Ok, I know what you may be asking. You’re thinking “But V, what could possibly be better than stepping on a cat?” Granted, it’s hard to beat the exhilaration of accidentally putting your foot down on hairy feline, but I assure you life can offer so much more.
1. Crapping your pants as you drive to work. So you’re driving into work and just before pulling into the parking lot you feel a bit of bloated pressure in your abdomen. Nothing unfamiliar there. It’s probably a bit of gas from those Cheerios you gobbled down as you raced to get ready for another exciting day at your job. So you relax and decide to let loose. No big deal (unless you’re car pooling).
Just as you release the horrible realization hits you. It’s not gas. So now you are stuck with a tough decision. Do you sneak in to work and beeline it right for the bathroom and hope there’s no “physical evidence” of your transgression or do you turn the car around and head back home for a change of drawers? Do you show up on time with a “stain of shame” or do you come in late feeling fresh as a daisy? Yeah, me too. But as much as you don’t want to hear the boss explain to you (yet again) why it’s important for you to be to work on time, you can at least take comfort in knowing that this was still better than stepping on a cat.
2. Driving behind “Miss Daisy” at 25 mph. You’re in a hurry. Aren’t you always? Why would you be driving somewhere unless you had places to go and things to do. Apparently though, the blue-haired Octogenarian driving in front of you is just out killing time until her pace maker battery runs out. You try to go around her and since her left turn signal has been blinking for the past 7 miles, you’re pretty sure she’s not making a turn anytime soon. Trouble is, you seem to have oncoming traffic every time you make your move. And now there’s a line of cars building up behind you and the genius trailing you is honking his horn (like that will help).
It’s frustrating, I know. I spent years living in Florida where this was a daily occurrence. But even as you look at the clock in your car and realize Ms. raisin head in front of you is going to cause a serious delay, it’s still better than stepping on a cat.
3. Your trash bag breaks as you’re taking out the garbage. It’s amazing how much refuse the average person accumulates. Seems like you just took out the trash and now it’s full again. And what is that awful smell coming from deep down in the bag? It sure as hell didn’t smell like that yesterday. Only one thing to do, right?
So out comes the plastic bag from the can, basket, receptacle or whatever. Why is it so hard to pull out? It’s almost like it’s built up its own suction. Extricating the bag is nearly as problematic as prying a teenage boy from his X-box. Finally you manage to pull it out and secure the top (gotta love those built-in handles). And so begins your short (or long) walk to… well, where ever it is that you place your garbage (dumpster, garage, curb). But you don’t make it that far. Because about halfway there, the bottom splits open and all that smelly goodness is displayed for you to see. Banana peels mixed in with coffee grounds are scattered over paper, bits of plastic and… oh yeah, that leftover fish that went bad a few days ago (there’s your foul smell). And you get to clean it all up. Hooray.
But guess what? That’s right. It’s still better than stepping on a cat. Fo shizzle.
4. You find out your In-laws are coming for an extended stay. For anyone who has enjoyed the institution of marriage, you know there is nothing better than spending LOTS of quality time with your spouse’s folks. From the constant complaining to the disapproving stares to the comparisons about how much better things used to be, it’s hard to imagine more fun than having “Mom” and “Dad” come stay in your home. You can’t wait for the long hours playing Uno or turning over the remote control to your father in law so that he can watch that WWII documentary, narrated by Bill Moyers. And even as you grit your teeth and force a fake smile as you tell your spouse how great this news is, you can rest assured that… what? Uh huh… it’s still better than stepping on a cat.
5. Getting an audit letter from the IRS. You work hard. And every pay check you reluctantly give up a portion of your wages to the evil FICA. No one likes paying taxes but we agree that (in theory) it’s for the good of everyone. Hey, you appreciate public schools, police and fire services, the occasional visit to the library (remember that place?) And each year you perform the same ritual that millions of other Americans do. You calculate and file your tax return. Sure, there may be a bit of fudging of numbers here and there. Nothing serious. Maybe that TV you gave to Goodwill last year wasn’t really worth $150.00, but it could be an honest mistake.
But then you stand in your kitchen reading the letter from the IRS telling you that they have determined that “due to certain inconsistencies in your previous tax filings, our office will be conducting an audit of your finances”. They’ll probably even have the nerve to charge you for the lubricant and anal camera probe they’re going to use on you. And while you mutter obscene curses under your breath about your proposed fate for the Internal Revenue Service, it cannot be stated clearly enough.
This is still better than stepping on a cat.
Now you may ask why I contend that stepping on a cat is so terrible. Allow me to illuminate you. Hearing a noise from my kitchen one night, I rushed in thinking that perhaps my sink was backed up as I could hear this awful gurgling noise. Just as I flipped on the light, my foot found a large furry mass underneath it and before I could prevent myself from putting all my weight down, my ears were shattered with the most God awful sound imaginable. The screeching and howling was enough to bring on the zombie apocalypse (Waking the dead). This furry mass moved under my foot in such a way as to cause me to lose my balance. As I fell, in what felt like slow motion, I was treated to testicle shriveling pain as rows of what could only be hypodermic needles pierced the skin of my foot and lower leg. This pain and horrible screeching followed me down to the very hard and unyielding floor of my kitchen where I smacked my head which, in turn set up a whopper of a headache that would haunt me for hours afterwards.
As I lay there, twisted around on the floor I looked down to see my right leg bleeding from several small puncture wounds. Attempting to stand up I placed my non-hemorrhaging foot down on what I thought was solid footing. Looks can be deceiving. It seems that the gurgling noise I had heard was my cat vomiting all over the kitchen floor and I had fallen right into it. Now, as I tried to right myself, I lost traction from all the slimy goo on the floor and fell a second time, banging my hip. Next, crawling out of the kitchen to safer grounds, I began making a mental list of all the ways I would torture my cat once she was found. Eventually I was able to make it to my feet and walk into my bathroom where I planned to clean cat puke from my body and treat my now throbbing leg that was perforated with long red lines that continued to bleed profusely.
I flipped on the light of my bathroom and just as I did my cat, who apparently had taken refuge in the bathtub behind the shower curtain in order to escape my wrath, darted out and ran like lightning between my legs towards the bathroom door. She knocked one foot into the other and once again I was tumbling downwards. Now, it may be that cats have developed a new game that they might call Human Bowling. If so, this was her attempt at picking up a spare and she did so with great finesse. For a second time, I found myself horizontal, in pain and wondering how many lives a cat really has.
In the end, I learned a few valuable lessons: Cat vomit, regardless of how nasty it feels, washes off. Cat scratches heal (slowly) and I now know where the word “catastrophe” really came from.
So no matter what event has gotten you down, just remember… it’s better than stepping on a cat.