“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Cat Names, Dog Peculiarities & The Prodigal Half-Pound

It’s a boy. Oops! Not so fast.

TP: Hi, Little. Happy Halloween a day late!

LM: Thanks, doc. I went as myself this year—“a grumpy old man.”

TP: Still smarting from that ER doctor’s comment about you, I see.

LM: Let’s just say it was good he didn’t send his kids over, trick-or-treating.

TP: OK, Mr. Grumpy. What else is new?

LM: Here’s something. You know Miss Genny—Curly’s mom and all-around-trouble maker?

TP: Sure, we’ve discussed her before.

LM: Well, she’s big into fostering kitties, for which I give her kudos. But she seems to have a little trouble with gender identification.

TP: How so?

LM: Get this. She finds a little one abandoned in a trailer park and decides to call him Earl. Makes a big deal of it on Facebook, says she’s naming him after some TV show called, My Name Is Earl. Duh. Apparently, it’s a show about some ne’er-do-well who tries to turn his life around. And this has what to do with a newborn kitten?

TP: Well, people have all kinds of odd ways of naming their pets. Look at you.

LM: This is not about me. Anyway, a few weeks later, STOP THE PRESSES. Earl’s a girl! Oops! That’s a little embarrassing for Miss I know everything about pets. Hell, she’s only been breast (I mean, bottle) feeding the little runt for weeks…she just now got around to checking out the equipment? Anyhow, now we get a post that says, “we think Earl might be a girl.” She thinks?

TP: Well, maybe it takes a little while, you know, for things to develop.

LM: Please, doc. It ain’t rocket science. Anyway…drumroll…here comes the name change. Earl is now Celeste. Now you tell me, doc, have you ever heard of an animal named Celeste? I mean, what’s the kitten named after now? A pizza? She’d been better off taking a page out of that Prince guy’s book, you know? Just become the cat formerly known as Earl. That’s got some panache, at least.

TP: Hmm. Isn’t uh, Celeste, in the same house with your old friend, Curly?

LM: Oh, you mean, Scarface?

TP: Scarface?

LM: Yeh, apparently the little stooge got into it with one of his housemates—Yoda, The Mayor, maybe one of the dopey dogs, who knows, they got a whole menagerie in that place. Anyway, the boy took one to the chops and is now sportin’ the tough guy look. Acting it, too.

TP: How so?

LM: I understand he’s not real fond of little Miss Celeste. Probably sick of hearing everybody oohing and aahing over her. Plus, let’s not forget, he learned from the Master here that one needs to put the newbies in their place.

TP: Right. How could I forget?

LM: Let’s see. Oh, did I tell you I dropped half a pound on my last vet weigh-in?

TP: No. Congrats! Those half pounds must be adding up nicely now.

LM: Not really. It’s the same half-pound actually. It’s like that prodigal son deal. I lose it on one visit, but it finds me again before the next visit. Down a half, up a half, down again…dad’s a bit frustrated by it.

TP: I bet.

LM: Hey, it’s better than never going down. Besides, I been doing the poor man’s StairMaster pretty regular.

TP: Nice.

LM: Yep. Dad also wanted me to go get the paper with him every morning, but that didn’t work out so well. The driveway’s not the yellow brick road or anything, but it’s a pretty good little walk up to the top. Dad knew I wasn’t going to just saunter up there on my own so he figured he’d carry me up, deposit me there while he retrieved the paper, then I’d have to walk back.

TP: Sounds like a decent plan.

LM: Yeh, he gets a good idea from time to time. But you know what they say…for every action, there’s a reaction.

TP: You foiled his plan, I take it.

LM: Bingo. I squirmed so much in his arms that he could only hold onto me for maybe a foot or two beyond the porch. He ended up putting me down and hiking up by himself to get the paper, me waiting patiently at the door to go back inside for second breakfast.

TP: I suspect your dad wasn’t too pleased about that.

LM: Hmm. Frustrated the old boy…especially since he’d been pattin’ himself on the back around mom about what a good plan it was.

TP: How is your mom?

LM: She’s good. Dying to adopt another cat or maybe a puppy. THAT ain’t happening!

TP: Sound pretty sure of yourself.

LM: Absolutely. Dad’s with me on this one. We figure, let mom have her fun with all her athlete/celebrity buddies and their pets at her Show Your Soft Side photo sessions. No need to bring ‘em home.

TP: But she has brought a few over from time to time, hasn’t she?

LM: Just that wee Wieters kid. Oh, and that dog, Towpath, from Virginia, or West Virginia, someplace down there—I don’t know. What I do know is, Towpath has a serious Goldilocks complex.

TP: What do you mean?

LM: While he and his parents were here visiting before one of those photo shoots, he wandered upstairs and tried out every bed in the house—most of the couches, too. Dogs. They’re such dopes. Find a spot, settle in, take a snooze. That’s the cat way.

TP: Towpath the one that got burned or something?

LM: Yeh, burned, dragged, somethin’ bad like that. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a good guy—for a dog—and I’m glad he’s all better now and in a good home. He wanted to hang with me when he was here, but me being “a grumpy old man” and all…well, dad didn’t wanna risk it, so I was banished to the basement.

TP: I see. Suppose it wouldn’t look too good if Towpath showed up for his Show Your Soft Side photo op with a bloody nose.

LM: Uh-huh. Not that I was lookin’ for trouble, but you know—dogs do tend to stick their big noses where the sun don’t shine.  What’s up with that, anyway?

TP: I don’t know, Little. Let’s not go there. Anyway, our time’s about up for today. Next week, let’s talk about your new neighbors.

LM: Right. I hear they’ll be moving in any day now. Three kids and a dog…could it be any worse?

TP: Hmm.

LM: Hey, doc, don’t forget to adjust your clocks this weekend.

TP: OK. Thanks for the reminder. Be nice to get an extra hour’s sleep.

LM: Maybe for you. Sadly, not for my dad. For him, 5 (as in a.m.) will be the new 6. The clocks may change, but Little Man’s stomach will still be growling on Daylight Saving Time!

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