Art and the philosophy of life

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The Conversation…

“You guys are in big trouble,” said the cat.

“I know.”

“I saw videos of wild boar, goats, deer, pretty much everything, walking down streets and siting around on front lawns.  It was nice.  They’re all having a good time, while you’re locked in.  I even saw a puma.  Unfortunately, the monkeys are freaking out, because no one is feeding them and rats are hungry too, since everything’s closed and there’s no garbage.   See, that’s what happens when things go out of balance.  That’s what you’re doing to the environment as well.  You guys just can’t decide on which way to kill yourselves.”

“Did anyone ever tell you that you have a way with words?”

“Pretty much everyday.”

“I brought you this little toy with a bell in it.”


She shrugged.  “I thought you would like it.”


“It’s a cat toy.”

“For what kind of cat?”

“Never mind,” she said, putting it back into her tote bag.

“They had a rise in virus cases in Chicago yesterday.  More than two thousand new ones and they are using an empty meat packing company to store bodies.  It will hold up to two thousand.”

“Can we talk about something else?”

“Why not,” said the cat, stretching.  “Pick something.”

“No.  You choose.”

“How about Zelda Fitzgerald?”


“Sure, why not?” said the cat.

“I don’t know.”

“You told me to pick.”

“How do you even know about her?”

“Everyone knows about her.”

“How do you like living in a city?”

“Compared to what?”

“That’s true.  You’ve probably never lived in the country.”

“You don’t know anything about Zelda, do you.”

“Sure I do.  She took ballet lessons.”


“Do you ever wish you were French?”

“Not even once. ”

“Really?” she said, surprised.

“What’s wrong with you?  I mean that in the nicest way.  But what is wrong with you?”

“Sometimes I wish I was born in Paris.”

“That’s a waste of a wish, if you ask me.  I mean, it’s never gonna happen.  That door is shut tight.”

She nodded.  “I know.  Still, I feel French.”

“You didn’t increase your intake of chocolate, like I suggested, did you,” he said.

“We’re destroying the planet and all the things on it.  Those other living beings who are innocent will die, because of us.  Climate change is killing everything.”

“Actually YOU are killing everything.  Humans are responsible for everything that’s happening.  It’s not like it would happened happen, if you weren’t here.  You ARE climate change.”

“That’s depressing.”

“How do you think the rest of us feel?  We can’t stop you.  A rhino, or a herd of cats, can go to washington and state our case.  Even if we could, you’d ignore us because you’re greedy and uncaring.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“That’s the problem.  You know that, right?”

“I know that.”

“What about Zelda?”

“Can you make me feel better?”

“Yes, stop what you’re all doing and help the planet, and those on it, survive.”


“Get environmentalists into office where they can do something.  You have to do it now, before it’s too late.  You, the people, need to DEMAND change before you’re all dead and take us with you.”

“Don’t hold you’re breath.”

“I never hold my breath.  But we do all hope that humans will die soon, so the rest of us can still make it. I mean everything will heal, once you’re gone.  You can see that right now.  Things are better just because you’re all locked inside for a few weeks  So, if you die, then the planet can heal and the rest of us can spread out and survive.  Things will grow and the water and air will be clean.  No more guns, strip mining or any of that. No more fossil fuel, aerosol cans, cars running over us on the street,  Just think no one will be HUNTING other living things, keeping them in cages, experimenting on them, ETATING them.  Every horror for us, will be gone instantly, if your species disappears.”

“Depressing but true.”

“And most people don’t like to discuss depressing things.  You’d all rather smile, look the other way. and pretend that life is all rainbows and tulips.  Well, it’s not.  Everything is falling apart because you don’t want to face the fact that you’re destroying the entire planet.  You hope it will all just go away without you having to do anything but it won’t. Do you have any cheese?”

“Cheese?  No.  Do you want some?”


“I’ll bring some next time I visit.  I did bring some turkey pate.”

“Nice,” he said.

“Do you like ice cream?”

“I’m lactose intolerant.  Why?”

“Oh, too bad.  I was going to bring you a scoop of vanilla.”

“I suppose I could try a lick or two.”

“Don’t you think it’s strange that I can’t think of anything pleasant to talk about?”

“No.  Not when they’re stacking bodies in refrigerator cars.  You guys are living in a war zone and the world around you is on fire, melting, blowing up, being clear cut, the Coral Reefs are dying, the land destroyed for coal and…”

“I get it.”

“You do know that you can’t LIVE without water or air, don’t you?”


“When was the last time you planted a tree?  And why poison the earth so you can have green grass?  You kill worms and your kids, by spraying poison on the earth, just to have grass.  You spend your lives watering it and cutting it.  You feed grass but not the homeless.  You care more about grass than people.  If everyone gave the money they spend on grass, including lawnmowers, to help those in need, there would be a lot fewer in need.  But grass matters and people don’t.  You have lost your way.  You’re actually forcing grass to grow in a prairie state, while killing the things that truly belong here, and for what?”

“That is insane, isn’t it,” she agreed.

“Do any of you ever think about the things you do?”

“Not really.  And when people do, they are ignored.”

“This is a good lunch.”

“Why are cats so smart?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said you pay attention to what’s going on, but it’s more than that.  More than listening to the professor you knew.  I don’t know what it is, but there’s something…”

“We live in the now.”

“I didn’t think of that.”

“We might know about the future, but really, we live from moment to moment.  We sleep, play, eat, fight, take care of the kittens, and then sleep some more.  We don’t worry about tomorrow because we have to work to survive everyday and that takes up all of our time.  We also don’t worry about things that might never happen, the way you do.   That leaves room in our minds to take care of our immediate needs.  It’s a hard life on the street.”

“You’re lucky you have a place to live and nice people you allow to care for you.”

“I know.  Still, I spend most of my time out here, helping those less fortunate.  You guys just keep helping the rich people get richer.  You feed those who don’t care about any of you at all, other than what they can take from you before you die after working for them your whole lives.”

“Do you have ANYTHING nice to say?”

“I like your scarf.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t bring me another ball with a bell in it.  I’d rather have a book on mice.”


“Yes, I’m thinking of raising them.”

“No.  I won’t bring you a book on mice.”

“How about hamsters or birds?”

“No and no.”


“Absolutely not.”

“Well, if we’re not going to talk about Zelda, I’m going to take a nap,  So, you should probably go now.”


“Fine.  Ten seconds, or I’ll seal kick you.”

“I love you,” she whispered.

“Whatever,” he said, closing his eyes.






First response to The I Can’t Stop Reading Book Club (for those who would rather read than clean).

First Night Design says:

A book not a broom is very heaven! The book that has had the biggest impact on me in the last year or so is Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. Unputdownable. Atwood has the extraordinary ability to draw you into a complete world in which you know the characters inside out and care even for the bad guys, and can picture every scene as if you were part of the community. I’m not expressing this very well but I know of no other contemporary writer who draws me in like this, or has done so in the last ten years.

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