The Joy Of Stiggy - Chimes Article 2/17/09

When my roommate Anthony adopted a black cat, it took me a while to get past my superstitious nature. When the two of us crossed paths each night and my sight would lock onto the shimmering gaze of its yellow eyes, I wondered what was in store for the next day. Would it be an unexpected bus whilst I crossed the street, an open sewer drain, an unwieldy football thrown haphazardly toward my crotch? Who knew what was in store. However, the two of us began to connect.

There are many joys in having a pet, and twice as many if you happen to take no responsibility for it and in turn leave that responsibility on the shoulders of your roommate. After a while I began to accept the fact that our kitchen would perpetually smell like cat diarrhea as opposed to the smell of rotting cottage cheese often left out by one of my other housemates. The problem here is that in an apartment filled with guys, any problem concerning a cat could easily go unnoticed. Yes, a pet can leave quite a mess, but that mess may in fact be overlooked when the "soaking" pots and pans in the sink have rusted holes clear through the bottom. There were times in which I doubted we even had a cat at all. Was a feline responsible for peeing on the couch, or did Micah have some explaining to do? The mystery would continue to go unsolved.

Our cat has been granted the name Stiggy after the British racecar driver of a similar name. This name came as a close second after considering Obama, which we respectfully turned down out of political differences. Stiggy has a number of delightful quirks which make him a delightful scalawag within the household. For instance, Anthony taught him how to fetch a strand of shoelace, which means he chases it for a few feet before forgetting what he was running after or even where he is. Sometimes he will move with such abounding speed that he will slam face first against the glass sliding door leading out on to the balcony. It's for this reason that we collectively decided it would be best if Stiggy has no notion of the outside world. We reinforced this fear of the outdoors by means of Jon loudly yelling each time he approached the doorway.

There is something undeniably intriguing when considering that our apartment, filled with dirty plates, discarded food and probably a number of unintentional animals hiding away under the fridge and stove, is the only world Stiggy knows exists. I could elaborate on how this reflects our tendency to acknowledge the sinful world we live in rather than focus on the eternal one just outside our door, but I think I'd rather write about the time Stiggy got his head caught in the window blinds and meowed until he was set free. So much like myself.

There are many joys in owning an animal, but there are far many more joys in watching that animal find itself in embarrassing and confusing situations and then watch it try to free itself. Much in the same way I yell and claw frantically into the air when I find myself in any kind of awkward situation, Stiggy reacts in a similar manner. As was the case when he was dabbing his paws in my glass of water and then proceeded to fling water across the entire room. Sometimes things get a lot worse before they get better. I think it's safe to say that I have learned more from Stiggy than he has ever learned from me, and although all that really means is that Stiggy is one incredibly stupid animal, it also means that I have learned from that stupidity and am now a better person because of it.

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