Beyond Price

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One of the greatest gifts from reading Jordan Peterson — for me — was being made aware of how little I value myself. And also that this is normal. (Heck, it’s probably evolutionary.)

This was brought home today because in less than half an hour we have to try to corner and bag Greebo so we can take him to the vet to do a procedure to cure his hyperthyroidism.

He’s our fifth cat to go into hyperthyroidism and we’ve tried the other treatments extensively, from the rub in the ear (Pete, now 18 years ago) to tablets (Pixie, now gone 13 years) to DT — radio therapy by mouth. Cheaper But two years later she developed jaw cancer– to, currently, Euclid cat.

When Euclid went hyperthyroidal there was no thought of radio therapy because Euclid has been senile for years. How senile?  Forget where you are and howl senile, and also pee/poo wherever you are senile, so that we’ve had to confine him to a (granted spacious not to say palatial) kennel because there’s only so much furniture I can lose. Yes, we are considering that last, sad, vet trip, but he doesn’t seem to be in pain, massively enjoys his food, and loves being held, which we try to do often.

Also, when the hyperthyroidism set in, Euclid was 18 and arthritic and….

But Greebo is, other than the sudden hyperthyrodism making him lose a third of his body weight in a month, in really good shape for 16.  Also, to be honest, he’s unpillable.  Having started as a feral kitten, he’s both impossible to catch when he doesn’t want to (see the note above about trying to bag him) and very smart. So we’d give him the pill… once.

We had enough issues with Pixel who was as smart (if easier to catch) and who turned every morning into a rousing game of “Where the heck is he hiding now?”

So we could choose to let my editor — or my dog, which is what DIL calls him, for his absurd loyalty to ME only, his following me around from room to room, his interposing himself between me and any disturbances, and his failure to cat when he wants to show affection. As in, idiot cat doesn’t strop, he leans on my ankles, as the highest mark of love — go at a galloping pace into senility and death, or we could lay out … well, a lot of money.

No, not asking. I asked — kind of — in the diner on facebook while pointing out we have the resources (though not the ready cash) to do this. It’s just that right now we have other claims on those resources, because three years ago younger son stopped being able to borrow for tuition (eh, the college is not set up for two and a half degrees) and he only occasionally manages to cover his rent (though to give him his due, he tries. Need a paper edition designed? He’s good.) And other things. We bought the house knowing it needs repairs, and then got socked with a full tuition bill (we were covering half) and … well…. You know how well I’ve done at retaining paying jobs these last two years. (Yes, I know, and I’m finally writing fiction again at what I consider a normal pace, so that’s irrelevant.

Again, we have the resources. Not the end of the world, it just makes me uncomfortable, which is what I told people in the diner, and said that it would make me feel better if I had at least some towards it. (And they did help.  About half the cost. Even though I told them it was mostly to assuage my neurosis.)

Because it’s a big plunge to spend that much on a … cat. And one who is already sixteen.

Non-cat people would tell me that I could just go to the shelter and find another non-descript black cat with a huge head, and adopt him.  And they would be right if a cat were just a cat were just a cat.  But this is Greebo, and Greebo is mine, as surely as I’m his.  He’s mine, I love him and I’m responsible for his care.

Which, to get away from cats (sorry for the digression) brings us to Dr. Peterson and “Treat yourself as though you were someone you love that you’re responsible for.”

In fact, one of the things he pointed out was that people pill their animals more assiduously than they do themselves, spend more on their animals than on themselves, and in fact, look after total strangers than they do themselves.

That is because we know ourselves. We know all the times we fall down, we know all the times we fail, we know everything we did wrong and we know — each of us — that massive potential locked inside each of us, which we fail to realize because… because we’re lazy, venal, too preoccupied with immediate satisfaction.  Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves, right?

Our opinion of ourselves might be insane, at least viewed through the eyes of those who love us, but we’re sure we’re not worth it. My kids, some of the hardest-working people I know, (seriously, I see it.), mostly talk about their failures as “I was lazy and stupid.” Let’s just say ain’t neither of those boys stupid. And sometimes taking a few minutes to sit down with a cup of coffee, or an afternoon to go to the zoo or go out with friends isn’t being lazy. We’re not machines.

But then I see all the time I waste, every day, and I think I’m lazy and certainly often stupid, and most people horse-laugh at this.

Maybe your own view of yourself is also distorted. Because you’re inside your head, tallying up every time you fail. Maybe Greebo thinks of how he upchucks in my freshly cleaned floor, and that all he does is try to be near me, so why should I care if he’s dying?

I think devaluing yourself and what you do is evolutionary — at least for people worth a damn — because throughout the long history of our species, adults were usually responsible for the survival of weaker members of the tribe. In a way, maybe what makes us human is that we care for the maimed and the elderly as much as for children, which other species don’t seem to do. There are people who think this allowed people in bands time to THINK and create, beyond the immediate. Because the guy who could no longer hunt could shape a better blade. The aged woman could weave a better fishing basket.

BUT that means that burly hunters and capable women had to ignore their own needs and wants, to keep someone else alive.  Sure, children, but also other people.

So I think fully functional adults ignore their needs in favor of their obligations because overtime that was best for the species.

Well, guys, we’re no longer living close to the (flint-scraped bone.) You can look after those you owe a duty to AND yourself.

In fact, arguably, you look after others better after you care for yourself, at least past a certain point.  Remember, if the plane loses pressure, you must secure your own mask before assisting those you’re responsible for.

Or as my friend Jeff Greason says so often “You must take care of the meat suit.”

Christianity has a work around for that.  If you can believe, believe absolutely that G-d himself went through becoming a human and enduring a horrible death FOR YOU, you have to believe you have value.  The problem with that in the 21st century of the Christian era, is that even people who are believers have trouble believing with absolute faith. Faith, grain of mustard, etc.

But the “Take care of yourself, as you would of someone you love who is utterly dependent on you is a revolutionary concept, one you can hold in your head and remember.  It has caused — little by little — the remarkable improvement in my health as little by little we’ve been taking care of my various medical issues that had brought most of my writing to a grinding halt, except for short pieces.

If you need an excuse to take care of yourself take this: You are of value.

If you believe in G-d, believe you were put here for a reason. There was a plan and a reason for your existence. It might be to be the crazy cat lady, but that’s still a reason. Or it might simply be to be there at that crucial moment someone else needs you, which in turn allows them to be there when someone else needs them, which–

And if you don’t — you’re still here for a reason. Perhaps not a predestined and planned reason, but a reason. There are things you are and do that no one else can fulfill at that time and at that moment.  I know a lot of people, but even those I personally could dispense with are important — vital — to someone else.  Your reason could be as personal as taking care of your child, or as generic as being someone the people in the office find comforting or dependable.

As you are, you are unique and irreplaceable.  And you’re at least as important as a little grumpy cat who leans on my legs when he needs me to know he loves me.

Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself.

Particularly in these unstable times, and facing who knows what ahead, we need people who can help make sure what comes next isn’t hell on Earth.

I can’t afford to lose any single one of you.

You have things to do.  So don’t let yourself get to the point you can’t.

I have friends who were just laid off (it was seen before it happened. The industry they worked for is shedding.) and trust me, I know the distress and confusion and everything else, as your path in life changes.

But it’s precisely when you need to stop and look around yourself rationally and figure out what comes next, and how you can take it to the next level.

It’s not just a matter of finding a new job, or whatever.  The catastrophe happened. Now stop and think and analyze (yes, as hard as it is.) Treat yourself as a house you plan to sell.  When we live somewhere and we have to do a repair, we always look and go “How do we improve it while repairing, because that adds value?

In this time of catastrophically fast innovation, when you are faced with a major set back, stop, and wonder “how do I add value?”  It can be taking a new course, or simply learning a new thing. Or it can be going “hey, I can freelance doing this, make more AND set up a new pathway for other people like me.”

Because in the end doing that will benefit not just you but others.

Secure your oxygen mask before looking after others.

And be not afraid.

 

*Sorry this is so late, but I was dropping Greebo off at the clinic, and they made us watch a presentation on it, even though it’s our third cat doing this, and it took almost two hours. (ARGH.)

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He wasn’t happy with us and had decided that if he could just stay in the box forever, he’d be fine. After all, he’s supposed to be in my office supervising, not in the strange place that smells like strange cats. We eventually had to pour him out like a liquid. This is Greebo being the thing in the box.

 

244 thoughts on “Beyond Price

      1. A lot of weight for a cat to lose in that short of time, definitely. Looking forward to the antic reports when Greebo gets home. FYI. He’s a tiny little thing 😉 … (we have had a cat his size, and double his size, they were not the Forest Cats of humongous size breed, … me thinks a mommy kitty mistook a bobcat as domestic …)

        I hope you have him for many years more. Knowing what is coming does not help, no matter how close, no matter how little you know you can do about it.

  1. A year ago we were paying between 1500 and 2000 a month in vet visits, ultrasound, and various medications including chemo to keep the Bugger-cat as healthy and happy as we could. We gave him 6 more months with his humans and we don’t regret it.

    You’re doing the right thing. He needs his humans to be able to look after him properly so he can do his job right.

    1. I’m doing the same thing with Nemo right now. He’s gained over a year and still going pretty strong even with canine lymphoma. He’s still our auxiliary alarm system, and our shameless beggar puppy (Nemo, I don’t care if you insist there won’t be leftovers, your 15 pound self isn’t going to convince me the three of us need a 25 pound turkey 😉 )

      The best decision I ever made was to put him on ASPCA pet insurance about a year before he started having issues. $100 per month (went to $130 in September), 90% coverage, and they haven’t really given me any hassles, just covered him.

  2. I have to use google chrome as my browser. It now has identified PJ Media as being insecure. It will not let me access. It also has identified townhall the same way. Is anyone else having the same problems?

    1. No, but then again I use AdBlock and NoScript. However, a favorite leftist trick is to report conservative sites as malware sites, so that a lot of firewalls will put them on a block list.

        1. This doesn’t say malware, but says the sites use an unsupported protocal. The following is what shows up on my computer from google chrome.

          “This site can’t provide a secure connection

          pjmedia.com uses an unsupported protocol.
          ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH
          Hide details
          The client and server don’t support a common SSL protocol version or cipher suite. This is likely to be caused when the server needs RC4, which is no longer considered secure.”

          The timing of this seems significant to me with the impeach circus and report coming out as a way to keep people from hearing the truth.

          1. What web browser are you using Presbypoet? That message usually means that one end has updated to the latest list of still-secure web ciphers and the other end is using older software that doesn’t support any of those ciphers. It’s usually the site that has updated, and the user has not (although it could very well be the other way around), so if you are using an older browser you may need to update.

            We have this problem a lot at work. We, of course, want to use the latest and bestest server software/ciphers to make sure everything is as secure as possible. BUT, then clients complain that our server is “broken” because they can’t view it using a copy of Internet Explorer from Windows 98.

            1. Windows XP, old computer. Lost my secret code to access the control to change things, so for the past 3 years have just accessed without needing password.

              Someone who knows would have easy time, I suppose. I have been trying to keep using the XP because I hate Micro renting windows 10 etc. At some point will need to get new computer. Looks like the time is now. Giggle crone has told me it does not support XP, so updating seems impossible. The question: Why PJ Media and Townhall at the same time, and not other sites. Tree house is still visible. This site too.

              1. There is an updated browser based on Firefox that supports Windows XP. It might give you some more time before you must upgrade your hardware. n.b. I haven’t tried it myself, I don’t do Windows.
                https://github.com/Feodor2/Mypal/releases
                I would add the UBlock Origin extension to it right away before doing much browsing. It helps a lot keeping older machines from being overwhelmed with tracking & ad connections.

              2. If/when you go to Windows 10, check out Open Shell. Makes the system look and feel (mostly) Win7. Put it on two systems I just moved to 10 and they are so much better.

                (Haven’t moved to Linux as too many of my critical applications don’t have satisfactory Linux equivalent/replacements. Xastir is not as good as APRSIS32 for instance )

              3. And my more-info on browser builds for XP seems to have vanished into moderation hell. *sigh*

                There exists a tool to turn an established WinXP setup into a virtual machine disk, which you can then import into VirtualBox. I haven’t tried it yet, but I do have XP running nicely in VirtualBox, and exported it as an OVA so I can now import it anywhere. (Irreplaceable bit of antique software rides along, even if I didn’t vastly prefer XP’s interface. Win10 is Brutalism for computers.)

                1. Thanks for your suggestions, I am the best example of:
                  DO NOT Lose track of your passwords. Since the computer is a blend of XP and a non microsoft package my daughter’s boyfriend added, it would take someone who is able to hack passwords to let me get into the admin folder to change my browser. Months ago I tried to change my browser, and realized I had lost the password to get into admin mode.

                  I was just worried that this was a more general attack due to the Monday dumps. Glad this is only a coincidence that I no longer can access Instapundit and Belmont Club.

              4. Presbypoet, Yep. That’s the problem. Most (if not all) browsers have stopped updating for XP, and the ciphers that were in use back in the XP days are now considered too weak and no longer secure. Some places, Internet Explorer is no longer able to connect at all since IE is no longer supported by Microsoft, and the ciphers in the last update of IE are now considered to be too weak.

                For the professionally paranoid (a consequence of what I do for a living), still using XP seems pretty scary to me. XP was depreciated quite some time ago and hasn’t gotten any security patches since then. Windows 7 is depreciating soon (next month?) so we’re already getting rid of our win 7 boxes (mostly upgrading them to win 10. Getting new computers would be nice, but who has the budget?)

                1. Frustrating. What I’m seeing is computer costs are going up. Especially if you want more than 4 GB RAM on Win10. Granted still way less than what I paid for the Apple 2e, way back when. Apple 2e, back then, was way less than what you’d pay for an IBM that ran DOS. There weren’t a whole lot of other desktop options then. For awhile as technology advanced, and you could get more memory, the older configurations, that were “good enough” were decently priced. Not anymore. Either under configured, or over configured.

                  Looking for something for mom. But can’t find anything reasonably price that has an advantage over her current Samsung 10″ device. Not finding anything.

                2. More weirdness. PJ Media is back. I did nothing to my computer. Hot Air still blocked. Appreciate the thoughts. I assume my computer has been hacked, so don’t pay on-line. All they can get is my writing.

                  I got a new computer, and put the passwords with the other password for the admin mode for this computer. Somewhere among 12,000 books, thousands of pages of writing, there is a page with the passwords. So i now have this computer using XP, and a “new” computer I can’t access. Just remember…Nothing can go wrong…nothing can go wrong…nothing can go wrong…

                  To err is human, to really screw, up you need a computer.

          2. I got that a bit over the weekend, early one morning (so I’m waking up at 3AM, my body has odd ideas at times). At that time, it was most of PJ media, barring Bearing Arms. When it got off that message, it took 15-30 minutes for it to come back fully.

            FWIW, on my end it was Pale Moon and Firefox. OTOH, FF just rolled out an update after that. Don’t know if it was relevant. Haven’t updated PM since the end of October.

            TL;DR, try waiting an hour or so.

        2. Well, from their point of view conservative thought is malware- software designed to interfere with a computer’s normal functioning.

          Of course, from our point of view, their thinking is malware – software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or network.

      1. Oh, we could go Mad Max: Fury Road and link them all together transfusing each other. The cats all calm down, and Sarah has this urge to eat Nine Lives straight out of the can.

        1. Well, the other day talking to husband about what comes after life, we discovered I fully expect the rainbow bridge.
          This resulted in husband shouting with laughter. “You are not a cat.”
          Fine, whatever. But I’m not so sure.

          1. Of coarse, Rainbow Bridge, for every pet owner.

            Doesn’t everyone know the line to St Peter has a brief stop at a bridge of Rainbows. If you are greeted by Fur Friends a the this bridge, they escort you in, past St Peter who nods in acknowledgement …

            1. Considering all I’ve called my own through the years, including friends’ dogs, I’ll be COVERED in fur. I have no clue how derp fish will wait. I assume in heaven there’s no need for water or oxygen, and I’ll finally be able to pet him.

  3. Sarah, your verse is somewhat at odds with John 15:13:
    “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

    1. Sure. BUT you have to be well enough to figure out it needs doing, etc.
      I figure G-d doesn’t want you to neglect yourself to the point of not functioning/doing what He wants.
      After all, you’re mistreating HIS creation.
      Loving your neighbor as yourself implies you’re taking decent care of yourself.
      And then you can choose to lay down your life, if needed.
      Laying down is NOT throwing away.

      1. I can’t find it again now – but I have seen one translation that is “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay aside his life for his friends.”

        I am no scholar, so I cannot say whether the Koine can be translated that way, but it seems to make more sense in context with the rest of that Gospel passage. Particularly John 15:14: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

        1. The translation I usually hear is lay down his life.

          Which is also consistent with ‘give’ in all forms including but not limited to dying.

          1. Like I said, I saw that alternate translation some time ago, and now cannot find it again.

            (Every time this happens, I think “I should have bookmarked that.” Then I think again, and realize that my desktop would soon look like the top of my desk – if not worse.)

            1. I usually find that wherever my SE goes for Bible references it turns up what seems like every possible official translation, such that selection of a specific generic translation is an embarrassment of riches.

              Translation is always difficult, for words and concepts ofttimes have no equivalent in other language. “Lay down” can reasonably enough be “lay aside” — for example, “I laid down my book to answer the phone” being largely equivalent to “I laid my book aside to answer the phone.”

              Sometimes, of course, there’s simply no substitute for becoming fluent iin another language. Good luck with that.

              1. Much of the Bible is poetry. To translate poetry across languages is almost impossible. True poetry is alive and sings. Most translations end up with dead words. It is the difference between a living person and a corpse.

        2. Many years ago I had a friend who got curious about what the differences in different translations actually meant, so he spent a few years learning the original languages and creating his own library of copies (sometimes just photos) of as close to the originals as he could get. It was HILARIOUS being at his house when the various missionaries would show up (Mormons, and Jehovah Witnesses mostly, but rarely others). He WANTED to talk to them. “Oh, I see your version says this… let’s look at it in the original Aramaic (or Hebrew or Greek whichever that part was in). The reactions were incredible. Sometimes they left in a huff… sometimes with a smile because they learned something.

          1. If you like that kind of stuff, Fr. Mitch on EWTN is good– does Open Line every Wednesday.
            https://www.ewtn.com/radio/shows/open-line-wednesday

            He’s a Jesuit who’s bi-ritual (Marionite of the Eastern Church) and whatever the good mannered rednecks are called who is also a total history geek who is fluent in 12 languages.

            That’s where I found out stuff like the neighbors of ancient Israel having a very special dish that was a calf boiled in its mother’s milk. I did mention ‘total geek’, right?

        3. So, NOT a koine greek scholar but there are excellent tools
          (Bible Gateway/ Blue letter Bible) that can help take stuff apart. I think given the word for life (psyche the breath of life) used this is not do something different (Come follow me) but talking about dieing for one’s friends. Which makes utter sense as this is part of the gospel of John’s detailed reporting on the last supper and Jesus seems to be foreshadowing whats going to happen in less than 24 hours. I can’t find lay aside anywhere. Major modern translations (NIV, ESV, NET, NRSV) all have lay down. Older translations (KJV, Douay Rheims, RSV ) also have lay down. Bible gateway will show you all its 30 odd English translations and no lay aside even in more vernacular/free form translations (like the Message) . But darn it I’d swear I’ve heard that somewhere. Maybe just a common mangling of the verse but folks, it trips off the tongue better than lay down, but is somewhat ambiguous.

          1. … but is somewhat ambiguous.

            Heaven forfend the Bible, a work read in English only through multiple translations over an era comprising multiple millennia, should be in any way ambiguous!

            When I meet the author I shall ask, although I suspect His* answer will be along the lines of, “What does it mean to you?”

            *Yes, I am indeed assigning the male gender pronoun to His Gloriousness. I am a conservative and thus ideologically free to reject, disdain and ignore all fashionable modes of writing in favour of traditional standards that prize clarity and consistency above the comforts of contemporary codswallop. Suck it up. Further, as all available evidence indicates the Bishop of Myra,
            Saint Nicholas, held no doubt about his gender I will remain adamant in, Father Christmas and Saint Nick no matter how much distress this may cause five-year-old girls of any age.

            Suck. It. Up.

            1. I would like to have a talk with St. John myself, (he being the presumed author although the Author certainly has a hand in it). I’d also like to have a discussion with St. Paul about his tendency to run on sentences, and rather odd reasoning. Though I image there will be better things to do than to try to accost apostles over their grammar :-).

            2. And if you whine too much about the gender of Saint Nicholas, May Black Pete Take You Away! 😈

    2. That’s not an instruction. It was an example. The scripture takes the highest and most amazing example of human love, that the greatest possible is to lay down your life for your friends… but Christ gave his life for people who hate Him, something we can’t even imagine.

      Instructions to husbands does include (but not mandate) self-sacrifice even to that extent, using Christ as an example. But I’ll say this, as a wife and all, we would prefer that our husbands take care of themselves because killing yourself through self-neglect does *not* satisfy those instructions, it just causes problems and burdens to others.

    3. Not really. Loving your neighbor as yourself is premised by the fact that you do love yourself. In a dire, even life threatening, situation you will do whatever you can to survive. Christ says to value your neighbor’s life the same way. Moreover, the word translated lay down refers to an ordering, rather than simply dying for someone. To lay your life down for someone means to rank, at least in the situation, someone elses life as more important than your own. But, again that presupposes that you are in a position to make the choice to lay down your life, having loved yourself sufficiently but not exclusively.

      1. A few years ago, I edited the second volume of a biography of Auguste Comte, the man who popularized (and I think coined) the word “altruism.” The author quoted a passage where Comte said that Jesus was a bad moral teacher, because he said “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and a truly good person would have no love of self at all, but would care only for others.

          1. It was somewhat illuminating, I admit, to learn that Objectivist objections to altruism were referring to… that… rather than to the results of linguistic drift toward sanity that the word has otherwise undergone.

            1. It wasn’t exactly “drift.” John Stuart Mill, who was a personal friend and admirer of Comte, started the process by saying explicitly that Comte’s definition would not be accepted and that altruism ought to be redefined as a concern for the welfare of others, NOT to the exclusion of one’s own welfare. And that’s pretty much how it has been understood ever since. Though these days sociobiologists use “reciprocal altruism” to mean any situation where I do something that benefits you and you do something that benefits me, a definition by which every voluntary exchange is altruistic, which REALLY expands the scope of altruism. That series of changes in meaning was propelled by some very bright people obfuscating the question.

              Of course, Mill’s ethics turned out to say that you get to care about your own good/utility/well-being, but only in the same measure in which care about any other person’s. That’s a difference in principle, but the difference between Comte’s total unconcern and Mill’s 0.000000001 share of concern strikes me as quantitatively negligible.

              I think Rand would have dismissed those later versions of altruism as philosophically shallow at best, quite apart from her focus on the original historical meaning. At any rate, they strike ME as philosophically shallow.

              1. In order to take care of someone else, you must take care of yourself first, or you will be in no shape to help. The old airplane directions “put the oxygen mask on yourself before you try to put it on your child”, are a very important lesson . Having a special needs son taught me some tough lessons. You can’t do it all. You need to be able to ask for help.

                The problem is that we try to serve out of guilt, not love. The most evil thing a church can do is to try to make people feel guilty, to manipulate them. Jesus offers himself to us as a gift, then asks if we will offer ourselves as a gift, and be filled with His spirit.

                When my son was diagnosed with the cancer that killed him in 6 months, I offered my grief to God as a gift. During that six months, I did not operate in my strength, but His. There were multiple divine appointments that happened. God invites us to join His plan. We keep asking God to bless my plan.

        1. C. S. Lewis, who was a good moral teacher, has pointed out the many ways in which our love for ourselves manifests. These ways include forgiving our trespasses, crediting ourselves with good intentions, granting the benefit of the doubt and assuming the best interpretations f what we do.

          Comte’s critique is wrong in only the ways a philosopher can err: misconstruing what the person criticized actually said, misdefining what the object (a “truly good” person), and establishing a standard that is virtually humanly unattainable — as no sane person can be totally uncaring about self.

          Other than that he was intelligently idiotic.

          1. It is easier to love other people if you first love yourself.

            And we have another bad example in pathological altruism, where cultures commit suicide to virtue-signal how much they love others.

        2. You know, anything that starts with the presupposition that the Word of G-d made flesh was bad at something and the speaker is better at it… automatically raises my “Warning! Dangerous levels of hubris!” alarm.

          And then reading the rest of that, I’m going “a truly good person”… ah, Comte, I see you fall in the long line of people who think that humans can be perfected. Where Jesus Christ did not…

  4. Today is a day off Day Job. This morning, I sat down with my fresh-made cup of tea, looked to my left, and saw a pile of paperwork on the printer – 15 pages of legalese that I need to read, annotated, signed or negotiated. I got it 4 days ago, and was supposed to get it back same day.

    So I had my first cuppa – because I wouldn’t expect any subordinate to tackle legalese on no caffeine; mistakes are made that way! And then I buckled down and plowed through, including having to reprint the whole thing after some alterations needed to be made. Scanned, emailed back to the proper channels…

    And even though it was before noon, I had myself a nice glass of hard apple cider. Because that was a terrible task I’d been dreading, and I should be a better boss and reward my employee after they sucked it up and tackled it.

    I’m a terrible employee and a worse boss, but I’m getting better at it.

  5. A lot of truth in what you wrote. My self care went down drastically after losing my wife last year, to the point I was forgetting – or neglecting – to take needed meds. I’m doing better, but I still see the need to have someone else to care for. Not as an invalid, but as a partner, a companion,
    People have suggested getting a pet; pets are fine, and it’s been nearly 15 years since I lost my last one. But I’m still not ready for one.
    “No man is an island, entire of itself”.Every spiritual or psychological text I’ve read all conclude that a person is intertwined with his/her society. And every society has a punishment of exile or rejection for those breaking societal mores.
    What I’ve found in the Diner, as well as several like-minded groups, is inclusion. Finding my tribe as I described it to my mother-in-law. We have to ‘hang together, or most assuredly we will hang separately’.

  6. I’m not stupid, but I can be annoying foolish, there’s so very much that I’m ignorant of (not having a thousand hours a day to study), and I’ve developed a reflex of avoiding action if I feel out of my depth.

    Lazy . . . it’s something to work on.

    -Albert

  7. I dropped everything yesterday afternoon for a friend in (musical) need. I think I got the better end of the deal, because two and a half hours of not saying “I need to be [day job], I need to be [writing job], I need to be [household stuff]” did wonders for my mental state. As well as reminding me why I detest theater spotlights (too bright, turn them off, make them go away!)

  8. I have been to one of Jordan Peterson’s lectures which, of course, included crossing picket lines because the Canadian left media and academia totally despise him.

    Good luck with your furball. It’s never fun to wrestle with a tribble that’s all fur, teeth and claws.

    1. Yeah, because sensible common sense “take responsibility for yourself” is now revolutionary, apparently.
      Greebo would NEVER scratch me. He does however protect me and my writing time from all and sundry. He’s a strange little one.

    2. CSPAN3 this weekend ran an interview with Scott “Dilbert” Adams about his newest book, Loserthink in which he discusses Dr. Peterson:

      https://www.c-span.org/video/?466664-1/loserthink-untrained-brains-ruining-america
      “For a long time I would ban people from mentioning him on my periscope. And people thought, “Oh, you must dislike Jordan Peterson. No, it was because he was so popular I was sick of hearing about him. [laughter] People kept saying, “What do you think of Jordan Peterson?” I was like, “Banned!” I was sick of seeing it. [laughter]

      “But … then I listened to him. So, I was like, “Allright, I’ve heard his name a billiion times, I’m so sick of it!” And then I listened to a youtube video — it doesn’t matter which one because they’re all amazing — and I thought, “What the Hell?” this is like powerful and different and important. Usually you don’t go to youtube to find something important but I thought this is way beyond just helpful this is important.

      “So I got hooked, as many people do, so I started watching his content; it was just so useful and … I don’t even know how to explain it — it was just so different and fresh and useful and it was changing people. You see people were changing. You may know the story he’s checked himself in for rehab — he apparently had some issues, got on some whatever, doesn’t matter, but he checked himself in for rehab.

      “I think he is still there working through it. I realize that, on one side you say to yourself, you hate to see your heroes go to rehab, but I have a different opinion about that; because he is a role model, and him going into rehab was one of the most important things that’s ever happened in this country and wait until he comes back it will be awesome.

      “But just on that point the fact that he has it so together — in terms of how to live your life but he still had to go to rehab: that is an important message. It’s not about smarter or clever or trying harder. Addiction is its own thing and can get anybody. And it’s very important.”

      [From CSPAN transcript as best I could correct the bloomin’ thing]

      1. A lot of people jeered when he went into rehab. Like, really? The guy had health issues wrt his wife, I recall, that had him basically hyperfocus on her, to his own detriment, and is now dealing with the detriment.

        I remember what it’s like being in crisis handling mode. I get it. Going through hell and kept going, and okay, he needed a crutch, but he’s trying to not need the crutch any more and I think that’s better than most people, who won’t even admit they have their own crutches. I still regret having taken antidepressants to basically not become emotionally crippled with grief and still function, but it broke something fairly fundamental in me in the process and I’m not sure it can be fixed.

        1. His wife was dying partly due to a botched surgery by Canadian health which had to be fixed in FL.
          The CANADIAN doctors put him on an anti-depressant you’re not supposed to take for more than two weeks for SIX MONTHS.
          He still defends Canadian health, because it’s what he grew up with, but I’ll point out that type of mistake is typical of socialized health care. I have friends who are now on meds to repair the effect of meds, which were to repair the effect of meds.
          It could happen to anyone under THAT system. It was a new drug, so not one he was familiar with.

          1. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have been on that ‘mild antidepressant’ for long either, but apparently there are people who are on it for years, if not life. I am hoping that eventually I’ll get away from the lingering effects, but I suspect it’ll be years. (I have issues keeping trains of thought now. I don’t want to fix it with drugs. Once burned twice shy.)

            I’m being very grateful that my doctors are being VERY careful with me here in Australia.

              1. It’s less ‘i need to feel happy all the time’ versus ‘not feeling anything but exhaustion/numbness.’ It’s a form of depression, kind of a survivor-need-to-just-get-through-the-day thing that doesn’t leave much else spare. I’m trying to find a bit of ‘me’ time to get me snippets of emotional/mental ‘rest’ spots; but I think I need a week or two of vacation. Maybe three.

                1. No, Shadow. It works on that. I also never felt a need to be happy all the time, but when I was very depressed (turned out medication related but we didn’t know) son recommended this. It didn’t help much, because I had already developed most of the coping mechanisms, but it did help some.

  9. I don’t envy you the coming decisions. I just had to put one of my dogs down on Black Friday, so I know the feeling.

    1. We just put down one of our cats 2 weeks ago. Like stated above. Knowing it was coming. Knowing it had to be done. Knowing there was nothing we could do. Knowing it was time. Does. Not. Help. We just got her ashes back.

      https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/s960x960/80079126_10221437675879733_4600673919848939520_o.jpg?_nc_cat=104&_nc_ohc=Je8YTt1UC6gAQkCCAbGQGbbGKhdavYu2-nksGMGb63VO0ZFFRUaPhIv3A&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=2888d94b8937065369803a7b04789d23&oe=5E83AC19

    2. Sara is at the stage where we just don’t know. She’s happy, likes to eat everything* but breakfast (the porridge consistency and the milk thistle powder makes that a challenge), but keeps losing coordination.

      When it’s time to get the dogs up, it’s always a bit of a gulp to see if she’s going to wake up.

      (*) Half lab, and eating *something* caused liver issues and then seizures. Sigh.

      1. Is she ever outside unsupervised? Sadly, there are some specimens of homo garbagicus who get their jollies from hurting people’s pets and poison is a favorite.

        1. It’s happened; one of the dogs at the town market was poisoned because the ass hated the dog’s owner. She went blind, poor critter.

          However, not an issue for Sara. We stopped letting her run around after too many times getting sick from eating dead critters and/or droppings. She’s in our kennel, supervised, but she’ll still go after anything she considers “food”. If it’s soft enough to chew, she’ll go for it.

          Labs are somewhat prone to seizures to begin with, and when we took her in for the first bad ones (pretty much “I can’t stand, and what’s my name again?”), liver issues came out in the testing. We started with a gee-whiz supplement that could only be done for 2-4 weeks, but the vet authorized keeping her on milk thistle (one of the ingredients in the supplement).

          OTOH, the dain bramage has been done. She doesn’t get as many or (usually) as bad seizures, but it’s not something that gets better. We love her and *try* to keep her out of trouble.

          1. A childhood friend had a “neighbor” who thought it peachykeen to re-enact Death Race on other folks pets.

            Now, if someone found a realistic critter toy at a thrift sale, placed it next to the road over a small pit with a nail-infested 2×4 chunk, and added some leaves as camouflage of the pit….

            Those oversize off-road tires are pricy. He fell for it twice.

            Priceless!

            1. I doubt it; the 2 years younger border collie eats the same mix* (now Kirkland Mature [4 parts], Kirkland Adult [1 part], and Beneful [1 part]) with no adverse reactions. OTOH, the lab-aussie will eat *anything* including poop, aged from just dropped to jerky. I’m busy with a scooper under each dog as they do their business, but I can’t get everything.

              I’d not heard of any issues with food she got as a puppy. The BC is 2 years younger, and the seizures started appearing last year, at age 14.

              She’s also broken teeth, so some old infections might have caused trouble. She now realizes that rocks are not food. Usually.

              (*) Spoiled? Not if you ask *them*.

  10. Excellent advice for all of us.

    Just took one of our kitties to the vet this morning–our 11 year old calico. She’s had odd sores on her lower lip and chin for about a month, and nothing we do has cleared it up.

    So here’s me, this morning, making the hour-long commute to work (with Prue the calico vociferously making her displeasure at the crate AND the car trip known from the back seat), and then spent the next few hours worrying. (She’s technically little brother’s cat, and since he’s gone to college–and is about to get married, and soon-to-be-wife is…not a cat person, mostly on account of the fur that gets shed. We’ll bring her around someday, I’m sure, as in all other respects she is delightful. Anyway, his kitty is now more or less Mom’s cat, but…in truth, she’s a family member, as all the cats and dogs are.) Was it cancer? Did she have to have teeth pulled (after all, 11 years old–so nearing what is considered ‘senior’ in cats, though given how many I know of that live well past 20, I think 11 is the new ‘middle age’ for at least indoor cats). Something worse? I was prepared to chip in on her medical bills, and praying it wasn’t something so serious we’d still have to face making that hard decision soon.

    And then the vet called. (While I was in a work meeting, of course, so she left a voicemail.)

    It was…acne.

    I didn’t know cats could get acne. I stood outside the elevator boggling at my phone.

    But…she’s fine. Very healthy, in fact. Not even in need of a teeth cleaning right now (which is good, because although she is the ‘small’ cat, it is only by comparison to my 30lb monster–she’s still a good 14-15 lbs herself. And the kitties’ size is why I have not yet worked up the courage to attempt brushing their teeth…) She will need an antibiotic (please not a pill, please not a pill) and an ointment, and then after that we just clean her chin with ordinary salicylic acid acne pads, just as if she were a teenage human, heh.

    I’m glad, because I’m not ready to lose another furry family member just now. I’m still not over the loss of Fat Cat’s brother a year and a half ago, and shortly thereafter our elderly schnauzer (whose ghost, I am fairly sure, is responsible for the starving puppy who turned up on my doorstep this summer, and who is currently sleek and in a snit because she got spayed last week and I won’t let her wrestle with the other two dogs until her checkup on Friday).

    Best wishes and prayers for Greebo. It’s always…so entertaining…trying to pour a cat out of a crate who a.) didn’t want to go in there in the first place, and b.) now refuses to leave, because DIDN’T YOU WANT HIM IN THERE, HUMAN?!

    (I gave up with Fat Cat. He’s pretty mellow, but trying to stuff Jabba-the-Cat into a crate–and then nearly losing my arm trying to haul it around, all while praying the crate holds together–just isn’t worth it. He hates cars, but if I let him hunker down on the floor and/or let him shed fur all over a human passenger, he behaves. He swears the entire time, but behaves.)

      1. Our short lived friends remind us what God goes through with us. Our “long” lives just as “grass that withers”.
        The secret is to practice gratitude. To live a life as full of appreciation as possible.
        My only rule in life is:
        It is impossible for me to be grateful enough to my wife of almost 50 years.

        1. Ever since I read Lord of the Rings long ago I’ve tended to compare us to the Elves and Cats/Dogs to Humans/Hobbits.
          From their point of view adults never seem to age or even change much. They are not quite as fleeting (a mere order of magnitude instead of 3+ orders of magnitude) to us as Humans are to the Elves. Perhaps this is why the Elves are so detached from the short lived creatures. It hurts to keep losing friends at what has to seem like a constant rate to the elves.

    1. “whose ghost, I am fairly sure, is responsible for the starving puppy who turned up on my doorstep this summer”

      It is pretty early for kitten season. But I’m sure Silver’s ghost is just waiting to round a couple up for raising. Must be tiny. Must get revenge on the 3 week kitten, now over 4, that was found to *torture her just short of a year before she got sick. Plus her boy needs another cat. She will want to consult the the other 9 cats and 5 dogs who have proceeded her journey.

      * Her perspective.

      1. Fully believing that animals have souls–and that just like human relatives, they sometimes pay us a visit…yeah. My mother is also fairly certain that my cat’s brother–who vanished after slipping outdoors–showed up to say goodbye so we’d stop worrying so much over him. She KNEW there was a cat curled up on her stomach, and it felt like him…and my father felt the same cat curled up against his back.

        I even more strongly suspect Toby’s ghost had a role in Mollywog’s arrival because he had previously, in life, attempted to rescue another dog owned by the piece of garbage that regularly starves his dogs to death. (And we are fairly certain she escaped from him.) Toby, who usually reacted with extreme hostility to strange dogs in his territory, was instantly friendly to this dog. (Toby was also in the midst of one of his Great Escapes–he was an incurable runner–and I had gone pelting after him only to find him just at the edge of our yard with this dog, sniffing him and wagging his stub of a tail instead of going bonkers trying to chase him away.)

        Sadly, we did not know about scumbag at the time, and had put the word out on social media about finding an apparently lost (and starving) dog. We found out fairly quickly–but by then the garbage human had learned we had his dog and we had no choice but to give the dog back…and the dog was dead within 6 months. (And was probably barely more than a year and a half old, and had already had surgery once because his intestines had gotten pinched up on account of NOT BEING FED. The vet threatened the guy, but unless local law enforcement is willing to step up–which ours are not–there wasn’t much he could do either. So far as anyone knows, the guy doesn’t starve the dogs to get his jollies–he starves them because he’s too damn drunk all the time to remember to feed them. Which is still a garbage, scumbag thing to do, so I still loathe him.)

    2. Athena T. Cat gets cat acne. We use mild facial soap, water, and two people (one to gently restrain the cat, the other to scrub and then rinse.) Things improved greatly when we went to all-steel food and water dishes. YMMV, IANAVet.

      1. We do use steel water and food dishes–but I’m going to start washing hers on the regular. She’s pissed at me this morning because first I tried to give her her oral antibiotic (yeah, that’s not happening without at least two people and a large towel) and then put ointment on her chin.

        Once it’s cleared up, we’ll do either the mild soap & water thing, or if hers is persistent mild acne facial cleansing pads 😀

        Which will DEFINITELY take two people and a towel.

      2. We had a cat (Mac) who got chin acne. I think the vets actually had us use human acne pads (e.g. Stridex) on his chin to clear it up. I would NOT do that unless directed by a vet though as there are many things that are far more toxic to felines (e.g. acetaminophen/paracetamol) than to humans and cats clean frantically, Mac in particular was very fastidious even for a cat.

    3. I didn’t know cats could get acne.

      Rascal, AKA Conan the Barbarian, got acne around age 13. As someone else mentioned, the area needs to be clean and the food and water dish need to be metal or glass to keep embedded food particles to a minimum. It can be messy but not fatal. Rascal lived another ten years — or there about.

      1. And thankfully, Prue’s case of it is not severe–at least, not compared to the pictures of severe cases I saw online when researching it, heh. She already has steel dishes, but I’m going to start washing them once a week, and probably evict her more frequently from her little bed on top of the fridge and wash IT once a week. (Though it has so much fur ground into it now, that I may just pitch it and get her a new one that then gets washed once a week, lol.)

    4. Getting Kili-cat into a crate is an interesting exercise. She won’t claw me (though she will nip in warning), but that doesn’t preclude frantic bursts of scrabbling, hiding, sudden cat extension like a stiff, rigid board that won’t fit in the crate door….

      Once at the vet? She’s aware the crate is how she gets home. So after being poured out, she’s trying to get back in, because she’s done, time for us to go!

      1. We had a rescue kitty who was so eerily attuned to body language that he could tell when I THOUGHT about giving him a pill. Vet time was fuuuuun.

        1. DT. She knew when we were going on vacation. When we started boarding them before we packed, she STILL knew. And she disappeared. As in, no sign of kitty.
          As for Pixie, he once tore a hidey hole on the bottom of #1 son’s mattress to hide in.

          1. One family feline (I mention no names but he knows we know) would engulf the kibble from his food dish then regurgitate into the suitcase sitting open for packing.

            Too consistent for mere misadventure.

          2. I’m still frequently amazed at how a cat that is larger than some dogs and weighs as much as a toddler can still make himself practically invisible when he so chooses…

          3. We’ve gone to putting a cheap fitted sheet to protect the underside of box springs. The idea of a special hidden area up there is just too tempting.

          4. I have an old familial pump organ (foot pedals to pump it). At least two cats have realized that a cat can go UP the pedals and into the dead space before the bellows and thence further into the instrument. This has caused immense consternation and one cat panicked my wife when she was 8+ months pregnant such that she briefly thought she was going into labor. If I didn’t love that cat so much I almost would have wrung his scrawny little neck. Instead everybody hugged him and fawned over him.

        2. Our local vet gives out those handy pill-shooters, which help…a bit. I still have to sit on Fat Cat more or less and hold his entire head (thankfully, as large as he is, my hands are huge and I can cover his whole face with one hand) until he swallows it. The damn critter will STILL sometimes hang onto the pill for a full five minutes, and I’ll find it spit out when I was SURE he’d finally swallowed it.

          Thankfully, so far I’ve kept his bladder issues under control (with the very expensive food that, alas, my puppy also thinks is AWESOME) so hopefully we won’t have to do the pill thing again anytime soon.

          At least with liquid you just gotta get it into their mouth…

          I also lament the fact that, for some reason, our cats have no scruffs. At least, not enough to get a grip on. (The dogs, thankfully, have plenty, which is useful when they make a break for it.)

          The dogs will happily eat anything, so the pill pockets work GREAT for them.

          1. The dogs will happily eat anything, so the pill pockets work GREAT for them.
            As our vet put it, “The hardest dog (to pill) is easier than the easiest cat.”

            1. Yeah. I mean, towards the end our old schnauzer was tired of the pills, even in the pill pockets–but mostly he just spat it out, then resignedly ate it when I just gave it right back to him.

              (Though they LOVE the pain pills. Whatever it is they put in Rimadyl for dogs, it’s apparently very tasty.)

              1. Nemo’s had 3 rounds of chemo, and apparently one of the side effects in his case is that it changes his senses of taste/smell so that the things he would take his normal meds in wouldn’t work. So we would have to try new bribes; apparently Underwood Corn Beef Paste is reliably tasty……

                Or he’s a spoiled hound dog gourmet…… 😎

      2. Both our pet carriers, okay really for the cats, dog is too big even for the bigger one, have two doors, one of which is on the top. Thump isn’t a problem, we used them to feed him in one, and use the other one as a bed, because he was to little to go over the “keep dog out of cat’s food” devices. So we used the “too small for dog to get into kitten food” cat carrier for him. He’s no problem. Pippie & Tyke weren’t problem either, hand raised. Tyke went to work with me for a month, before he was old enough to leave at home (bottle fed). Both Pippie went with us when we traveled to in-laws & my folks (in-laws cat Smoky was NOT amused).

        Most the other cats, no matter how tiny, took two of us to get them into the carrier, even through the top. One to control the teeth and front claws, another to control the back claws. Protest the entire drive to the Vets. Pour liquid kitty out of box so the Vet could do exam and give shots. Open box, which kitty now volunteers to get into, glaring at us. Protests started again as the vet office door closed behind us, continuing until we got home. Also, getting them into the box, had better start an hour or two before we had to leave …

        1. My cat loves her travel-cage and the extra-thick fleecy bed. She routinely sleeps in it.

          Now, try to get her in it to go anywhere, and she activates the Cloaking Device and vanishes. If the Cloak fails, she transforms into a small gray Tasmanian Devil-toon.

          And ten minutes after returning home, she is back in that thing like “….what?”

    5. “It was…acne.

      I didn’t know cats could get acne. I stood outside the elevator boggling at my phone.”

      Try using metal or ceramic bowls, for some reason plastic bowls can cause some cats acne.

  11. Strange random thought, in part because I’ve got Catholic Answers in the background and they just mentioned that Christ was both 100% man and 100% God….

    We’re made in God’s image, right?

    Kind of like a video game character.

    So…. the whole video game isekai genera can be used as a Jesus metaphor.

    (I said it was strange and random.)

    1. I was reading Sayers’s Mind of the Maker the other day and it’s actually not that far off some of the bits there… 😀

      1. I have considered comparing God to a programmer who built a whole incredible virtual world, only to have it sabotaged by an enemy. He could have scrapped all the corrupted files and started over, but love for his simulation and a desire to salvage the good things that remained won out. Can’t let the enemy win, right?

    2. Kirito is the isekai Jesus everybody loves to talk all kinds of smack about, but I notice Sword Art Online (SAO) is still one of the big name anime out there.

      Not ashamed to say I stan SAO, and I’ve got a figurine of Asuna on my desk from the SAO Fatal Bullet game.

      1. Some folks just aren’t happy unless they’re miserable, or can make everyone around them miserable.

        I can get my husband to snicker almost every time by “yelling” ‘Switchu‘ or even just ‘Switch!‘.

  12. If you can believe, believe absolutely that G-d himself went through becoming a human and enduring a horrible death FOR YOU, you have to believe you have value. The problem with that in the 21st century of the Christian era, is that even people who are believers have trouble believing with absolute faith.

    Pope Benedict XVI, one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals, wrote in Deus Caritas Est that faith and doubt are inseparable. Benedict is / was a man of tremendous faith…yet he admitted freely that even he had doubts, and that now and then they would rise to bedevil him.

    The key to enduring doubt is to act as if you have no doubts. That’s possible to anyone. It evokes a deeper faith in which doubt is irrelevant, because action supersedes it as a matter of policy. And with that deeper faith comes something few persons have yet experienced, despite all the loose talk about it: honest, properly proportioned self-esteem.

    Say hey hey wake your heart
    And break break break apart
    The walls that keep you from being you
    And walk walk towards the light
    And don’t stop till you live your life
    Like someone died for you

    [Superchick, “This Is The Time”]

    1. There is nearly* nothing about which I lack doubts, but I am confident in my reasoning to have Faith and I have faith in that reasoning so I will not heed those doubts.

      *I have no doubts about totalitarianism/communism/socialism/permutations thereof being E.V.I.L. Their advocates and practitioners are conceivably not bad people, but prolonged exposure to such viruses are injurious to one’s moral health.

      1. The more certain we know the great I AM, the more likely we are mistaken.
        John the Baptist’s father in the Holy of Holies, (and he lives) tells the angel/God, “my wife can’t have a son”. He is sure he knows what is possible, and how God works. The angel/God tells him; Shut Up. He doesn’t speak until John is born.

        “Work out your faith in fear and trembling”, is good working advise of being a disciple, and walking the discipleship road. Be careful what you pray for, your prayer will be answered.

  13. Just sending you good thoughts for Greebo in this adventure. I try to think of medical procedures as adventures instead of horrors– Narrative!!!
    As for taking care of yourself– good idea… I find that I sometimes forget so easily. That’s usually when I need to care for myself the most.

  14. If you believe in G-d, believe you were put here for a reason. There was a plan and a reason for your existence.

    Therein lies a clever dodge: if everyone is “there for a reason”, then the town crook who never did a good thing in his life “had a reason”. Also Hitler.

    The mind dedicated to it’s own destruction is the purest form of “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

    1. I suspect that it’s possible for someone to be less than optimal in fulfilling their purpose, or perhaps to even fail it altogether. Such things would only occur if one was not living their life in harmony with God (or at least as close to harmony as one’s culture and opportunities would allow). Additionally, since we have no way of knowing what someone’s purpose is, we have no way of knowing whether they fulfilled it, how they may have fulfilled it. A famous individual’s purpose may be some seemingly inconsequential thing utterly unrelated to their fame.

      1. I have learned something useful from every boss I’ve ever had, even the bad ones. Sometimes especially the bad ones, who have taught me many things not to do.

        1. Yes! I learned an enormous amount about how not to manage people from a mechanic I worked for. It was an invaluable experience that I hope never, ever to repeat.

    2. The reason for an antagonist in the story is that the protagonist will have somebody to work against and problems to overcome as stimulus to growth.

      TL:DR version: some folks’ reason for being here is so I can punch them in the mouth. Or resist that urge, as the case may be.

    3. I’ll start by saying that I do not actually believe in the argument I’m about to make; I’m playing devil’s advocate.

      You could argue that Hitler’s purpose was to cause Israel to become an actual country, rather than continuing on as a British protectorate. Because it was the Holocaust survivors, by and large, who poured into the area bound and determined to create their own country where the words Never Again could be given teeth.

      1. The historical evidence* supports the argument that He often works through unpleasant means to achieve His ends on this Earth. It is important to consider that He repeatedly says His purpose for us is NOT primarily of this Earth.

        *See, for example, the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. Note Nebuchadnezzar in particular.

        Although Channukah doesn’t start for another two weeks it is worth contemplating in this context.

  15. “He’s mine, I love him and I’m responsible for his care.”

    That last bit seems to be the thing so many people have a problem with. If you can’t keep your word to a cat, what Earthly use are you to anyone else?

    I had the same thing with Spike when he was old. Parents, family, fucking strangers on the street telling me I should have him put down because he was old and funny looking. I told the lot of them that it was my job to look after that dog, and I would do it come hell or high water. They one and all said I was crazy and wasting my money.

    I am not going to show up at the Pearly Gates and tell St. Peter I had my best friend in the world killed because he was old and funny looking.

    1. One of Greebo’s ears was cut in half by city employees, when he was a kitten to signify he’d been fixed (next door neighbor raised money to have the kittens fixed, and then had it done by a free service) the other is pie-edged from all the fights he got into. He stands like a bull dog, and he has the most expressive eyes a cat has ever had, and mostly what they express is “prove it.” Plus he’s midnight black, so a piece of darkness with eyes. BUT he’s mine and I love him. And of all the cats I’ve had, the one who is most attached to, and loyal to me personally.

      1. Darling husband is old and a bit funny looking, battered and scarred and certainly not up to modern pretty-soy-boy standards of masculine beauty. Anyone trying to put him down will have to do it over my dead body!

      2. Our companions of the feline persuasion are all passed now, but I think I can understand Greebo some because of our eldest. His attitude was he was happy to take care of everyone else as long as he had his first claim on my better half. He liked to sleep wrapped around her head. We had a shelf above the computer monitor, and he sat there with paws furled under him without fail while my wife wrote her first novel.

      3. Of the three cats who’ve adopted us, one took me as her person, one took Beloved Spouse as his — but accepted me as serviceable sofa — and the third (the only one of them born within the household) accepted both of us as deities and adopted Daughtorial Unit as kid sister.

        1. Sib and Sib-in-Law’s cats decided that Red 2.0 was an awkward cat with really short fur (fleece baby-wrapper). Red 2.0 decided that she was a cat, and of course the best way to get the attention of the large Two-Foots was to lean against their legs and then butt them with her head.

          1. #1 son was born a kitten. A very large kitten. Pixie said he was his kitten, which is weird, because you know… I’m fairly sure I was the mom.
            He taught that kid how to be a good cat. It seems to have served him well.

      4. I’ve had two black cats (one of them gifted to me by my allergic-to-cats now husband) and both of them were very people-loving cats. I rather miss them each in their own turn, and am sad we can’t have cats.

        I’ll never forget how Rhys stood quietly waiting for the kittens to decide he was part of the landscape, waited for the black kitten in the lot to come close, bend down and gently pick her up, and said kitten immediately wrap around his fist with tooth and claw. Then he walked up to me holding her behind his back and said “You wanted the black one, right?” I turned around, said yes, and he held up his bitten, clawed hand filled with still biting kitten. I made this horrified noise that caught everyone else’s attention, and the gardener who owned the kittens burst out laughing. He was giving them away to anyone who could catch them. That cat later became adored by Vincent, who carried her around like a stuffed toy, and who she never clawed, even when he would grab her by the tail, and haul her close for cuddles and hugs. She would also sleep next to him during the day.

    2. We held on to our big black 19-year-old kitty for several months while his eyesight dimmed, his teeth got nastier, and he was moving like a clockwork kitty, because he hadn’t expressed a wish to die yet. (Or to be more exact, he was still doing his best to live.) When we finally took him in, it was a big relief, since it was my husband’s cat, and the dying had been hard on him, and it was time.

      Naturally, he ended up with a kitten ten days later. He hadn’t even been at the shelter to look at kittens. She just grabbed his attention and forcibly bonded with him.

      1. Cats are like that. I wasn’t looking for Kili-cat; I was picking up something for Oleg’s Gremlin. But she was… insistent that I needed to get her The Bast Out Of There. No, not someone else- you! Yes, you! Get me-ouuuut!

        1. Current pet is Maximum Maxwell the poodle noodle. We picked him out of the whole litter because he was the most insistent he needed to go with us.

          Currently he’s crashed behind my chair, I think we did all right.

      2. Current kitty, Ballerina (named that at the shelter because of how she likes to stand on her rear legs and prance about), got adopted pretty much the same way. Previous cat, Shadow, had passed away very suddenly at age 7 while I was home (vet said she had a massive stroke or heart attack). Shadow, as had her predecessor, Sparky (who lived well over17 years) had basically shown up at the door.

        After Shadow passed, went to the shelter to find out what process was for adopting, figuring that after a couple of weeks would come back and look at adopting another cat. Ballerina had other ideas-I went to take a look at the cats and while looking at one of the upper crates saw a paw stick out from the bottom one. Went down to look. Put my finger out. She grabbed it and pulled it towards her to sniff and then nuzzle. She then turned her head up so that her chin could be rubbed. Needless to say the paperwork to adopt her was completed that day and less than a week later (after they had her spayed) she came home, where she is now appreciative towards, yet demanding of, her staff.,

        1. We went to the shelter to look for Pete who had been kidnapped off our porch (and euthanized.)
          Euclid looked the same from the back. After Pete died, we went back to see — just SEE — Euclid.
          Well, he turned around and acted like he recognized us, like we’d always been his people.
          We tried to resist, but it was a foregone conclusion (the rest of the story is funny, a little spooky, but too long to type when I’m on deadline.)

          1. Don’t know what will happen this time. We’ve never adopted a cat / kitten from the shelter or rescue group. Our last two dogs we’ve gotten from rescue

            **Taylor, English Toy Spaniel, adopted from our Veterinarian.
            **Pepper, Pom/Chi & 1/8 Great Pyrenees, adopted through Wiggly Tails locally, about 8 weeks after Taylor passed away (wasn’t waiting another 19 years, 11 months for a dog) … incidentally she is now my medical alert service animal, 100% not planned that way.

            Cats:
            ** Spooker shows up at back door of rental. Fed. Lived about 18 months.
            ** Feathers shows up in Garage with Spooker … There was a route through de-screened vents from backyard to garage. We fed both. Lived 15 years.
            ** Pippie – litter found in end of log in logyard, log had been moved, was being moved again. Litter rescued. She came home with us (FYI, this was also the day Spooker disappeared, we didn’t know why for months). Eye dropper raised, never took to bottle. She was maybe 2 weeks? Lived 16 years.
            ** Yeller, we weren’t keeping him, dang it. Kids came around wanting to know if he was our kitty. Nope. They promised if we keep him safe until the weekend, they would pick him up and try to find where he belonged. We did, they did spend the weekend looking, no joy. Well kind of … We had him for 18 years …
            ** Tyke – Logyard laying in mud near log remanufacture (where hallow/rotted sections of logs are removed so remainder section is good for export). He almost got stepped on by one of the guys (not intentionally). Everyone heard the kitten crying, everyone checked around very carefully before moving. That is when he was spotted. I picked him up, quickly checked him over, put him in my pocket, we finished up, went back to the work shack, one eye was newly open … Maybe 8 or 9 days old? When he was cleaned up at home, the mud ran red, not his blood. Bottle fed … Lived 16 years
            ** Bugs – age 3 months, shows up in pouring down rain. Lived 3 years (cancer).
            ** Hobs – 6 weeks … “stole from neighbor” 🙂 just kidding, but kind of not. Shows up on our front porch. Check with neighbors except the one next door who is not home … FYI, almost a dead ringer, except “kitten” as Bugs who we’d just lost days before. Tell a 2 year old his kitten hadn’t come back. As it turns out the neighbor, who had two other cats, had to rehome kitten because one of theirs was violently apposed to new kitten. Lived 18 years.
            ** Emerald – 9 week feral from litter under co-workers porch. Lived 18 years.
            ** Chrystal – 12 weeks feral, Emerald’s brother (named when we thought he was a “she”, once he got some weight on him … nope). Lived 15 years.
            ** Silver – 4 1/2 weeks, born under babysitters home. She let the family stay there as long as she could, then they had to go home. Lived 20 1/2 years.
            ** Lil Bit – part of feral litter rescued by neighbors. She is 5.
            ** Thump (or Trouble) – found in bushes, maybe 3 weeks, in commercial area, by Taylor (going to groomers). Dumped? or Abandoned by mom? He is 4.

            https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/17637074_10212758879835256_8378808922838507061_o.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_ohc=mXi-Mc5o6eQAQkBeJf8N04x_0HDayvUzky01KlRv8GvWVpAHXA1DR2xBQ&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=697bf460aaf65efbf16fecf2d14e45b8&oe=5E844B37

            We’ll wait & see. Might, if ghost of kitties gone by, don’t direct one or two our direction, we might have to raise a couple and foster fail.

    3. Over the past almost 20 years we’ve spent thousands of dollars on vet bills for the various generations of Darlin’ Daughters Guinea Pigs.

      You think you got flack for spending money on a dog?

      Many folks just could not understand the lesson (and my belief) I wanted her to learn; that once you take responsibility for a living creature, you do whatever you must to care for it, no matter how inconvenient or expensive in time and money.

      One acquaintance once told me to bring a sick pig over to his place and his python would take care of it for free. Told him that would be fatal for the snake. He stated that no way could a guinea pig harm a snake. To which I responded that when wife and daughter found out what the snake did, I would be obligated to use my shotgun, and that, the snake would not survive.

      Good luck with your furry family member.

      We just lost Shawdoen after 6 1/2 years, long enough to get Darlin’ Daughter through High School and College. She is now being driven crazy by Ewok and Tribble after forgetting about the differences in energy levels between baby pigs and senior citizens.

  16. Just another item from my wisdom file: “The people I’ve met who do great work rarely think that they’re doing great work. They generally feel that they’re stupid and lazy, that their brain only works properly one day out of ten, and that it’s only a matter of time until they’re found out.” – Paul Graham

    1. He recently started writing essays again. There is wisdom in the recent ones.

      In some cases a wisdom that sounds like he has had all too much experience with SJWs while keeping his head down.

  17. Shared in the hope that the mental image will amuse you:

    So we had to take the dearly departed Fat Cat (Maine Coon, 28 pounds; contrasted by Flat Cat, also Maine Coon but 11 pounds) to the vet many years ago. It wasn’t an emergency, but it was Important. At the time, Fat and I shared a similar silhouette due to advanced pregnancy (mine, not his).

    So we got out the carrier, into which he normally trudged in the knowledge that he’d at least get some quality flirting in among the inevitable vet-related indignities.

    Not this time.

    THIS time he eeled around inside the carrier and came out like a cannonball while I was fiddling with the latches. I grabbed him by the scruff somewhere between floor and door and stuffed him in again. He turned sideways and abruptly became about as flexible as a cinderblock. The next time, he braced his hind legs against the sides and pushed back.

    Ten minutes later, we were reduced to standing the cat carrier on its end and pouring him in. Backwards didn’t work, so we had to go headfirst. Which is when I fell over laughing (not being able to double over, at that stage of Baby) at the sight of two wildly waving back feet and a long, fluffy, and highly agitated tail protruding from the cat carrier, and my poor husband had to insert the rest of the cat himself. HE forgave me a few days later, but it took longer for the cat.

    1. He just doesn’t like not being able to supervise me. He KNOWS I’m going to goof off and not write (True today, probably due to the beginning) and therefore, he can’t stand it.

      1. For pills, have you tried those pill-pockets? You take the pill and imbed it in a treat that is designed to hold the pill while they eat, and swallow the treat (and thus the pill).

        1. My trick (having also had feral cats) is to grip ’em by the scruff as high up as possible, and tilt the head back. Mouth perforce opens, pill goes in, and usually happens too fast for the front claws to come up.

          1. We effectively employed a similar method with one of our feline household members (also originally feral), with the minor addition of two more people, shoulder-height leather gauntlets, body armor and a kitty straight-jacket.

            1. Blinks … That actually works? 🙂 I mean, 3 people so garbed is enough? I mean Silver was 7#’s. Never had to give her pills. But clipping her nails was, uh, interesting, yea, interesting … The two remaining ones I can clip their nails, they don’t like it, but I can do it. Started early kitten hood. Let’s talk about applying Flea med … It is a dang topical. A few drops for crying out loud. You’d think I had the dang chain saw going, or gasp, the tub full of water and was going to drop them in. I mean the older cats got sprayed!!! (before topical available)

              1. 3 people so garbed is enough

                The trick is getting the cat in the strait-jacket. For ours we used an old beach towel, sneakily transitioning from snuggle to wrapped up too tightly to move. One person to hold the cat, one to force open the mouth and one to sacrifice fingers putting in the pill.

                Putting antibiotic cream into an abscess was the real challenge.

                1. “one to force open the mouth and one to sacrifice fingers putting in the pill.”

                  🙂

                  Rock/Paper/Scissors, for volunteer to be fingerless?

                  Our kitty we had to take for the iodine treatment we had to give the thyroid pill to her for almost a year before we could take her in. Either that or **quadruple the charge as they’d had to keep her for 6 weeks, not 2. I was 7 months pregnant. Poor dad had to give “his baby” (& make no mistake, he was her dad) a daily pill; by himself. I couldn’t because we couldn’t risk me getting badly *scratched either. Dad didn’t have any help. Dad wasn’t the normal one to “take bad actions” with any of the cats. That was mom’s job … you know, flea dips (then), trips to vet, etc. It was epic.

                  * Note. I was 32, this was our first (& Only) successful pregnancy, in the 10 years we’d been trying. No risks.
                  ** $3600 VS $900 (or 2019 $$$ $8k vs $2k), this was 1990 …

                  Kid was 6 months old when we took cat in for treatment. Only advise was to keep cat away from baby. As cat was (still) upset about said kid, she stayed away from him … our furniture was kitty highway once he started crawling & walking. I think he was two before, all but the youngest, realized he was a tiny human. Honestly, somehow, I think the cats realized he was the reason mom lost her lap, and the lap “kicked them off”.

            2. I’ve done spay and release for years for ferals, Arm-Chaps are the bomb, and heavy winter motorcycle gloves. I’ve had some very determined cats get through them, but they cannot go deep, and I’ve had my shots.

      2. Good Greebo!

        (We’d been saving for a family vacation for several years when Laughing Boy needed orthopedic surgery for bone cancer. Blew it all for 2 more years with our friend. Hope you can get a few more years with yours)

  18. Some years ago, I was involved in a severe accident that left me stunned, and immobile on the ground in sub-zero weather. I was helped by a person, who when I tried to find her, turned out not to exist. I mean it, serious investigation said there was no such person. I said to a friend that I would believe I had been helped by an angel, but what have I done to deserve an angel’s help. My friend slapped the top of my head. “You haven’t done anything to deserve such help. But Michele has, and she loves you.” So I believe I was helped by an angel.

    1. And whether it was your half-stunned hallucination, or a real angel, or some unknown between, that’s a wonderful story.

    2. When I fell in the bathroom (passed out) and got concussion, I heard a voice my totally rambling mind thought was “Dad.” Only my dad doesn’t speak English.
      He encouraged me, rallied me, and finally told me I’d disappoint him if I didn’t survive this (Breathing had become voluntary and HURT.) He told me I had stuff to do, and I would NOT desert a post of honor.
      When I was more clear headed, I realized it was a voice I’d never heard.
      I did hear that voice eventually, including the accent in a recording.
      I won’t say who it was. I have no explanation why I heard that. IF I’d heard the recording before, I’d say my subconscious is insane. But I HADN’T. It wasn’t then as widely available.
      ……. So I got nothing. Except “That ain’t no angel.” But the Author works in mysterious ways, and I will not critique.

      1. God offers gifts. A true gift is given without thought of any return. So it is only, prepare to open your hands to receive. But we think we need to deserve a gift, and so close our hands.

        I have had the benefit of multiple divine appointments. There is a God. He loves me. I frustrate Him. My failure does not stop the Love, Joy, Peace and Hope, (the quad infinities of advent).

  19. So at thanksgiving dinner my roomate’s mom (RIP) asked about our cats, and roomate’s wife was like ‘there’s only one cat now’ and i ended up explaining why and then lamenting that i didn’t catch trouble’s sickness and start doing the Uber thing earlier i could have treated it and she’d still be with me… and his dad was like ” you shouldn’t spent money that way you can just get another cat…”

    Not a cat person, or clearly has never had a cat that he was that close to.

    (and yeah, my roomate’s mom died suddenly the Sunday after thanksgiving)

  20. Tru may, in fact, not be a cat, judging from currently available evidence, though she is packed in a small cat package.

    She went in for spaying today. The approved by Trudy method of car transport is to sit quietly curled in a child’s lap. Vacuums are scary, car rides are nap time.

    She is, however, wearing a cone of shame, because licking sutures is less necessary than she thinks it is. Though it’s hard to keep it on her.

    5-6 months old, 4lbs 2oz, in good health. Lost her collar again, because it’s still too big.

    1. Greebo would probably okay being held. It’s just that we never tried it when he was little, and no one wants to try it when he is (when healthy) a 16 lb ball of battle scarred muscle.

    2. I keep a stash of collars. Thump takes them off. Neighborhood has little reflective cat collars stashed all over. Current one has been on weeks now for a change. Probably just jinxed it … I swear thought about a blue tooth tracker so I can find the dang collars.

  21. We had a cat that was hard to get out of the cat carrier at the vet. We ended up just disassembling the carrier so we could lift him out. Much easier than trying to get him into it. He was fully equipped with the six-foot long extensible rigid legs used to block going anywhere he didn’t want to go.

    1. We do that with Athena T. Cat. Undo the latches, lift off the top, doctor the cat ball as needed, replace lid, fasten latches, take home. As a loud, very loud, monologue resumes the instant the door to the V-E-T- office closes.

  22. Had to learn this lesson the hard way, too many times. You have to remember to take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.

    Just, for many of the Odds, the rebounding noise of people’s displeasure that we weren’t Normal still bounces around the inside of our skulls.

      1. And the only way we could get anyone to play with us was to be useful to them. Not to us, not to we, but to them.

        Useful as a foil. Useful as an enforcer. Useful as a bank. Useful as a sex toy. Useful, useful, useful. Being useless is the gravest of all sins, because nobody would play with us anymore.

        I love this world.

        The people in it, at times, make it hard…

          1. No, YOU guys are all the imaginary ones!

            This was seriously a topic of discussion among some of my friends in college. I don’t remember how it started (I know I didn’t instigate it, or suggest myself as the center of it), but some of my friends started to seriously discuss the idea that everyone was a figment of my imagination.

                1. I’m glad I’m not the only one with a bunch of imaginary internet friends. It would probably be better though if I didn’t talk about you all in those terms, “Well, Sarah, one of my imaginary internet friends, said….”

                  I get the strangest looks!

                  1. The usual costume works that humans use to appear as centaurs certainly will not hold – not only are the rear legs not truly biological nor fully functional (never mind other parts, ahem), the front legs do not truly support the longback, which is more worn as belt and harness arrangement.

                    I have said that should some terrible injury result in the removal of my legs, I’d like a centaur (despite the balance being easier for a more.. arachnid.. form – also centaurs are generally found to be less creepy than spiders) mobility setup. Living arrangement would need to change anyway, and it would take care of a lot of short and medium distance transport issues if done right.

        1. I got some miles out of only being useful on my terms– which I just realized is a not bad mental place for those Mysterious Sages that hide out from the world and have to brave the quest.

          THE MOUNTAIN OF SOCIAL BARRIERS!!! (dum-dum-DUM!)

        2. We had that happen at the last church we attended ($SPOUSE watches the Baptist service by Dr. Stanley, though.) I’d been doing a lot of work around the church, and helping with the service. Attendance was down to the single digits, and money was tight.

          We left because reasons largely because health; AFIB chest pains were getting obnoxious, and that’s a sign my body gives when the stress was too much.

          A couple months later $SPOUSE got a call telling us of a funeral. The money quote from the call “We [the women in the congregation, such as it was] want you to come back; nothing’s getting done.” $SPOUSE said she’d pass, and would tell me. No.

          A couple years later, that church closed down, and TPTB sold the property to another local congregation. More power to them.

        3. It’s bad when your “friends” treat you this way. It’s worse, trust me, when your family treats you this way.

          And the only difference in the workplace is they’re more honest about treating you this way.

        4. Dang. I still try to be useful. Kind of forgot it was because nobody knew what they were supposed to do with me.

  23. I listen. Can’t help it, in a lot of ways-Dad’s best efforts to try and keep me from going too far into my own head involved him training me to listen. To be aware of the world around me. To notice things.

    I am in an open office that is 70+% female. I ride public transit.

    I also hate anything that covers my ears up.

    There are conversations that I wish I had never heard.

    And, there are conversations that tear at my heart, because I wish I was there. All the imaginary friends in the world can’t help save you when you miss human contact.

  24. “was being made aware of how little I value myself. And also that this is normal. (Heck, it’s probably evolutionary.)”

    “look after total strangers than they do themselves.”

    “I think devaluing yourself and what you do is evolutionary — at least for people worth a damn — because throughout the long history of our species, adults were usually responsible for the survival of weaker members of the tribe.”

    My dear Sarah, everything you said is true. It’s also what RAH was saying in the second half of his Annapolis address. It’s both the secular basis of human morality, and embodied by the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

    And yes, it’s often hard to remember that you can’t take care of anyone when you’re the one needing care.

  25. A little Rudyard Kipling for you.

    “There is sorrow enough in the natural way
    From men and woman to fill our day;
    But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
    Why do we always arrange for more?
    Brothers & Sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.”

  26. This: Or it might simply be to be there at that crucial moment someone else needs you, which in turn allows them to be there when someone else needs them, which–

    Reminded me of this: Clarence: Every man on that transport died! Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry.

      1. A perfect God uses us imperfect people in His Perfect Plan. This is one of the great paradoxes. It is one of the many reasons I am impressed by God. God invites us to join His plan. All we have to do is listen.

    1. One of my ex-coworkers has 2 or 3 Great Danes of various ages. Small/medium fluffy ankle biter, and Parrots. Mostly parrots gotten from estates. They don’t have 2 legged human variety children. Birds don’t get to go with them on walks. Dogs do.

    2. Maybe not with cats. As a co-worker of mine found out when her African Grey learned how to meow.

      “Greebo?”
      “Yeah, Havey?”
      “She got a cat that flies……”

      Alison’s two furballs were TERRIFIED of that parrot.

  27. Didn’t get a chance yesterday, but that image of Greebo in his cage reminds me of the Monster in the Darkness from the Order of the Stick webcomic.

  28. Hi, Sarah..I’ve been reading your for a long time, courtesy of Glenn Reynolds, and gained so much from it! Thank you, for being you, and sharing yourself with so many of us lurkers. And thanks to so many of your amazing commenters! You guys are really impressive. Like to Like I expect. Get well, Greebo!

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