I have seen the devil …

bag o bandit…and she is peering at me from inside a shopping bag.

Meet Bandit. She’s one of our cats. But she’s much more than one cat.

She’s a cat who thinks she’s a dog and hangs out with them, who’s near 10 years old and refuses to stop being a kitten, who likes to act crazy but really is diabolical and because of that has devoted her entire freakish feline life – nearly every waking minute of it – to pissing us off because she thinks it’s funny.

Other than that she’s perfectly normal.

I’m watching her right now, doing yet again what she truly believes is perfectly normal. She’s chewing a handle on one of those cheap grocery plastic bags. Inside the bag is a pair of my wife’s shoes – sensible pumps, mid-height heel, nothing sleazy.

As she has done 3.89 million times before, Bandit will chew through one handle. Not both, never both. When she’s done she’ll go across the room and settle into some nice little niche. And wait. Until my wife tries to pick up the bag and finds it only has one handle.

Possibly with furry trepidation, she awaits my wife’s stamp of approval.

“Dammit, Bandit!”

Her work is done.

A candid moment in the Waterman living room. Please notice Bandit, at right, lounging alone on a large pet bed, and that the three large dogs have given it over to her. They know better. Also notice the mummified remains of an elderly gentleman on the couch. He passed away  in 2003. But the dogs liked him and we didn't have the heart to take him away.

A moment in the Waterman living room. Notice Bandit, at right, lounging on a large pet bed and that the three large dogs have given it over to her. They know better. Also notice the mummified corpse on the couch. He passed away in 2003. But the dogs liked him and we’ve not the heart to remove him.


Bandit came into our world in a box. While the phrase most often is used for beings who leave this world, in our house it’s usually how fur-ball beings arrive in it. I remember the day, vaguely. I was taking a nap, a peaceful one. One that was about to be interrupted.

“Honey, wake up.” It was my wife and a friend by the bedside.

“Huuuuuh?”

“We-were-driving-downtown-and-we-saw-a-box-by-the-road-and-we-stopped-and-looked-into-it-and-guess-what-there-were-six-little-kittens-in-it-and-somebody-must-have-just-thrown-them-there-can-you-believe-how-cruel-some-people-are-so-we-couldn’t-just-leave-them-they-all-were-crying-so-we-grabbed-the-box-and-took-off-and-can-we-keep-them-please-oh-please-oh-pleeeeeeeease?”

“Where’s the box?”

“In the kitchen.”

Game over. I went back to sleep. Once one stray animal or six stray animals get inside my house, they never leave. But don’t blame my lovely wife this time – it was my fault. I fell asleep. I let my guard down. I should have known better. Now you know why I constantly drink coffee.

Bandit doing her best to look ... normal. But do notice Emma, at right, fast asleep yet with both eyes still open. She knows better. Bandit is waiting. Should her eyes close, she will roar up into the demon that she is and pounce.

Bandit doing her best to look … normal. But do notice Emma, at right, fast asleep yet with both eyes still open. She knows better. Bandit is waiting. If Emma’s eyes close, Bandit will transform into The Demon and attack.

Bandit is named Bandit because of the triangular bandana-like white swatch under her chin and on her chest. Only this bandit never pulls it up over her face – she wants you to know who she is when she commits crimes against our humanity.
One thing you can pretty much bet will never be in my house is a gun. Need I say more? I thought not.

One thing you can pretty much bet will never be in my house is a gun. Need I say more? I thought not.

She’s also named Bandit because we thought she was a boy. Found out different when she went with the others to the vet. Cat’s been screwing with us from Day 1.

But while life has been no normal picnic since Bandit’s moved in, there are some moments of triumph for us human folk. Well, at least for me. Like when I’m shaving in the bathroom and Bandit jumps up on the sink. One reason is to get in my way but if that’s not enough to rile me she’ll go into “bad cat mode”, triple-time.

She honestly becomes almost frantic, looking around for something bad to do to get my attention. She might try to knock off my shaving cream can – only I’ve put it away. She pulls on the strings of my hoodie – only I’ve taken it off. Her last gasp? She starts pulling and chewing on my toothbrush, sticking out of the nearby canister.

“Good Bandit, that’s your mother’s toothbrush. Go right ahead and chew it.” And damn, with demonic abandon, she’ll start chomping on the one next to it.

Reverse psychology – works every time.

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What a way to go

king-tut-coffinHere’s one question that always comes up at some point in everyone’s life – your death. Actually, your after-death.

So, how do you want to go … after you’re gone? You know, post-croak. Past your “best-if-used-before” date. Nod off for The Big Sleep. Cash out in the final checkout line. Exit, stage life.

“I don’t want to be buried,” my wife told me a while back when the subject came up. “I don’t want to be in the ground. That’s too creepy and gross.”

“Me neither,” said I.

“So you want to be cremated too?”

“Nope. I want to be stuffed.”

“Stuffed? Like a raccoon or a bear?”

“Ayup. Have me stuffed standing up, with a big friendly smile on my face.”

“Anything else?”

“Just a couple more wishes. Plant me standing up in the front yard, by the side of the road with one arm up in the air. Maybe with a little motor in it so it waves it back and forth to the cars going by the house. In fact, maybe pull out the mailbox and put me there. You could attach the box to me and then put my other arm to good use.”

“I’m afraid to ask, but I must – for what?”

“Arm up – and the mailman knows there’s outgoing mail in the box. Think of that. I’d not only be decorative, but practical too. Perfect.”

“Really, that’s disgusting.”

“I suppose discussing Christmas lights would be over the top then …”

Now, before you write off my last request as just another goofy thing only my mind is capable of concocting, think again. I’m not the only one out there. And I know this because some pretty odd final requests … have been granted.

And in this corner …
puerto rican boxer wakeIf you haven’t noticed, Christopher Rivera Amaro of Puerto Rico is a boxer. It was his life. Well, it was until tragically he was killed in a shooting in January. A funeral home director handling the burial services for Rivera’s family told the Associated Press they wanted to stress his boxing. So the funeral home suggested posing him in a ring for his wake.
puerto rican boxerLooks like they were happy with the idea. That’s his mother on the left, his wife at right and his son kneeling in front of him.

Riding off into the cemetery …
Man-Buried-Riding-His-Harley-Davidson-MotorcycleBilly Standley loved his 1967 Harley. So much the Mechanicsburg, Ohio, man wasn’t about to leave this physical world without it and he told his family about it. He bought additional grave plots next to his wife and his sons built the special plexiglass coffin so he and his vintage Electra Glide …
Man-Buried-Riding-His-Harley-Davidson-Motorcycle-3… could ride off into the topsoil.

Now, about those Christmas lights …

We wish you …

Mom and Rocky kiss … a merry Christmas …
Merry Wilbur 1 … We wish you …
Merry Zoe … a merry Christmas!

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy neeeew … Merry Rocky Whatever. Give me the damn treat you promised me.

Be a manly man! … never mind

Manly menLately, I haven’t been feeling as manly as I once did a few eons ago. I’m getting up there in years. Hair’s gone gray, going white in some places. My abs? Somebody took out my six-pack and stuck in a 2-liter bottle. Make that a 3-liter. My abdominals have gone abnormal. My skin’s gone from rippled to wrinkled.

As most humans my age and beyond, I’ve passed up and coming and I fear I’m fast closing in on pretty well gone. I just thank God my mind never advanced much beyond that of a three-year-old. So I can still think it, but doing it? Well, it seems my pop also has aged a bit and expanded as well. To pooped.

But … just in time … along comes medical science. The TV was on in the other room while I was doing something in the kitchen and I heard the commercial. The announcer’s pitch came straight at me like a too-far-inside fastball. Maybe all I really need is … a pharmaceutically-induced boost of testosterone!

It’s called AndroGel 1.62%. Testosterone gel. You put it on under your arms like deodorant and in no time, you not only don’t perspire, you’ve been chemically inspired back to your long-forgotten manliness!
girly-man-arnoldGive me more testosterone or give me death!

With every passing second of the commercial, I saw the light of my life burning brighter and brighter. I could be rejuvenated, returned, rewired! No more going to work in a car – I’ll swing from vine to vine, tree to tree, to get there! It’s not someday my wonder drug will come, it’s already here!

overly-manly-man

Suddenly, the announcer’s voice became quieter, more solemn. I was having trouble hearing him. I walked to the doorway and began to hear the rambling of the possible side effects …

• Do not apply AndroGel 1.62% to any other parts of your body such as your stomach area (abdomen), penis, or scrotum.

• Stop using AndroGel 1.62% and call your healthcare provider right away if you see any signs and symptoms of puberty in a child, or changes in body hair or increased acne in a woman, that may have occurred through accidental exposure to AndroGel 1.62%.

• Do not use AndroGel 1.62% if you have breast cancer or have or might have prostate cancer.

• AndroGel 1.62% is not meant for use in women and must not be used in women who are or may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. AndroGel 1.62% may harm the unborn or breast-feeding baby. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should avoid contact with the area of skin where AndroGel 1.62% has been applied.

• AndroGel 1.62% can cause serious side effects, including:

If you already have enlargement of your prostate gland, your signs and symptoms can get worse while using AndroGel 1.62% (including changes in urination).

Possible increased risk of prostate cancer.

In large doses, AndroGel 1.62% may lower your sperm count

Swelling of your ankles, feet, or body, with or without heart failure. This may cause serious problems for people who have heart, kidney, or liver disease.

Enlarged or painful breasts.

Having problems breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea).

Blood clots in the legs; this can include pain, swelling, or redness of your legs.

• AndroGel 1.62% is flammable until dry. Let AndroGel 1.62% dry before smoking or going near an open flame …

The bright light of my life dimmed … gone in 60 seconds. How can one swing from tree to tree with “enlarged or painful breasts”?

I stopped listening. Walked over to the fridge. Opened the door, reached in and pulled out a couple bottles of Ensure.

Might as well drink my troubles away.

Look Ma, no can see my feet!

spanking 1I just weighed myself on my wife’s new handy-dandy Weight Watchers LED-lit digital bathroom scale. Damn – not only does the thing work well, it might work too well. I stood on it and watched my weight go up, and up, and up and then I stepped off. I’d seen enough.

I got the phone and called my mother.

“Hello, dear.”

“Hi Ma, I’ll only keep you a minute. I just want to say I’m teetering on the cusp of obesity and it’s your fault. I hope you’re happy now.”

There was a sigh on the other end of the line.

“As usual, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Which means, as usual, I have to ask you what you’re talking about.”

“I’m fat and just the other day I read about a study that reveals why I’m fat.”

“You’re eating too much?”

“Ha – nice try, but that old line’s not going to work anymore. I know better now. Researchers at Canada’s University of Manitoba did a study of more than 34,000 adults and the findings suggest that the harsh physical punishment they suffered as children has put them now at a higher risk of heart disease, arthritis and … obesity. Ergo, I’m fat because you spanked me.”

“What? I never spanked you.”

spanking cartoon“You must have spanked me. Why else would I be fat?”

“Allow me to repeat myself. You’re eating too much?”

“Ma, 34,000 Manitobians can’t be wrong.”

“Manitobians? What’s a Manitobian? And anyway, if I did spank you, why is it that you don’t remember it?”

hypnosis“Well, I could have suppressed it. Forced it deep, deep down into my dark subconscious, where only little albino shrimps with no eyes and all of my darkest memories can live. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll bet if I went to one of those hypnosis therapists they could put me in a trance and I’d recall all of the horrid details, as well as find out I was the King of Siam in a previous life.”

“More than likely, you’d cluck like a chicken. I never had to spank you, back then. As for the present moment, I plead the Fifth. Now, talk to your father. Dear, pick up the extension in there. Your son’s on the phone … says he’s gaining weight now because we spanked him way back when he was a child.”

“Spanked him? Not a chance – you wouldn’t let me. Tell him it’s probably because he’s eating too much.”
dadnospank