This past Friday was my last day of work for Camp War Eagle. I’ve been hired at Walmart Corporate to do something I don’t truly understand but hope to learn soon. At the office, they spent lunch trying to hold a roast, but ended up continuing to affirm my best attributes. I don’t think anyone really understood what a roast was.
That night, several of my (by then former) coworkers joined Holly and I for dinner and a walk around the town square, where there was a street performer competition. Most of the jugglers and magicians spent their time making terrible jokes rather than juggling or magic making. One had amazing hair though, and he made sure to highlight that fact.
At dinner, conversation began to steer away from work towards life, which I imagine will have to become the template for most of my relationships now. I began to rack my mind for any daily anecdotes to share with friends, to practice speaking about personal rather than professional life. So I lead with this:
“Have I told you that my cat’s butt exploded?”
This was a completely truthful and sincere question. For several weeks prior, our cat had become more of a demon than normal. She stopped cleaning herself. She would growl whenever touched. Holly and I once tried to hold her down and search her for broken bones or severe cuts. Her reaction terrified us into submitting to her will, to let her go.
I agreed to take her to vet alone (Holly has bad memories there). When I entered the examining room, the nurse said that she was going to search the cat for any injuries. “She hasn’t been very receptive to that,” I responded.
She picked the cat up. The cat began to growl as an idling chainsaw. Then her butt exploded.
At the time, it looked like projectile diarrhea. Reddish-brown liquid sprayed all over the nurse’s arm, shirt and the wall behind her, like a Jackson Pollock diorama. She dropped our cat, standing with locked arms, and said, “I need to go.”
I was dry heaving near the door (and the cat was purring in the corner) when the elderly veterinarian with the demeanor of a Buddhist yogi entered and explained that, “There’s nothing to worry about, this happens all the time.”
Apparently it was an abscess, like a giant zit, on the cat’s butt. In medical terms, once popped, she felt a gagillion times better. The vet kept her for the weekend and returned the cat with a shaved rear end and a jagged, six-inch long incision. We have renamed her “Frankenbutt.”
Back in the restaurant, after casually inserting this conversation starter, on of my friends spit his drink back into the glass and wiped his mouth. “Finally,” he said, “we don’t have to talk about work.”