, clawed cats and I. My new motto (as of this minute) is “let cats be cats if you’re going to keep cats.” I think it a grand motto.

Surgically removing a cat’s claws is cruel and it hurts like a bitch (I’ve heard from other cats)–even my wife, I think, acknowledges this. Here is a good description. Years ago, we were ignorant of the process and put our poor (former) cat, Daisy, throHairless Catugh this torture.

Since we recently moved into a “better” house, we have a whole extra room to outfit. That’s why my  wife bought two new matching mini-couches. Her master “protect the new couches from the evil cats” plan was to purchase tiny, colored caps to glue onto their claws. Obviously, this is a better solution than the surgical de-claw, but she’s fighting a losing battle. The “Soft Paws” always mysteriouly disappear and she has to reapply at least a couple each evening. Of course, I’m not about to join her in this fight. I don’t inspect their claws for missing caps. I don’t even think about it.

To my wife, and I guess to a large portion of Americans, furniture isn’t just shit to sit on, it’s an extension of the outside of the house and signals our place in the world. It’s a competitive culture that I would love to opt-out of.

“Friends and neighbors, we live in this fine house that is at least as fine as yours and if you will come inside you will see that we have fine stuff in here–arranged with great care. See the angle of that perfect couch over by the window? Yesterday it was an inch closer to the fireplace.”

I vote to remove all objects from the living room, pad the walls and floors and dedicate this awesome space for roughhousing and, yes, we would enthusiastically “throw balls in the house.”

Americans are not only obessesed with collecting stuff, they’re equally obsessed with protecting it. I’ll stick with the couch theme here: you’re getting crumbs on the couch; get your shoes off the couch; don’t climb on the back of the couch; who moved the couch? (it’s inches away from its “perfect” spot); are you looking at the couch, I didn’t say you could look at my new couch.

Ya know what, f*!k the couch.

While still contemplating the idea of living with a real padded fun room, I was intently staring at a specific spot on one of these stupid couches when a thick thread wormed its way out and sat there looking like the result of cat malfeasance. I realized that the couch is trying to eat its owner; unraveling itself just to spite my wife.

When she sees this new flaw (and OH she will) she’s off like she’s on fire and a pussycat is a water hose. The cats, who aren’t stupid, are now hiding from the evil glue lady. When she drags them from dusty nooks, they howl and squirm because they know what’s coming–a digit by digit inspection and then the smell of glue and then comes the unnatural application of feline Lee Press-on Nails.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have nice things,” she tells me if I defend the cats.

Then I dig up some statistics on world poverty to put things in perspective. “Nice things? Did you know that 1.6 billion people–a quarter of freakin’ humanity–live without electricity? Do you know how many children die from hunger or hunger-related causes each DAY? No? I’ll tell you–25,000 poor kids die each day, not per year–per DAY! What do you think would fit in their conception of ‘nice things’?”

It’s hard to argue with world poverty when talking about the morality of American materialism, so I count that as an argument victory–case closed. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way–case back open.

Those disturbing statistics are mostly unknown around here, but I like to think about them once in awhile, to pull myself down from the clouds, back to reality. It’s impossible to grasp that level of suffering.

In the meantime,  a new batch of fashionably colored claw covers arrived at our house this week and this hypocrite has a iPod strapped to his arm purchased with $150 that could have been used to help feed some starving children.


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