This is a True Story About a Cat
I got my first cat, Tiger, when I was five, after three long years of waiting. Five was the age my mom said would be old enough to help.
Around this time I also started my search for the meaning of life because I had come to understand the meaning of mortality, a frightening concept. I tackled my fear head-on in the beginning by writing letters to God. I placed them in my window at night, before bed, to see if he would summon them up while I was sleeping, like the contraption in the drive-through at the bank that my mom put checks in. A pneumatic tube, it is called. I was always impressed that lollipops got sent back. It was a nice system. My empty windowsill in the morning was therefore a bit disappointing. It always feels good to receive replies.
I also paid attention in church. But we kept changing churches all through my childhood because of my dad’s own search for truth — and also because of the inconsistencies here and there at some of these institutions. Suffice it to say, faith was the thing that church offered, but faith is not tangible like a lollipop. I wanted something to hold.
When I got a little older I stopped by a fortune teller’s booth next to the hermit crabs on the boardwalk. I figured if someone could predict the future than that would confirm that there was some kind of plan in life or meaning, that there was some bigger force at work. She told me that I would have five kids one day, three boys and two girls. Since I was eleven at the time I had to wait nearly 24 years to realize that she was wrong. I gave birth to all boys.
Once I tried a Tarot Card reader to see how that worked. But when one of my scientific sons found out he scolded me, citing statistics on percentages and chances. It was sort of my fault for sending him to math camp, I guess. I got a little flustered and couldn’t think of a rebuttal being put on the spot like that. If I was better on my feet, I would have told him about the thing that happened in college with a cat that defied any explanation.
When I left for college Tiger was thirteen. My college was four hours from home, a very reputable and well-known…