Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year's Parable

Sashka, a.k.a. Sexy Sadie
For Oleg

I have been spending a lot of my time of late, trying to catch our new cat Sashka to administer the "cat scratch" medicine to her. Apparently, humans can get infected with it (Bartonella), and it is especially bad for people with compromised immune system. They say politics ain't bean bag. Well, try treating a cat to a 21-day regimen of antibiotics! Besides, I have only limited opportunity. For one, I do not  want to trap her while she is sitting on my wife's lap, which is what having a cat is all about. There has to be at least one human in the house that a cat can trust... Given the situation, I have reconciled myself to Sashka seeing me as a cat menace -- as long as she gets cured.

Yesterday I was a abject failure: I could not catch Sashka. She would just slip though my fingers whether I was on my knees, playing a quadruped, or flat on my stomach like a reptile to squeeze under the bed (her favorite hiding place), or crouching nonchalantly on the floor, pretending I just was looking for a companion to play with a birdie toy. To no avail. As the vet said, calico cats are very intelligent creatures.

This morning, I woke up early, feeling diminished by my inability to outsmart a calico cat. I moped about the house unable to concentrate on all the things I had to do and deadlines I had to meet -- until I realized I must change the political situation in the house and reverse the power balance. I bided my time, then moved stealthily and trapped Sashka in Vicki's study (Vicki was still asleep in the bedroom, protecting her street cred in the feline world). With the door shut, Sashka darted hither and thither, gave long howls of feline distress when cornered, but as soon as I caught her by the scruff of her neck, she grew limp and submitted... Images of the SS lording it over in the Warsaw Ghetto, the death camp prisoners, the old Jew in Isaac Babel's story who grew limp as Cossack Kudrya carefuly slit his throat -- they flickered in my brain, as I hauled the resigned Sashka to the bathroom counter. A syringe had been prepositioned there earlier... Woe to the Enlightenment, woe to modern medicine and the ambiguities of animal humanism!  Unclenching her teeth with the tip of a plastic syringe, I emptied 0.9 mill of Azithromycin into her pinkish mouth... She swallowed without gagging.

Duty discharged, I petted her as gently as I could, whispered sweet love into her perky ears, then let go. She bolted like..., well, like  a scaredy cat, and is now hiding somewhere in the house, under a piece of furniture downstairs... No doubt, she thinks I am Hitler. Or Stalin.

Here, then, is the feline allegory of Obamacare for you! Or as the French say, tirez vos conclusions  --draw your own conclusions!

Happy 2014!