Posted by: johnhourihan | July 12, 2013

Republican cats die of thirst

At times we find a short-term way out of the dark, only to see it was the wrong long-run solution. It is possible to do everything right according to your skill set and knowledge, and still get a bad result. It isn’t wrong. It’s just life. What’s wrong is when you realize what you are doing isn’t  working but won’t change the plan out of pride or partisan thinking.
And this, of course, makes me think of Butch the cat.
I was 4 years old when we moved to the farm. Well, it had been a farm when we bought it, but we never really worked it past a subsistence garden and a few chickens, so I’m not sure what you would call it. It was where we lived.
Nothing much else. Just home.
One warm summer night, my father and I took a ride in my uncle Con’s big black Plymouth to a real farm where we picked up Butch.
He was a pure black Tom who had, only days before, grown out of kittenhood into what might pass for a rather scrawny cat. I got to hold him on my lap on the half-hour ride home in the dark back seat of the ’48 sedan.
We rumbled down the blackened gravel driveway to the house and parked in front where we usually played kick the can. Uncle Con shut the headlights and my old man said, “Grab him by the scruff of the neck, like this. Don’t let him get away or we’ll be out here all night looking for him. Hold him tight.”
I did.
Only a few steps inside the yellow light of the kitchen my mother met us and scowled. “Don’t  hold him like that. Cradle him.” She showed me how to wrap one arm beneath the cat and one over the top, holding both shoulders with one hand.
“He ought to get rid of the rats,” my father said, convinced.
“He’s barely bigger than the rats,” my mother contradicted.
It seems there were always two sets of truth at my house.
“Johnny, give him a drink of water.”
He had no name yet, just him, or it, or the cat, and since this was my first pet, I had no idea how a cat drank water.
I knew horses in the cowboy movies drank from a trough, which we didn’t have, and I knew a glass was a good bet for humans, but cats appeared to have no lips.
They continued into the living room — Sweet Genevieve with a cup of tea, Jack with a coffee.
I stood in the dark of the pantry, next to the kitchen sink.
Cats wouldn’t drink hot water I thought. I climbed up to the counter dragging Butch up beside me. He seemed to trust me and sat next to my leg licking up some spilled canned milk.
“OK,” I thought. This must be how.
I grabbed the cat by the scruff of the neck, turned him over directly under the faucet, face toward the spigot, and turned on the cold water.
There was a screech, and the blood oozed from a long scratch on my forearm. I turned off the water and let go of the cat, who literally flew by my face, bounced off the front of the stove, scurried into the living room and under the couch.
Everyone looked directly at me sitting in the dark on the counter cradling my wounded right arm.
“I guess he don’t want any water.” I said as both my parents laughed uncontrollably.
I watched in the early 2000’s as, for eight years, the Republicans, with “President W” at the helm, tried to do the right thing by our country only to watch it fall apart.
Then, while the new president tried to clean the environment, end a war, close an illegal prison and rebuild our economy, all the Republicans could say about any of it is, “That’s not the way to do it.”
I have to say, the way we had been doing it for eight years hadn’t worked all that well. Then, vor a term and a quarter they tried to get stuff done by obstructing anything the new president tried to do, and that didn’t work either.
It is time for them to turn off the water, get out of the kitchen, and let someone else come up with an idea of how to give the cat a drink of water before it dies of thirst.
Even a four year old knows when something isn’t working.



  1. It’s sad but unlike 4yr olds-adults of all kinds are ruled by false pride. Adults can’t admit they are still learning.Even tho they say live and learn they don’t.

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