Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011, Love Luco

I suppose you know I am not here to wish you the merriest Christmas you have ever had. Perhaps by now you do not expect such platitudes. This is my hope. 

But I am also not here to wish you the saddest of Christmases. Please do not think that. Is this how you see me? A cynic, someone who has lost faith in life? Maybe I am this at times, but could it not be that I am willing to admit my moments of darkness, of doubt, and you are not? There is nothing inherently depressing or wrong with being skeptical. I believe it is important to question life, tradition, society (well, and if you are reading this, you surely also believe this); why else exist but to try to change the entire world for the better? 

Do you think me an egoist? This is not a task I believe I alone or even you and I together can complete. And what is "better?" We can move to terrible places with this idea. I suppose for argument's sake I shall define my idea of "better" as less suffering. Less suffering in general. For people, for animals, for the planet (and yes, I believe a planet can suffer. Does this strike you as a trifle romantic? Are you still rolling the word "cynic" around in your mouth?).

And I, until yesterday, believed the prison guard, for all her abhorrent behavior, felt the same way. That is, of course, until I saw the tree. Have you read "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez? If you have not, I will give you a moment. Go look it up online. Read it. I will wait. I can be patient. 

Are you finished?

"They only had to take the handkerchief off his face to see that he was ashamed, that it was not his fault that he was so big or so heavy or so handsome, and if he had known that this was going to happen, he would have looked for a more discreet place to drown in, seriously, I even would have tied the anchor off a galleon around my neck and staggered off a cliff like someone who doesn't like things in order not to be upsetting people now with this Wednesday dead body, as you people say, in order not to be bothering anyone with this filthy piece of cold meat that doesn't have anything to do with me."

This Christmas tree is Esteban. Now, if you have not actually read the story like I asked you to, this will not make sense to you. I care not! If you flout the requests of a talking cat, I do not know what to do with you. Seriously.

To continue, I say the prison guard is cruel because this tree is too large for her house. It is embarrassed. It shrugs its massive branches to accommodate. It ducks its (poor, pruned) top to fit beneath the ceiling. It is magnificent.

Ah, did you not expect that adjective?

I enjoy lying on the carpet and staring up into its branches. I imagine Esteban and myself in a field, a breeze, wild flowers; we stand and look up at the sun. And Esteban is my shelter.

So romantic today. I do not know what has gotten into me, except that it must be this behemoth. This hulking, lovely, ridiculous tree in the living room of a prison I cannot escape.

The prison of the prison, the prison in my own head. Less suffering. I come back here because looking into the lights and the plastic snowflakes and thinking of what this holiday has come to mean (and what it has always meant, I suppose), I can only conclude that for all its beauty, all its generosity, and for as much as I (surprisingly, unwillingly, completely) love this tree: everything that it stands for is anathema.

Oh holiday of taser guns at Wal-Mart, buy one get one free plastics, sweat shops and rock bottom prices, gas emissions, starving people who could be fed with just the waste from our Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa dinners (I put them in no particular order expect to mention Christmas first as it is apparently what the prison guard [and therefore I?] celebrates); so much of what is produced by this holiday causes more suffering, not less.

And yet Esteban is beautiful. And yet I love it. And yet I stare into these colored lights and feel something akin to joy pricking at me. Oh, I who do not deserve this warmth. My impotent heart which can only yearn for change, which can do nothing to begin to alleviate suffering.

I feel Esteban knows this and forgives me it. 

Even if I cannot forgive myself.

Monday, December 19, 2011


This is a worthy cause. I do not like dogs, but I do not want them to suffer needlessly.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Luco & the Luxury of Being Sad

I have been thinking about the holidays: about the ubiquitous Christmas music (I know it is ubiquitous not because I am granted permission to venture out into the world, but because [oh, shame] the dog relates this news to me); the colored lights and balloon Santas I spy through partially opened blinds. It is Christmas. It is Hanukkah. It is Kwanzaa. Have I missed any? Is it also Winter Solstice? Holiday Dessert Decoration Day?

A time, they (who exactly is "they" and why do I count "them" some kind of authority? Perhaps "they" is shorthand for cultural/social expectations) say, for celebration. For the counting of one's blessings.

Ah, my blessings, let me count them now:

1) I am alive.
2) The prison guard provides me with materials to ensure my basic survival (see: disgusting and unnervingly uniform cat pellets, the prison itself as a "shelter," the litter box, etc.).
3) Other animals in this prison also exist.
4) I have a mind that can take me out of this prison (whether through thinking my way out or reading my way out, or sometimes, if the prison guard is so inclined, watching my way out through a movie - that sentence became rather more awkward as it progressed, did it not?).
5) My blog (which allows me a fleeting kind of freedom).

However, would it not be intellectually dishonest to ignore the opposite of my blessings? Ought not I count them as well?

Here my grievances, my anti-blessings, my miseries:

1) I am alive.
2) The prison guard provides me with materials to ensure my basic survival (and that is all. Innumerable the nights I have awoken, crazed, clawing at my own belly, bereft and lost).
3) Other animals in this prison also exist (and cause me endless torment - the idiocy of the dog [with which through this blog you have been made familiar, reader, so you know I do not exaggerate], the cuteness of Minugs and how everyone fawns over him as though he is some kind of precious, irreplaceable artifact, the vexatious nature of Fremlin [who, in truth, I should be closest to, as it does seem at times we share significant similarities, alas, it is never to be, she is, in a word, a grouch]).
4) I have a mind that can take me out of this prison but not for real. Because after the interesting thought experiment, enjoyable book, or wonderful movie, I am still here. Still trapped, seething. Still pacing the windowpane, looking out into the sparkling lights of the unattainable.
5) My blog which, yes, I will grant you this, provides some freedom. Which does, in fact, ameliorate some of these feelings of sadness and desperation; however, it is also a source of desolation because I know I have never said exactly what I wanted to say, and if I even came close, I did not say it in quite the way I wanted. I cannot ever capture in words these images, feelings, or thoughts that buzz through me like so many idiotic bumblebees. I cannot grasp the page or paragraph or sentence or even the word I wanted; it is forever out of my reach, and this blog serves as evidence of my myriad and inelegant failures.

So count your blessings or do not count your blessings. I cannot see the difference. Everything becomes at a certain moment completely negated. Does that make joy less relevant? Does that make anguish inspired less all-consuming?

No, it only means ambivalence eternal. Satisfaction, contentment impossible.

And I will also admit here that there is a certain luxury to my sadness. That, perhaps, if I was a working cat, out plowing a field or protecting my territory (how alike the words "terror" and "territory"), then I would not have time to be sad. I would lie down on my bed of leaves or grass or broken bottles or what have you and I would sleep the sleep of one who has labored. No time for insecurities such as these. Not a moment left for self pity

This knowledge of my privilege makes me feel only all the more depressed. All the more guilty. So I say to you, reader: be merry or be sad. Drink or do not drink. Eat or do not eat. Enjoy this holiday season or hate it. Do none of these things or all of them or some of them or do other things I have neglected to mention here.

Know that perhaps it is this ambivalence that allows us to appreciate our brief lives.

Happy holidays.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's the End of the Semester for Luco too

I thought I would let you know that the prison guard is suffering from surprise dentistry (that is to say, dentistry she neither expected nor desired. I know the prison guard well, however, and this is probably the only way for her to get dental work done, but that is of little consequence) and because of this surprise dentistry, she is rather more grumpy than usual. She is guarding the computer like the vigilant, over-active bully she is at heart. I only have moments to address you, reader. 

Also, it is the very end of the semester, and I am helping her grade papers. Piles of papers. 

I did not want you to think I had forgotten you or this blog or my commitment to detailing my interminable despair. I will be back next week. There is much I have to say about this rampant "holiday cheer."

I am as always so sorry to disappoint. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Dog Loves Rap Music

This is my new t-shirt can you read it it says RUN DMC which is a group like a rap fellowship of fellows who rap! Mary's friends got this shirt for me because when they look at me they want to give me things because I think they love me.

That's right, isn't it if you look at someone and then love them then you want to give them everything like a t-shirt or like pastry cream?

Pastry cream is so wonderful it is the same wonderful as a new shirt of a rap fellowship which is a word I learned today so that's why I'm using it I hope you can understand my vernacular which is another word I learned that I think is great especially because it starts with a v like very and v words are probably the best words for everyone to say and to think about.

V words I know: vernacular vest very vermilion (not what it means but the spelling of it) vermicelli (which is a delicious thing if you put some butter on it maybe) valley version vunderful...

Okay vunderful isn't really a v word it's a w word in disguise but I put it in there because I'm realizing I don't know that many v words which means maybe I don't know that many words which then how can I communicate?

How can I tell you how much I want pastry cream if I didn't have a word like very but is there a word like very that means more than that like more urgent but I can't think of one so I only get very and then maybe you don't really understand me oh no I'm pulling a Luco aren't I?

That's what Mingus and Fremlin and I call falling into a hole where everything seems so stupid and it seems like nothing will work out at all and it seems like there's no reason to continue whatever it was you were just doing that's pulling a Luco.

But the thing is Luco is usually wrong so I just have to remember that like Mingus and Fremlin said and not let myself get down they said to pull myself up by my bootstraps but maybe that was about something else like they want me to get a job I think but probably the idea applies.

At least I have my supercool t-shirt of the RUN DMC but hey wait Mary she put it on me wrong no one will be able to see the name of the fellowship on my t-shirt so is there a reason to wear it why oh why would she do this to me?

Wait. It's a Luco again, isn't it? I'm pulling one I can tell. I just need to focus. I need to say something like I remember now Mary's friends got me this shirt because they looked at me and then they loved me and they thought of me later so that's a really nice thing even if Mary is trying to spoil everything for me!