This has just been an emotionally exhausting week. It started on Saturday with my sister’s father-in-law being life-flighted to UPMC after a horrible motorcycle accident. He’s 65, and was just driving along with others in a rally when a car passed really close and really fast, scared the hell out of him, and he took a horrible spill. If your gut instinct is “He’s 65, wtf is he doing on a motorcycle?” save yourself- that was my reaction, too. Regardless, he is a good man, and had some very traumatic injuries, and will probably be in a medically induced coma for another week. We all have our fingers crossed that he will come through. Until he comes out of the coma, it is all just guessing games.
Them, we had the dad scare yesterday. Fortunately, he is doing fine- well enough that he is heading to Louisville to judge Science Fairs tomorrow.
Then, today, when I got to the vet, as I pulled in, I saw my good friend Joyce sitting in the grass, holding her dog, sobbing. Joyce is my barber (and she is a barber and not a hair stylist or whatever fancy terms you kids use these days- when I go there I am the youngest client by 30 years, and she still uses the old timey powders and smell good stuff), and she is also a huge animal lover. She basically runs the animal rescue in my county, is always organizing rescues, going to PetCo or PetSmart, taking dogs from the pound to find their forever homes. Her house is filled with about 15 rescue dogs, and they are always the saddest cases- the old dogs, the blind dogs, the ones with sicknesses. She’s about 50 and only about 5’0″ tall, but has a heart the size of the Empire State building- she reminds me of Evelyn Bridges and the wonderful women at CAAR. At any rate, even though she has all these rescue dogs, she has her favorites who were her pets of choice, not rescues, and today she was there to put one of her favorites, Poo’ Bear (a little bichon frise/lapdog mix). Poo’ Bear had a brain tumor and was having multiple really violent seizures a day, and Joyce really had no choice. I sat there with her for a little bit with Lily and Rosie, and it was just heartbreaking watching this really sweet woman sitting there crying. When she came out after it was over, she just looked broken. I called her earlier this evening to check on her, and she seemed to have cheered up a bit, and said she actually felt relieved, because it was just horrible for her watching Poo go through the seizures. That made me feel a little bit better, and I don’t know if she was just trying to put up a brave front or if she meant it, but deep down, I know she won’t sleep much tonight.
I’m looking at this post as I ramble on, and three thoughts stick out- I’ve dedicated twice the column inches to talking about some dog none of you know than two actual human beings, one of whom is my father. The second is that it is just really weird how animal people seem to sort of find each other. The third is that while I was always a dog person, it really is amazing how much Lily and Rosie have made me love dogs more than I ever thought I would.
At any rate, anything positive you can think of, put it in the comments. I sure could use it. I’ll start by stating that all three of my piglets are skinnier than they were last year- Tunch even lost a pound! So having the fence and being able to romp around at will has really made a difference.
Whether times are good, or times are bad; Remember……………
this too shall pass.
You’re a good man, John Cole. Good on you for all you’re doing, and please let Joyce know that we are pulling for her and Poo Bear.
I’ve been waiting for an open thread to ask this:
Does anyone else feel like we’re living in a society that’s devolved to some weird kind of steampunk world? By which I mean, we’ve descended to an economic society dominated by the rich, like a repeat of the late 19th C. Gilded Age — it’s a Second Gilded Age, but with computers.
That there’s a lot to digest, Cole. Very sorry about your sis’s FIL–he has a tough mountain to climb.
And yes, pets can drill into parts of our psyche we didn’t even know were there. They pay for their kibble (or caviar, as it may be) many times over. Heck if I know how they pull that trick off.
Mine (Dalmatian) has gone from football-shaped to zeppelin-shaped after her food bin feeding frenzy last night–but lordy, the gas.
An old saying says everyone should walk around with two pieces of paper, one in your right pocket and one in your left. On the one sheet you should write “I am but dust and ashes” and on the other you should write “For my sake the world was created”.
Random thought for the day.
John, you are just such a good person. I only wish I gave a fuck about pets so someday I could meet you and have something to talk about. You truly inspire me.
Am searching for zombie Teddy Roosevelt. We need some trustbusting and big-stick carrying.
I’m thinking, I’m thinking …
Oh, ooh, I thought of something: Democrats have probably taken control of the WI State Senate.
As I said in the previous thread: this is why I watch this show every day. It’s big-hearted, funny, sad, and fucking real.
Your FIL is in our thoughts, and your dad, and all of the good people who make the world a better place on purpose.
You need a nice glass of red wine, John.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire hunter
This too shall pass.
Grief is the price we pay for love. And love is worth every tear.
Zombie Teddy Roosevelt would beat Zombie Reagan to the ground with big fucking stick. The he’d beat Zombie Ayn Rand with a railroad tie.
Been a long time since I shared this, but this tribute to my old sad case means a lot to me. Hope somebody likes it.
Cole, why don’t you come down to Chicago for an evening while you’re in Madison. I have a bar in mind you’d love. It’s like staying home but there is so much more to eat and drink.
Vampire SQUID Hunter. That’s what we need.
John, I hope this puts a smile on your face: : in the late 1980’s I was on the 1 train going home on the Upper West Side and the train got stuck for a while. A man, reading Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent (about two thirds into it), starting making some racist comments about the people working for the NYCTA. As I was getting out at the next stop, I leaned over and said “his wife did it” and walked away.
@JGabriel: I’d buy a ticket.
Worrisome account on how Obama is losing the base
Stuck in the Funhouse
A few days ago, my ailing father called to tell me he had just got out of the hospital from having a blood clot removed from his brain. This is in addition to having serious heart disease, and a few other ailments. He is 80, and we spent an hour talking like it could be our last discussion. Trying to sort out our troubled past of father son relations. His greatest fear, after having become religious a few years ago, is whether he’ll make it into heaven after being a lifelong ruthless business man republican and frequent asshole. There was a time, when I didn’t want to hear such shit, but now I just want him to go with a sense of peace and without any grudges on my part. It took a while for me to get to that point, but have been there for about a decade or so. And I wasn’t lying when I told him I loved him, and forgave him from any shortcomings on his part, while noting my own as well. I am grateful for this state of forgiveness, and the ability to acknowledge the man had his good points as well, and I can fully realize that in his own blustery way, he loved me the best he was able to. So I wait for that phone call, as I sensed he could sense the end was near.
@hells littlest angel:
That’s just the Balloon Juice way of saying, “Hello!”
Well, Karl Rove has made it no secret, both in oral and written statements, that he worships William McKinley (and his advocate/advisor, businessman/kingmaker Mark Hanna).
Just Some Fuckhead
That’s terrible about your sister’s father-in-law. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my dad took me through the “motorcyle” ward at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. It was pretty fucking horrifying.
I woulda prolly blocked the whole thing but there was a guy there whose parachute didn’t open and he landed on his feet, and impacted his legs up into his body cavity and was about 4 inches shorter as a result. I always thought that was pretty amazing.
So, you know, I actually have something positive for the thread. :) Context: I had to put down my cat Suli on March 20th. I talked about it here a bit. Well, it was awful, of course, but one unexpected upside was that her “sister”, Cheyenne has really flourished since then. Some of it is that I love on her more, of course, but I think Suli was just such a dominant cat that Chey kept hidden lots. Now she lays on the floor near me at my desk, and plays on the bed, chasing the laser, and is brave enough to meow for scritches. It’s been a real gift to see her come out of her shell – at 16 no less. :)
Don’t feel odd or anything about writing more on the dogs than the people. I mean, it certainly doesn’t mean you *care* more about the dogs than about your family, and there was just more to say about Joyce and the animals, is all.
Hm, something positive. My own life is pretty difficult these days so this isn’t easy, but let’s see…well, don’t know if this has already been mentioned here but another judge has said DOMA is unconstitutional http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/06/06/495904/another-federal-judge-strikes-down-doma/ I know nothing about law, but I am hopeful all these rulings bode well for the end of DOMA and the legalization of same-sex marriage in the not-too-distant future. Homomentum!
Good one! I always think of those too late.
John: Hope your sister’s father in law makes full recovery and I am glad your father is okay. And give Joyce a hug for all of us animal lovers; it sounds like she has as big a heart as you do and isn’t nearly as much of a misanthrope.
You are a good man, John Cole. Your parents should be proud of you.
@BethanyAnne: The same thing happened with my mother’s cats, a brother and sister she got as tiny kittens. The brother was completely dominant and more or less restricted his sister to a few areas of the apartment. When he died at age 19, the sister blossomed and lived for another three years as an outgoing and confident cat.
That’s what I mean. Karl Rove, with his McKinley love, is just like the big bad (well, okay, maybe the big bad’s minion) in a steampunk novel — or comic book for that matter.
I honestly don’t get people who, rather than learn from the mistakes of history, want to repeat those mistakes — ’cause they think they’ll come out on top.
Now that’s a show! I’ll be his second, holding a spare railroad tie. Always kinda liked the smell of creosote, and bits of Ayn’s pate would stick to it nicely.
Oh dear, we have quite the miserable troll on this thread. Lets ignore it.
@stinkbait: Why don’t you just beat yourself into a coma with a cast iron skillet? For the benefit of all.
some gal tried a new marinade tonight. black bean sauce, ginger, garlic, and something something.
the kids ate those bbq pork cutlets like it was their last meal. I had the coals just right, and she had rice and mixed vegetables and some pineapple clices. a happy crew and then they played, and bathed, and went down without a fight, nodding off to Madagascar 2.
some nights the simplest joys come with a full belly and Spiderman versus Princess Supergirl HoneyBunny playing nice.
and nothing beats membership in the clean plate club.
/simple and stupid and ultimately pointless moment of temporary bliss.
Give Joyce my heart, Cole.
Never gets easier.
Just Some Fuckhead
@stinkbait: Is that you, eemom?
Do you use the same conversion factor as cat years? If so I could certainly stand to lose a Tunch pound or two.
Anyone who needs cheering up should scroll down to the Tunch pic post and read the comments there. Ya’ll are hilarious!
@stinkbait: I smell a Derf!! What’s up you Canadian Harper bootlicker?
I think you mean “Metrosexual Black Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”.
Good wishes for everyone’s recovery and continued health.
John, why don’t you invite the lady [Joyce?] over for dinner? Make her feel better. Talk about the loves of her life.
B-b-but, that’ll leave you heartless!
What are ya gonna use to pump yer blood? You get one of those electronic hearts, like Cheney?
is that joyce myers, former 1975 Miss West Virginia beauty queen????????
I suck at positive comments. So… uh… cheer up, at least you don’t have flesh eating bacteria eating you alive.
@stinkbait: I believe you have successfully caught stink!
I think I see what you’re trying to do there. Let me second the motion.
It’s even worse than the old Gilded Age–at least the 19th century robber barons gave us libraries and railroads.
Sarah in Brooklyn
Fwiw your animal posts are the highlights of my blog day. I hope all the humans and animals in all of our lives are healthy and loved.
Here’s something to look forward to: Raven’s foulmouthed reaction to that sentiment. ; )
@Randinho: That was perfect, just perfect. I like how you think.
John, I hope your father continues feeling better and better. I hope your sister’s FIL gets well and the healing starts happening soon. I hope Joyce is able to remember the good times with her dear pet and continues helping other animals. All of you seem to be good people.
Holy moly. I just want someone who kicks ass.
Well, let’s see here: first we have a gilded age. Then we have a great depression as a result of the excesses of that age. Then we write a bunch of laws to keep that from happening again. And then we get rid of those laws. So what happens?
Yup! New gilded age!
@Just Some Fuckhead:
called it. good one
Well, I left a long comment on the previous thread about the horrible week I am having, one thing after another. I don’t know if that makes you feel any better to know that it just sucks all over or not. FWIW
Man the Obama’s handing out absence excuse notes like hot cakes!
Now Michelle O is getting in on the act
One of my dogs had a mast tumor and went through chemo — part of it was in her mouth and the alternative was sawing half of her jaw out — four years ago. The tumor in her glands responded to the chemo, but the one in her mouth didn’t. She had a couple of teeth pulled last week and given the opportunity, the vet, with our agreement, cut out the mouth tumor.
Report came back yesterday. Only one mast cell dividing in the tumor. Vet didn’t get it all, but our stray 5 or 6 year old Chow Chow is more or less cancer free.
We’re all happy.
I hope for happy endings to all of your family’s troubles.
Sisters FIL. I am almost his age and have been riding for 45 yrs. I used to like driving but now it’s just a chore. But riding? That’s the most natural thing. It makes you feel comfortable in your skin. You have that with your pets. It just feels right. I’m lucky to have that as well. Your friend has it in barrel fulls.
You have three pets who adore you, your dad is out of the hospital, and your sisters FIL made it to the hospital where he’s getting the best care available. Things may not be perfect, but there’s a path for them to get better.
For a crazy hillbilly with 3 wild animals, dancing friends, and a family who is destined to eat half of the world’s food supply at your BBQ’s and dinner get togethers at least 3 times a day; you are incredibly endearing.
A real John Cole human counterbalance to Andrew Sullivan and Pierce Morgan. If we ever lose you and yours we will obviously be England.
Our rescue cat can’t figure out how we know when the water is coming out of the faucet. He’ll go and sit and watch, and then just be amazed that we come over just when the water is about to come out. You can see him think, “What am I missing?”
But then, he thinks we’re generally weird. A cat day starts whenever the cat gets up from sleeping, so to him, we stay awake for a whole slew of cat days, and then when we finally sleep, that’s also for several cat days. We have completely crazy schedules to him.
And finally, he can’t figure out why I go into that room on the other side of the apartment door, and then stay there for hours before coming back where he is. That makes no sense at all. Why wouldn’t I want to be where the totally fun cat is?
But he still loves us. There might be a little pity in it, given how dim we must seem to him, but he’s very polite about it.
As long as we get the NHS out of this equation. Then the sacrifice might be worth it.
On the internet, everyone can tell you’re an asshole.
Another Halocene Human
@JGabriel: There was great intellectual ferment in the African-American community in the gay 90’s in the face of crushing legal defeats. History does seem to be rhyming. Also, too, BO would look awesome in one of those Jane Austen-era waistcoats with ruffles. Probably wrong era (and I hate top hats) but just saying. As long as we’re talking steampunk. Picturing Michelle in crinoline now.
Another Halocene Human
You’d owe me a keyboard, had I been drinking anything at the time.
@BethanyAnne: sorry for the loss of one of your cats and I am glad to hear that your other cat is better. That is also what happened to my cats. I had to make that horrible decision for my cat #1 last year, and now cat #2 is so much friendlier and now loves attention all the time.
Everyone keeps asking me when I will get another cat to keep her company, but even though they were best cat buddies and she probably misses another cat sometimes, I think she is really enjoying being the solo cat.
Just that you have created an amazing community here John. This is what is good and meaningful that I can share. Been having one of those weeks myself so being here makes a difference for me.
/+ a lot of pain meds
I amused myself so much with my Ghostbusters joke but all I got was crickets. Other people were funny too.
Several years ago one of my cats bit a tech at the vets and even though her rabies shots were up to date I had to quarantine her at home for ten days. She has now passed and remembered fondly. Most of them are pretty docile there but The Muffin (Tunch sort-of look alike) is pretty scary.
Sending good thoughts to your barber Joyce and your sister’s FIL. Motorcycles are pretty scary, mostly because of cars, but any one of us could step out into the street and be hit by a car or a stray bullet or a falling tree (that actually happened to a friend and I as we drove to work one morning years ago) so I’m not in favor of cutting back our activities because of age. Of course I’m old so I would say that.
The cat and dog blogging are why I read this blog. Mostly. I love your rants, I love that you cause me to do belly laughs at least once a week or so. I enjoy most of the commenters. I also like that I get most of my talking points about politics here. Commenter arguments often help me figure out where I stand on issues although I start out pretty lefty and soshulist.
By the way, I bought my bumper stickers and just have to remove the residue from the old ones so I can put on the new ones. Photo to follow per your orders.
And now I need to drop everything to open the door for Bubba–he’s the cat that often demands to be let in the front window (It’s without a screen so I can easily let them in and out) then walks across the living room to the door, looking over his shoulder to make sure I’m following instructions, and tells me to let him out.
Please keep this blog running till I die–I’m old so it won’t be forever. And I’ll leave instructions for my executor to send you a bottle of Laphroaig. I think this about does it for good thoughts. I’m going for my glass of wine.
So I don’t know if this is what you meant by positive, but I have been sitting here hoping that your barber friend, as soon as she is able, will focus less on the grief of her loss and more on what a great life she gave that dog. Maybe you can nudge her into giving herself the credit she is due for making a wonderful difference in that dog’s (and so many others, too) life. Because what she has done (and is doing) for her many critters is a big, huge, wonderful, very positive thing.
And if that isn’t what you meant, well, I came home from work today – and getting a day of work is a big positive all by itself – and Juno went absolutely spazzy nutty with excitement at my return. And that felt pretty damn fine.
I’ve just realized the silver lining of my horrid week. It has enabled me to participate in here more, since I am having to couch it full time. Usually the volume is too challenging for me, or I can’t set aside the time. Cheers!
Your father in law, whether he makes it or not, was doing what he loves. People look at motorcycles the wrong way. You can sit at home all day safely watching T.V. and still fall in the bathtub and die.
I rode all the way to Costa Rica and back by myself in the rainy season. Many times I came close to crashing on horrible roads in blinding rain and most certainly could have died. 9,000 miles, 6 countries, & 6 months without speaking Spanish.
The point is you only live once. If Motorcycles aren’t your thing that’s fine. But, he loves them and he’s already 65. Unless you have some misconception life is forever, you have to acknowledge you only get one life.
One Incredible Journey
I’m only 39, but I lived more in that 6 months then most people will in their entire lives.
My point again is at some point you have to forget about the risks and just do what you love. If he makes it great. If not, he died doing something that made him happy instead of just sitting on the couch and running out the clock.
If your 22 with young kids, a motorcycle probably is a bad idea. But, at some point can’t you just say I have lived long enough and I will do what I love until I finally pass. That idea never comes to fruition in people that live their lives in fear.
5 minutes on my bike feels like 20 years on the couch watching predictable, ridiculous television.
Hope he’s OK, but if not he truly felt alive until the moment he crashed.
I can’t explain it any other way.
@Stuck in the Funhouse: I don’t know if I can come to that same place with my mom. I finally, after so many years, told my sibling that I knew that my mother basically killed my father all over making a 60 year old man who had already had a heart attack and a family history of heart attacks mow the grass in front of her stupid shop at noon in July in Houston before the favored son’s wedding. Just to impress the rest of the family.
My dad died that day. The wedding went forward the next day. And for years I held it inside. I knew that bitch killed him. She still doesn’t understand how that made me feel about her.
Another Halocene Human
@clayton: Without getting too deeply into my family history, I can relate.
Oh, and narcissists never get why others react badly to their behavior.
Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.)
I know this is mostly about pets, but it is an open thread, and there’s something I’ve been wondering about off and on for a long time now, and I just thought of it, and it’s this: All this weeping and wailing about “greedy” public worjer unions and “outrageous” pensions and how “we can’t afford” to pay these people all this money, does this make any sense?
I don’t know much about money, but I always understood pensions to be money that workers paid into all the while they had worked, and then they have some income after they retire. I don’t know whether maybe sometimes whoever they work for also puts money into the fund or account or whatever it’s called; but unless I’m far wrong here, the workers themselves shell out a good chunk of it; maybe all of it, I don’t know. So if that’s true, then isn’t that money already their money, at least some of it, anyway? How is this any different from some Republican asshole governor or mayor or somebody telling a state worker, “Hey, you have too much money in your bank account. It isn’t fair when the state is struggling to pay its bills. So we’re just going to have to take all that money from your account. If you don’t like that, you’re only being a selfish asshole.”? Or, “Well, I know your uncle just died and left you a few thousand dollars, but that’s too much for you to inherit when we’re bleeding money here, so we’re going to just take that off your hands, you greedy, scumsucking leech!”?
I might be missing something here, and if I am, then, by all means, somebody straighten me out, but how is what these Republicans are doing anything other than outright theft?
good thoughts for your friend Joyce and for all that she does to rescue and care for dogs.
tbogg usually provides a smile and lol and this post has a great video of his doggies
@Another Halocene Human: It means a lot to me that I’m not the only one dealing with this. You could not have gotten it more right.
I would write more, but it just pisses me off more.
I rode a bike years ago, but not anymore. These days I see more old guys than kids riding motorcycles, especially Harleys- kids can’t afford them. I also see more old riders as patients in the ER I work in- invariably (if they’re conscious) they blame the person in the car, which is hard to believe is always the case considering some of the stupid shit I see bikers doing on the road. Sunday I took care of a near-60 helmetless rider, the first head injury I’ve seen as a result of a rider enjoying the privilege that Michigan’s new no-helmet law afforded him.
Generally speaking, I’d be happy if they all disappeared from the road. Harley-Davidsons leave the dealership too fucking loud, and most riders (many of them the same people who would be bitching if the kids next door had too loud a party) add after market exhaust systems that put them up around 100 decibels. My house sits about 500 feet back from the road, and bikes are the only vehicles I can hear long before and after they’re in sight. I’ve experienced the same thing in the backcountry of a number of national parks I’ve been in the past few years.
John, this sounds stupid and I know it, but I’m almost done with nursing school (8 days left!) and I swear to you, this blog and its brilliant/funny/sad/aggravating posts and the wonderful/aggravating comments section has honestly dragged me through it. Through the panic attacks and miserable self-doubt moments/weeks/months, and the misery and boredom and exhausted nights of studying.
So thank you.
Ella in New Mexico
Well John, if it’s any consolation: the point at which my throat squeezed shut and tears came to my eyes was when you described your dear friend’s reaction to the loss of her dog today.
I am an ICU nurse and I see death come to people on a regular basis–most often it’s a merciful end to a long period of suffering, or it’s a relief because the person never would have had any quality of life had they survived. Most of the time the patient was elderly, or at least had had a full adult life. That makes it somewhat easier to accept (for me, not their family). No one wants someone they care about to suffer, or go before their time–but at least people like your sister’s father-in-law chose their destiny, and his family can actually rationally understand this situation and make decisions about his care that coincide with their beliefs and values.
But the purity of innocence that is in the soul of a dog or cat freezes them as eternal children in the hearts of all who love these creatures. And something about that purity provokes a love in us akin to the love a parent has for a child. Only people who know this love understand just how they look to us for protection, for affection, for comfort, like little children do their parents. We know they are pretty much helpless, dependent on our charity, unable to voice their choices. They give us so much, in such a simple way. When they are hurt, or at the end of life, we cry not only for our loss but for their pain, fear or confusion. For our inability to protect them from suffering. And yet, we stay, like your friend, to stand witness to that suffering in order to give them whatever love and comfort we can on their way over. Which is what they deserve.
So it totally makes sense that you, and I, and many others, feel the depth and power of your friend’s pain so very acutely.
Anyone who has ever sat by a beloved pet while they faded, should listen to this incredible song by Gotye entitled “Bronte” on the album “Making Mirrors”. It describes exactly the full breadth of emotions involved in letting go one of our beloved animal ‘children”.
Now your bowl is empty, and your feet are cold
and your body cannot stop a rockin’ I know;
it hurts to let go.
Since the day we found you, you have been our friend
and your voice still echoes
in the hallways
of this house,
but now ‘s the end.
We will be with you; when you’re leavin’
We will be with you; when you go
We will be with you; and hold you ’till you’re quiet;
it hurts to let you go
We will be with you; nooo
We will be with you; ahhh
We will be with you; no
You will stay with us
Some comments on life in general: Last week I bought a TV. After 7 years of an orange-black image on a Freecycle set, I now have a real working TV. I also bought a turntable stand to put between the TV and the table. And it is really a turntable. I’m going to take the ring device off because I’m not intending to turn the TV in different directions. (And the ring could mare the table top.) This stand was meant for a CRT TV and mine is LCD. I just needed some extra height. The stand came as a flat-pack and tomorrow afternoon I get to build it. At least I know how to put furniture together and I have the right screwdrivers.
I’m trying not to focus on the vibrations tonight but I sent an e-mail to the property manager and I believe I’m going to do that every day now — review for him what happened over the last 24 hours. Make him real tired of me and the problem.
I got an email a few hours ago that came somewhat out of nowhere but found great satisfaction in.
I first heard of comedian Ron Shock when he appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast a few years ago. I was riveted because this dude had lived 4 lives in one lifetime and was a fantastic storyteller to boot. He was a founder of Outlaw Comics and was a mentor and friend of Bill Hicks. In December, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and I found out in late April/early May. I knew what he had, at his age, was probably not survivable for very long.
I’m the kind of guy that has the mindset that if I’m gonna check out, and I know in advance that I’m checking out, what do I want from those around me? I would like to know I impacted them. I would like to know that the little intangible effects we all make on each others’ lives in ways that are mostly immeasurable, well I’d like my final days to at least hear that I did have an impact. That I mattered, etc. And I believe that its insane to think I’m the only person that feels this way. I’m a giant, sentimental softie, btw. So when I found out about Ron, I looked up his agent’s contact info on his website, wrote a short email addressed to Shock, expressing that even though we never met and probably never would, that listening to what he put out there in the world mattered to me and I wished him well.
Ron died 6 days later.
Tonight I get home and I received a response. Ron’s wife, thanking me for the email and telling me a couple of stories about Ron and Bill. It was just an email, but I hope it tempered her grief.
Listen to Maron’s interview with Ron here.
Hint: you really should. This is a guy who before he became a legend among comics starting at the age of 40, he (according to Wikipedia), dabbled in “a many great things” throughout his childhood, including a student of the priesthood, member of a chain gang, jewel thief, prison inmate, vice-president of Macmillan Publishers, and an inventor with three patents in electronics.”
I had another sort of pup-related positive that wordpress et when I tried to add it to my comment above.
Our little Juno was picked up on the streets of a rough area of L.A. and dropped off at the vet practice wherefrom we adopted her. She was such a scared, hostile mess (bit a tech, etc.) that the vet (who is a major softy) thought she might have to be euthanized due to un-adoptability.
She now lives with her big brother Otto, who she adores, and has so many fans that come up to pet her every time they see us at starbucks that I can’t keep them all straight, and is the most sociable (with people and dogs) pup I think I have ever seen. And my beloved, aging Otto like having her around.
So I am going to claim Juno as a ton of positive in a fuzzy little ten-pound bag. Then I think I am going to get up off my ass and take them both for an evening stroll.
@Stuck in the Funhouse:
My thoughts are with you, Stuck. I’ve been thinking about my own father lately, most recently because of Ray Bradbury’s death. (I left a short anecdote on that thread.) My father died a little over a year ago. We were at peace with each other, I think, but there are always things you wish you would have said or done. And I wish I could have spent more time with him in the last few years.
Know this John – black people don’t swing from the end of a rope tied to a tree, wives are not chattel to be beaten by their husbands at will, laborers do not toil in the mines for 18 hours a day for company scrip, and gays are not curb stomped with abandon and lack of consequence. The arc of history is long but it bends towards taking every goddamn unearned privilege from the pudgy fingers of the rich straight white male. And if God decides to be generous to us, their heads will also end on a pike.
@Another Halocene Human: I also had similar, Mom and her precious kill dad, and then kill me, only mine didn’t happen instantaneously and so I wait. Precious lives on, Mom gone, my goal is to outlive Precious.
Years of therapy, I don’t think much about her now, which is good, but sad I guess. Sad for her, not for me. And I got the proper mother-child relationship I wanted with my own child.
I feel like I won. Even as I wait. I’ve outlived expectations, and they won’t steal the rest from me. My advice is to blow them off like a grenade.
@Ella in New Mexico: A link
@Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): In the past many state/public pensions were funded solely by the governmental unit because they paid a lower salary to their workers. Some time back, governments began to also deduct a payment from the worker for the pension fund. In many jurisdictions, the government unit never made the payments they were supposed to and the pension funds don’t exist. Then there is the issue of how the pension funds are invested to that they can pay more than just what was collected. I think the Republicans just don’t like the idea of paying pensions and they demonize the government workers for still getting a benefit the CEOs have been able to take away from private sector workers.
Those veterinary parking lots are full of the ghosts of a lot of grief. My husband and I sat in the car crying for about an hour after saying goodbye to our beautiful, beautiful cat Masha on April 10 at 3:35 PM.
Stuck in the Funhouse
That’s a tough one to forgive.
@muddy: I’m still trying to live in a world without mom. I thought I would have to wait until she died, but I have made the break now, finally. I hope.
She drives me bats sometimes but I understand the love for pets and for animals because I have Contessakitty, AKA brattykitty. She’s diabetic but as long as I give her Science Diet M/D and two shots of insulin a day, thank goodness she’s healthy.
There’s nothing quite like snuggling with a warm furry ball of love.
I have no car so taking care of her was harder than it would have been, then I found Petvacx a mobile vet who makes housecalls. And his prices are reasonable. Much more than Wheaton Animal Hospital in Wheaton, MD. I think that those balls of fur is what keeps us sane.
At least, for me.
All the best to you, your dad, your sister’s father-in-law, and all the family, along with Joyce. I think the “talking about the pets more than the people” thing is really common among animal folks (and kind of bewilders the non-pet-lovers among us, who don’t understand) – not because we care about people less than animals (or at least not necessarily!), but because it’s so much simpler a relationship that it can be easier to verbalize. My cousin killed herself a couple years back, and to this day I find it incredibly hard to channel my mish-mash of memories and emotions about her and her death into a coherent string of sentences.
As for positive news, I got in a 5 mile amble under a blue sky, with a mild breeze in my face, and enjoyed listening to the birds sing. The little things in life!
I rescued two scrawny parakeets from the local animal shelter today at two bucks each and brought them home to share a great space with other rescue budgies. I figured, what’s two more animals in the house, they take up less room than the rescue dogs who own me. And, one of those dogs has recovered nicely from recent surgery to correct problems associated with a gunshot wound that happened before I found him. He’ll be happier, healthier, and more comfortable. Expensive, but worth every penny.
@catpal: Yeps, I have a friend that keeps asking when I’m getting another cat. I wanted a 2nd one for a bit, but with Chey doing so well, I think I’m just going to keep on with her.
William Gibson says what?
@clayton: I had a breakthrough when I was thinking about how at the end she insisted that they should put her on a respirator (she had many things wrong, non fixable, and was in her 80’s). She was a devout Catholic, and was also very abusive. I think at the end she knew she wasn’t going to heaven, and panicked. She had a dnr, I just said, Don’t worry about it.
I was thinking about it one day while walking the dog, when we passed a church I addressed the Blessed Mother about it outside. I’m not a believer, but I thought, What if there is an afterlife, and it is what you imagine it to be, forever? So I concentrated my thoughts on the statue, and wished that if she were suffering, I didn’t want it to continue on my account. I didn’t want to be the one to make someone suffer, as she had always done.
I still don’t believe in afterlife, but I concentrated on it so hard that I burned it out or something. I have not forgiven her though, it’s hard to explain. But since then I rarely think of her unless someone reminds me.
And honestly, I think Precious really got the worst of it, by being the precious. He has no spine, and never seems to hit bottom. I’m not sure he has one. Truly being the least favorite is preferable in my mind.
Best wishes to your sister’s FIL and your dad. Your barber sounds like a nice lady and I know at least 1 female barber who still does things the old fashioned way, so I second the notion of a little dinner chat.
That’s a great thing, Stuck, that you and your dad could come to some level of peace and I wish you peace as you wait for the news.
And congratulations, BonnyAnne. We need more nurses. And I apologize in advance for the cussedness of us sick people.
Positive news. I have my first interview in, umm, er, 5 years. So that’s good. The job is not worth my while to take, without keeping my current-I’m still debating how to handle what would be 2 jobs, the same type of work, 2 municipalities, approximately 50 hours a week of work, both demanding flexibility and both demanding to be priority job in terms of schedule. Positively, it is possible I can bud a clone and hold both jobs. And with no more car, I am more motivated to fix this old bike I found and learn how to ride. CK, I wish I had an experience like your motorcycle trip. I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a 3 wheeler. Plus I made 2 people happy with flowers and a cup of tea, so the day is pretty good. Plus, kitties.
John, thanks as always for sharing.
This week has been a rough one for me and my wife. We had a horrible scare that, thank the FSM, has passed for the time being.
Our nearly 11-year-old Boston terrier, Gida, showed elevated liver enzymes. I told the vet about her diminished energy and appetite, and they tested. An ultrasound and bile test later, and all appears to be normal. But goddammit if that little shit didn’t scare me. And being home from work all day yesterday while she was at the vet getting poked and prodded, me sitting around eight hours in an empty freakin’ house thinking the worst … yeah, not good.
Dogs are what they are to people who live with them. I don’t have children, and don’t want them. I don’t know that I would ever feel an affinity to another being human being the way I do with dogs. I should stop trying to put it into words right about now.
Anyhow, glad to hear your little bitches are doing well. And sorry for your friend’s loss.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
How rarely do we get an opportunity to exact perfect vengeance like that? Kudos! Well thought out and well played, sir!
@Ella in New Mexico:
Gotye, “Bronte.” With lyrics and pet pictures!
@Jeff: Beware of dog jerky, it’s generally from China, I’ve known a few dogs recently that had liver failure and that was their only treat.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
Grab it, savor it, remember it. You’ll need it in the middle school years. And after that, you’ll need it because you’ll be trying to figure out where 20 years went.
@Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: Yes, that was sweet. A friend sent me this today:
Revenge is a dish best served cold! But it can easily be reheated in
the microwave of evil.
@Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):
I was a “public servant” for 20 years and worked on budgets for a few years. We had a good retirement plan and good medical benefits. Benefits were abut 30 percent over what the employee earned. Simplified greatly (I’m into my glass of wine) if I earned $20 an hour, the county then provided $6 an hour, over the $20 it paid me, to pay the insurance company for my medical coverage and to put money into my retirement plan. So I was actually earning $26 an hour.
The only problem is that often, no one explains to the employee that she or he is actually earning $26 an hour. And employers occasionally don’t state it that way because they want to congratulate themselves about their generosity and whine about being abused by the unions and the employees themselves with all that medical insurance and retirement.
IMO if it was presented differently–You’re hired! We are going to pay you $26 an hour. You will actually get $20 minus taxes and the other $6 will be deposited with the insurance company and the retirement fund, perhaps it would be more difficult to convince employees they are greedy, money-sucking leeches. Maybe not. It’s become a strange world with so damned many people signing on with the Republicans and voting, year after year, against their own interests. I despair.
@freelancer: That was a good one! I often wish there was a Like function here.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
@Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):
Short lesson: For a pension, you either pay nothing in, or some percentage of your income, and you get a set amount after retirement (defined benefit). The catch as an employee is that you’re probably going to get a lower salary. Your employer is on the hook for the pension, though. When they can’t meet it, it’s an Unfunded Pension.
Employers hate pensions, because they can’t forecast ups and downs in the market and they get stuck with a payout that’s contractual. So they dumped them and gave us 401(K)s so now we have to take the risks in the market (defined contribution).
Summary: Everything you pay into a defined contribution is yours. Not so with defined benefit.
Thought I’d jump in. Lost my Rottweiler a couple of weeks ago. He was 12, which really, is a good age for a Rottie. Got him when he was 5, he was a last chance rescue who had a history of abuse and because of this, a serious history of aggression. But I’m a giant sucker and I felt so bad for him, that people had screwed him up so much.
When I got him, he weighed just 65 pounds (his healthy weight was 105) and he was hand and foot-shy. You know how dogs dream? Well, he had nightmares and he’d scream in his sleep. They finally stopped a few years ago.
So yeah, this vicious Rottweiler turned out to be a big ol’ lunkhead for me. I had to keep him away from other people, because he was terrified of them, but he was such a good boy for me. If I felt sick, he’d be right there, his big head in my lap. Sometimes when I fell asleep on the couch, I’d wake up and he’d be sitting on me, then would slobber me with kissies until I ordered him to stop and let me get up. The beagle despised him and picked on him mercilessly. Here’s this mean old grumpy dog a fraction of his size bossing him around and he put up with it.
So yeah, I miss him, but here’s the thing, he let me know it was OK to let him go. The day he passed away, he didn’t want to walk at all, which is how I knew it was time. The vet was actually going to send someone out to me, when I asked the Rottie if he wanted to go to the vet and make things all better. And he got up, walked down the steps and got into the back of my car and smiled the most happy smile. When they gave him the injection, he smiled again and just relaxed. Whenever I think of him now, I feel this intense joy, so I know he’s out there, somewhere better, probably chasing Fedex trucks because he hated those things more than anything else in the world.
@Ella in New Mexico: Like. Your comment, even more than the song.
Duh. I’ve had beef, turkey, salmon, and squid, but I’d rather go through my life without eating a dog.
@muddy: Thanks . . . I felt alone. Now I know I’m not. Thanks.
@FoxinSocks: I know there is one other there chasing Fire trucks for just the same reason. And there is also a kitten shying away from a particular fruit drink truck.
I have another with me calling me to bed now.
Remember the dead. Love the living.
@Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason:
Wasn’t there also something about pension funds looking like an asset on the corporate balance sheet, making companies that properly funded their pensions attractive targets for corporate raiders? I can see that business types would want to get rid of those things ASAP.
@FoxinSocks: That’s how my 16-year old cat went. Once I told her it was okay to go, that I was not going to make her stay if she was ready to go, her demeanor entirely changed. Our vet was scheduled to come to our house at the end of the day, so she spent her last 5 hours, I swear, sort of saying goodbye to the house, sitting in all her favorite spots and just looking all around the room, enjoying one last swat at the tank of cichlids. When the vet arrived, he had never been in our home before and she had always been skittish, but it didn’t phase her at all. He gave her the sedative as she sat in her favorite spot, looking out the front window into our yard.
I still have moments where I cannot believe I am still alive when it has been so long since I touched her, but she was ready to go, entirely at peace with it, and I consider that to be her last gift to me. Plus, I believe she’s in a place where not only is she able to jump high enough to reach the picture molding, she actually fits there. It is a sort of peace.
Another Halocene Human
@Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):
Nope, it’s wage theft/pension raids by any other name.
What has happened over time is that some state pensions have been utterly killed by low interest rates. Or by investing in sh!t paper from Lehman and Co. Or by investing in the stock market, where that was allowed. Etc. And a lot of places didn’t contribute appropriate amounts into the fund as a way to get cash short-term.
This is because of federal disinvestment in stuff like Medicaid that has acute local impacts, causing those burdens to be shifted on the states and state burdens to be shifted on cities and counties. The property tax is somewhat progressive, so it’s rigged to be more regressive and it’s easy to rally likely-voter middle class to oppose it.
So ultimately it’s the endgame of the militiary-industrial complex sucking up all our tax dollars, can’t afford guns and butter, and Republican tax-slashing policies to attack social programs (like Medicaid). Plus let’s not forget vulture capitalists like Mitt stealing pension funds and dumping pensioners on the federal government, despite laws that are supposed to prevent this. And the right wing propaganda machine hammers this notion of burdensome pensions killing our ability to compete no matter how innumerate or devoid of any context this claim is. And blame the unions.
UAW does deserve some blame. They accepted a two-tier wage system. BIG FUCKING MISTAKE. Unions need more democracy but fuck, so do corporations. Where’s the fucking accountability?
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
Yep. That’s Pensions 102: Advanced Pension Manipulation, for those who have passed Pensions 101.
In Pensions 201 we learn how the hyperinflation of 1979 took my dad’s 1969 payout of $100/month and made it worthless by the time he retired in the 1990s. I’m not sure there’s any solution for that, BTW.
Hang in, John – luckily for your sister’s FIL, UPMC is a stellar trauma facilty, makes all the difference .
And my husband and I had to have a long talk today about our impending “Brady Bunch” episode. We will close on our house next month and he will finally come to join me in AZ after almost 7 months apart. Since I was going stark raving mad living alone in an RV in South Tucson I adopted a couple of leftover cats. Cutest pair in the world, not real sisters but act like littermates complete with wrestling matches followed by grooming. Saved my sanity, but when the rest of the menagerie arrives next month – 2 beagles, a cat and 2 kids it will be a circus.
Another Halocene Human
As a former bus driver, I’m okay with motorbikes, but this nonsense about making tons of noise being protective is just nonsense. Heck, drivers will drive smack into a big old bus, believe me, that thing is noisy!
I ride a bicycle too and I’ve never been run over. What some bikers don’t get is that there is an art to making yourself be seen. You need to understand where the blind spots are and how to put yourself in the line of sight. There is also the fact that some people just won’t see you no matter what and you have to mitigate that. Making so much noise you distract and endanger others (especially bicyclists and pedestrians) is yet another futile Authoritarian Solution™.
Another Halocene Human
@muddy: Oh believe me, I did. Moved thousands of miles away, in fact.
My thing is wondering if I’ll feel sadness or regret when she dies. And if I don’t, if that’s wrong of me.
Odie Hugh Manatee
You need that hat that says “Shit Happens”, just like myself and most other people out there. Shit happens. Sometimes it’s good shit and sometimes it’s bad shit. I’m typing this with my left hand as my right is soaking in a tub of really hot water, waiting for it to cool enough for a session with the Mettler ultrasound unit my old doc gave when he retired. The swelling and pain suck but rebuilding the driver’s door hinges on our Mustang was worth it. I also machined two replacement window guides and now the door is like new. Solid, window tight and closes with a light push.
My wife returned from an overnight out with ‘the girls’. They went to Cave Junction and stayed at a ‘haunted’ lodge where a young woman killed herself and whose shade haunts the place on occasion. No appearance but they did consume copious quantities of wine and enjoyed the lodge and its grounds.
Everyone had fun and that’s all that mattered.
My water is now cool enough for some ‘good vibrations’… :)
Another Halocene Human
@muddy: Btw, good on you on creating a fulfilling family life. I’m too afraid to raise a child. If I got too stressed would I start screaming and hitting? Or would I kill through a thousand cuts criticizing and undermining? All I know is that I never want any child to go through what I went through (or worse).
@JGabriel: Does anyone else feel like we’re living in a society that’s devolved to some weird kind of steampunk world? By which I mean, we’ve descended to an economic society dominated by the rich, like a repeat of the late 19th C. Gilded Age — it’s a Second Gilded Age, but with computers.
The only difference is that in the first Gilded Age, we could and did do something about it. I think this time around, too many Americans are too comfy and not motivated enough to get off their duffs and do something about it.
John, as for all the space devoted to animals….here’s the big difference between our pets and our people. We love them both but only our pets love us back unconditionally. There isn’t enough words in Human language to express how good that makes us feel and how much true animals lovers appreciate it.
Another Halocene Human
@PurpleGirl: Well said. In some states there is also the problem of politicians and their buddies getting special pension deals where they only work a couple of years and get a full pension, which completely fucks up the funding formulae and directly leads to little guys and young workers getting screwed.
There are also, depending on pension rules, issues with double-dipping, “spiking”, and the rules about getting paid according to the top three earning years which were probably originally created when people worked their way up and retired at a higher classification. Now that working shlubs will get their top three years by working beaucoup overtime it’s some sort of horrible thing. I work in an industry where tons of overtime is a constant so the attempt to “correct” this “problem” actually cheats us.
The issue I have with double dipping is this: if someone retires and wants to come back they need to apply as a new employee. I keep hearing about these admin types having their jobs held for them. That’s just fraud and it does deplete the pension because you are talking about white collar workers with higher life expectancies using the pension for something it was never intended for. I have a coworker, however, who retired, moved on to other jobs, and came back, hired like a new employee at an entry level wage, no different from any other. I don’t have a problem with that. She also worked her ass off to get that pension, I’m sorry. (Got stabbed by a psycho on the job, then had to fight to get her job back when the wounds healed but the psychological scars took longer.)
More pensions are going to exclusionary periods to stop this practice. Social security just stops paying out if you “earn too much” which seems to deter high earners from trying that shit with SSI.
Trying to explain riding to a non-rider is like trying to explain colors to a blind person. You don’t get it and won’t get it and riders could give a fat rat’s patoot if you don’t because you can’t. A whole bunch of people have all kinds of “knowledge” about something they know absolutely nothing about.
I’ve logged 51,000 miles on my Harley in the last 3 years and I’m here to tell you that you drivers are the biggest threat to my well-being there is. By far and away the biggest threat. I run a PIAA headlight that throws a pool of light on the pavement at high noon and you can’t see it. The reason you can’t see me is because you drive with your head shoved up your butt instead of driving like other vehicles are on the road. You’re not afraid of me like you are that semi-tractor trailer. Most of us ride like every one of you is out to get us, for a good reason.
I’ll tell you something, no matter what the day has been like, getting out up on two makes it better, in fact, at that point makes it good. I hope there is something in your lives that is that simple and can make you feel that good, it is one of the things in my life that does. If you don’t understand it, you don’t – but that doesn’t make you anything other than ignorant of it, not smarter or anything else.
Not one of us is going to get out of this alive and if you act as though you will, you’re going to miss out on a lot. Your choice and all…
Best to FIL from a fellow rider.
I have 2 rescue pits and a rescue cat who wandered into my yard and adopted me. Memphis is not a good place for pits. They are about 5 and 3 and I’m already dreading the decisions I will have to make. But as I lie here now, with all of them on the bed, it’s worth it.
Another Halocene Human
@Constance: I don’t understand all the public employees who are “small gubmint – low taxes” Republicans. Okay, the managers I understand, but not the hourlies.
One guy came in to work LIVID one day about the library district tax (what was that, $50/year? jeez) and he’s a BUS DRIVER.
Another Halocene Human
@Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: Not quite. If the employee pays into defined benefit and doesn’t vest, they get their contributions back. (No interest/earnings, though.)
If you have a 401K-style plan, your money goes to wall street where they first extract their lardinimous fees. Then they get to start playing the roulette wheel. Awwww, too bad, you started in 1998 and now it’s 2001? You poor slob.
There are benefits to employer contribution–basically, the pension is cheaper because non-vesties don’t get any employer contributions back when they leave. Those contributions stay in the plan. That’s why FRS, the Florida Retirement System and the last state plan to have employer-only, was in such good shape before Scott came in. As in florida, the switch to employee contribution is just a wage cut.
Think of it this way: food prices are over 10 times what they were in the 60s and food has undertracked inflation. Min wage used to be, what, $2.85/hr? Imagine if min wage were $28/hr. We would have a working class who could buy a fucking house again. Education and medical care would be within reach. Payday loan sharks would go out of business. You know, utopia.
KS in MA
@BonnyAnne: Good for you, BonnyAnne, and congratulations! Nurses rock!
And, Mr. Cole, best thoughts to you and your family and Joyce.
Another Halocene Human
@Roger Moore: Capitalism has problems when cash and assets in a public company just make it vulnerable to hostile takeover and being loaded up with debt. Yet instead of changing the rules when this shit really got rolling in the 1970s and 1980s, we let the bullshit ride to its logical conclusion… with the taxpayer (now laid off) holding the bag.
I can understand why you’d spend more time talking about the dog than the humans – after all, people know what is going on with them, and that knowledge is somehow comforting to the ill as well as his/her friends, I guess partly because knowledge helps alleviate fear.
Animals on the other hand, don’t know what’s going on with them. They live in the now and just deal with whatever hand they’re dealt. And when you have to put a pet down, the pet doesn’t know it’s about to go to heaven, which makes it so ungodly more difficult to deal with. And animals are innocent. They don’t hold grudges, they aren’t mean, they don’t hate – they’re always honest and genuine and very loyal. People, on the other hand, bring a lot of misery on themselves, and I’m talking humankind on the whole, not a specific person who may be a good person who has bad things happen to them.
It’s the innocence and honesty of animals that makes losing them so much more difficult.
Plus, we have a duty to care for them; we are in charge of their welfare, so when we have to put one down, it’s like a personal indictment, even thought there’s nothing we can do about it, but there’s a level of pain and guilt and sorrow which is far different than that we experience with the loss of a human friend or family member.
We cherish animals in an altruistic, father-like way, and when we lose one, it’s like we are losing something we have been in control of for so long, ensuring their well-being. When we lose one and there’s nothing we can do about it, it’s like a cruel violation of our guardianship of them.
And animal are just so damned adorable in a different way than humans are, so the loss is of a different type.
I would say that losing a pet is just as painful as losing a human, albeit in a different way. It’s a uniqute type of loss that only pet owners truly understand.
That’s why I don’t get pets fixed, declawed, tails trimmed, etc. I don’t even like to put collars on them or tell them to stay off the furniture. I think we ought to let pets be the way they were meant to be, and once you accept them as they are and give them the same space and comforts as human family members, the experience is all the more satisfying. I try to maximize the life enjoyment of my pets, sacrificing a lot personally in order to allow my pets to be themselves in every single way possible.
Thanks to all the pet owners reading this for making your pet a special part of our lives, and giving them the best life experience possible. Because by a cruel twist of fate, they never live long enough, it’s just unfair.
My cat, Matrix, is now one year old, and I look forward to spending many more years with my best friend, and I’ll be uniquely sorry when I have to move on without him, which hopefully won’t be for a very long time.
Cherish every moment with your pets, for it’s one of the greatest joys of life.
Thanks for the post!!
The prophet Nostradumbass
Here’s a tweet, from Andy Borowitz (@BorowitzReport):
It’s sad to lose a master of science fiction like Ray Bradbury, but we still have Sean Hannity.
I’m inclined to agree with the sentiment. When I worked in an OR, the medical staff, be they scrub tech, nurse, anesthesiologist, or surgeon collectively referred to bikes as “donorcycles”. It was convincing enough that I don’t think I’ll ever weigh the risk vs reward equation in favor of riding a bike, but it really is to each, his or her own. If every gastric banding was caused, not by the patient over-ingesting calories or their genes moving nutrients to places they shouldn’t be due to pre-disposed quirks, but instead tied inexorably to Big Macs, then the staff would have a nick for that burger too.
We all owe a death. You buy a ticket, you take the ride, and after that, you own the excitement that results from your choices. I’m not going to bad mouth anyone else’s risky behaviors as opposed to my own which include enjoying a drink, an occasional smoke, and loving tasty fatty foods in moderation.
All I can say is that the ownership of the reward of the unique feeling of riding a hog on the open road has to be coupled with an acknowledgement of the inherent risks of sometimes premature and needless punching of aforementioned ticket. As I said before, you buy the ticket, you take the ride, but as in all things, it’s at your own risk.
As for Cole’s sentiments above, regarding his sister’s FIL, I can only think that the reason he and most would think that is that given his circumstance, where, if not financially, but morally, he owed it to those who loved him to not endanger himself needlessly, why would he place himself in a situation where the risk was so great that it shadowed any potential emotional reward he may had gleaned. That is the almost universally puzzling thing.
I’m off to have a smoke.
Cheers, and good luck with your run. If you’re anything like me, you hate self-promotion, but you should really do a blogwhore for reals and mention that you’re a candidate for office. I’m sure one of the FP’s could easily set up an Act Blue for you. I’d be in for at least $20.
Cole, you are the reason I keep coming back to BJ. Posts like this give me a boost, even when the content is sad. My thoughts go out to your sister’s FIL, your father, and Joyce.
Something positive? I haven’t killed anybody today. Yet.
@asiangrrlMN: Depending on whom you have not killed, that might not be positive at all.
@FoxinSocks: Nice story. I guess you just have to steel yourself for the inevitable death of your pet. Unless you have a parrot, which could outlive you.
My grandniece (LittleMan’s older sister) graduates from high school tomorrow night. I’ve known her since she was seven months old, and she has grown from a precocious little tot to a confident, intelligent, beautiful adult. She’s had to deal with no small amount of drama in her young life; as a result of that, Mrs. Cisco and I have, at times, been surrogate parents/caregivers for her. I know that’s not the same as raising a child from birth, but I feel as though we are the ones sending her out into the world.
I look at her and cannot believe we were ever that young.
My 15 pound cat is now a 9 pound cat over a period of 4 months. Go pancreatitis! Thank he gods for antibiotics.
Re: Column inches.
Superficially it may look like there’s more concern for the animals than your sister’s father-in-law, but it’s really something else. Most everyone has a connection with their father so they can relate to the emotions associated with such an incident – it doesn’t require much explanation. Not everyone has a connection with pets, so that incident requires more of an explanation.
It’s a bit like dealing with my kids with entertainment that shows sex and/or violence. I have less trepidation about my kids seeing violence. Not because it’s “better” but because it’s simpler to explain (this is TV – you don’t punch, shoot, or fire lasers at people you don’t like). Sexual relationships are a lot more complicated and are thus more difficult, to impossible to explain to young kids.
Also, your experience with the grieving pet owner was first-hand. Had you been riding alongside your sister’s father in law when the accident happened, I’m sure you’d have more details to share.
What the first commenter offered is the best advice – This To Shall Pass. It’s a great keel to life. It keeps you hopeful in bad times and humble in good times.
Rx: Do something you enjoy outdoors today. Then enjoy some good music with the beverage of your choice. You may want to start out with the obligatory Harrison song, but follow up with a healthy dose of The Beatles. Always uplifting.
Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
Its not always going to be this grey
Gandalf says that not all tears are an evil. The balance you strike, John, between balls-to-the-wall rage and moving compassion is what keeps me coming back to this blog over and over. That you can keep this balance–and that this community can–that’s the most positive thing I can think of in this tilt-a-world right now.
@Another Halocene Human: Yeah, the noise=safety thing is just a bullshit excuse to be unnecessarily loud. There’s no evidence that the non-directional noise a bike makes adds to a biker’s safety. @Chuck Butcher: Not a non-rider, a former rider, various dirt bikes and a Honda Nighthawk 750, proof along with any BMW that bikes don’t necessarily have to pollute the sound environment like your Harley does. That’s quite an epiphany that other drivers are the biggest threat to your safety- other drivers are the biggest threat to the safety of anyone on the road. Apparently you were unaware when you got your too loud bike that our over-crowded roads were filled with new 16 year old drivers, 70+ year olds with bad vision and reflexes, people whose judgement is impaired by alcohol as well as illicit/prescription/otc drugs, people rushing to punch a time clock, people driving while they eat/text/play with radio dials/talk on the phone, etc, and people who are probably just too stupid to be driving- believe it or not, some of these same people are riding motorcycles with their heads up their ass- I see them on the road and on my job. Like I wrote earlier, it’s rare to meet anyone, biker or otherwise, who will confess to the role their own stupidity played in their presence in the ER- it’s invariably the other driver’s fault. And frankly, it’s very stupid driving in any urban environment (filled with those various categories of ‘dangerous’ drivers) without wrapping oneself in steel and preparing for the contingency of precipitous stops or directional changes by wearing a seatbelt and having airbags.
@AliceBlue: Indeed, plus there was the concept of the “deserving poor”… so while condescending as fuck, they didn’t think all poor people deserved to live like animals and die early.
@Another Halocene Human:
I felt great sadness and regret when my mother died, but not because I would be missing her. It was because now it was for sure that it would never be fixed, she would never admit anything, and that my mother would never love me.
Of course these things would never have happened anyway, but hope springs eternal I guess. By then I had been caring for her as she died of cancer, and she had broken my own health. Aside from the realization that the situation could never be resolved, it was like a millstone off from my neck, it was a relief I would never have to hear that mean, demeaning, doubting, dismissive voice ever again.
@Roger Moore: Ahaha, sorry, Jerky *for* the dog.
What, don’t you want to grow up to be president one day?
So sorry to hear about your sister’s father in law’s injury and am very sad for Joyce. May her other animal friends restore her spirits.
One of my precious felines passed away last week after a battle with what appeared to be pancreatic cancer. She was a shy but very sweet girl. Still have four cats left, thankfully.
@Another Halocene Human:
I was very young when I had my son, we kind of came up together. I found it healing to love my child properly, it was almost as though I was a mom loving myself. Also he turned out really well, so that helped me see that I was not such a disgusting creature as I had been lead to believe. I mean, clearly I was doing something right.
If I was in a parental behavior quandary, I used to think about what she would do, and then do the opposite. Probably sometimes I went too far in that direction, but at least it was a different mistake.
Whenever I felt rage come up, that I was going to do something that she would have done, I just kept reminding myself that I did not want my son to look at me, remember me, the same way as I did her. Anything was preferable. It always brought me up short.
A lot of young girls have a baby so someone would love them. I wanted my baby so I could have someone to love, in safety.
Please let Joyce know that I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers. I had to do the same for my precious Bob 4 weeks ago today for the very same reason. He was having seizures and the last one caused a stroke that he could not recover from. His littermate Fred still has times when I know he is searching for him. Bob and Fred have been with me for 14 years since they were 10 weeks old and at times it feels very raw. Thankfully, Fred has Max, my shelter rescue, to keep him company. Max is much younger and seems to have adjusted more easily than Fred, but then again Max was a stray before coming to live with me so he probably has had to adapt. I am just grateful that I have both of them to comfort me.
@Stuck in the Funhouse:
Stuck, I am truly sorry for your impending loss. And I salute you for that phone call. I hope it brings both of you peace.
Nothing wrong with the 65 part. But getting on a motorcycle is a high-risk proposition.
I rode for 20 years before someone got me. Probably avoided a good 50 potentially-fatal accidents. Still ended up in the hospital when some teenager cut a corner on Highway 20 as I was coming back from Fort Bragg. I had nowhere to go but off the cliff to the right or into the cliff on the left.
At least I was always a full-gear rider — leathers, snell-rated helmet, etc. If I’d have been one of the idiots who rides around in shirt-sleeves, shorts and one of those phony vanity helmets they put DOT stickers on, I’d be dead.
Kind of like the kid who hit me when he was on a motorcycle. Ran a stop light, hit me broadside, vaulted over, hit his head on a curb at 40mph and destroyed his stupid “I’m too cool to use a real helment” vanity helmet and, of course, his brain to go with it…
Good days + Bad Days = life.
I feel for you pal, and thanks for sharing.
I’m sure you are feeling spent with the emotional energy invested lately. But it does not diminish the pie.
Such a nice day in West-By-God, how about an afternoon of tubing?
@MosesZD: I disagree about the 65 part. I learned to ride on dirt bikes and have always perceived riding as having an athletic component to it. Biking is an intrinsically high-risk sport/transportation, increasingly so as one gets older with slower reflexes, diminished strength and sensory input, and less capacity to rebound from injury. Putting your bike down at 25 or 30 years old is likely to result in a less significant injury than doing it at 65 or 70 years old. The 3 month inconvenience of a broken bone in a young person is a lifetime disability in an old one.
Anyone driving a car for 20 years has also probably narrowly avoided 50 potential accidents. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know when I say that the only thing that made yours potentially fatal was being on a bike instead of in a car.
As to helmets, Michigan has now joined a number of other states in allowing bikers to double-down on their recklessness (and sitting unprotected on a machine moving at high speeds on crowded roads you’re knowingly sharing with bad drivers is reckless) by going helmetlesss.
J R in WV
My wife and I have had cats since not long after we were married, now 41 years ago.
This means we have experienced many generations of cats, up to a maximum of 9 at one time, after the one time we had a litter of 5 baby kittehs born. Never again, but it was great to have kitty herd stampede down the staircase railing.
The Mom of that litter had feline leukemia virus, and all her offspring were also infected. The vet recommended we put them down immediately, since they were doomed, but they were not symptomatic, and we already loved them – so we kept them until symptoms showed up.
Last fall my wife was in the hospital for septic shock on top of her pneumonia, and her stay was 2 weeks in ICU followed by 6 weeks of gradual recovery in October and November. At the same time, both of our elderly tomcats suffered kidney failure, first Rufus the red headed, 19 years old, followed by Harvey the invisible at 17.
Then early this spring Clyde who lost 16 pounds each spring when we gave him a summer cut disappeared in the deep woods. He was 14, which is a little young, but I feel sure either a stroke or a heart attack got him. So now we have 2 dogs and 3 cats.
It was hard to let Rufus and Harvey go, but our vets are a caring and compassionate group of folks, and it was a relief to see their suffering end.
The last gift we can give our critters is that release from a painful life.
A favorite park thing for me and Eddie the dog is when children spot us. After I tell them it’s okay, they surround Eddie. He holds as still as a statue, and I see eight, ten little hands just petting him all over. So sweet.