Calling in Sick
(A Cat Owner's Story)
Calling in sick to work makes me uncomfortable because no matter how
legitimate my illness, I always sense my boss thinks I am lying.
On one occasion, I had a valid reason but lied anyway because the truth
was to humiliating to reveal.
I simply mentioned that I had sustained a head injury and I hoped I would
feel up to coming in the next day. By then, I could think up a doozy to
explain the bandage on my crown.
In this case, the truth hurt. I mean it really hurt in the place men
feel the most pain. The accident occurred mainly because I conceded to
my wife's wishes to adopt a cute little kitty.
As the daily routine prescribes, I was taking my shower after breakfast
when I heard my wife, Deb, call out to me from the kitchen. "Ed!" she
hearkened. "The garbage disposal is dead. Come reset it."
"You know where the button is." I protested through the shower (pitter-patter).
"Reset it yourself!"
"I am scared!" She pleaded. "What if it starts going and sucks me in?"
Pause. "C'mon, it'll only take a second."
No logical assurance about how a disposal can't start itself will calm
the fears of a person who suffers from "Big-ol-scary-machinephobia," a
condition brought on by watching too many Stephen King movies.
It is futile to argue or explain, kind of like Lloyd Bentsen telling
Americans they are over-taxed. And if a poltergeist did, in fact, possess
the disposal, and she was ground into round, I'd have to live with that
the rest of my life.
So out I came, dripping wet and buck naked, hoping to make a statement
about how her cowardly behavior was not without consequence but it was
I who would suffer.
I crouched down and stuck my head under the sink to find the button.
It is the last action I remember performing. It struck without warning,
without respect to my circumstances. Nay, it wasn't a hexed disposal,drawing
me into its gnashing metal teeth. it was our new kitty, clawing playfully
at the dangling objects she spied between my legs.
She ("Buttons" aka "the Grater) had been poised around the corner and
stalked me as I took the bait under the sink. At precisely the second
I was most vulnerable, she leapt at the toys I unwittingly offered and
snagged them with her needle-like claws.
Now when men feel pain or even sense danger anywhere close to their masculine
region, they lose all rational thought to control orderly bodily movements.
Instinctively, their nerves compel the body to contort inwardly, while
rising upwardly at a violent rate of speed.
Not even a well trained monk could calmly stand with his groin supporting
the full weight of a kitten and rectify the situation in a step-by-step
procedure. Wild animals are sometimes faced with a "fight or flight" syndrome;
men, in this predicament, choose only the "flight" option.
Fleeing straight up, I knew at that moment how a cat feels when it is
alarmed. It was a dismal irony. But, whereas cats seek great heights to
escape, I never made it that far. The sink and cabinet bluntly impeded
my ascent; the impact knocked me out cold.
When I awoke, my wife and the paramedics stood over me. Having been fully
briefed by my wife, the paramedics snorted as they tried to conduct their
work while suppressing their hysterical laughter. My wife told me I should
At the office, colleagues tried to coax an explanation out of me. I kept
silent, claiming it was too painful to talk. "What's the matter, cat got
If they had only known.