June 29, 2010

The Trouble With Pets Is That They're Always All Dead And Stuff

My family never had much luck with pets. When it came to cats, dogs, rabbits, turtles, parrots, and fish, their time was numbered. Try as we might, we couldn't seem to keep the suckers alive. We learned never to become too attached

When I was really little, we weren't allowed to have pets because of the "Incident of Jake In The Driveway," when my dad accidentally ran over my sister's cat with a suburban right in front of her. My mother felt that having her husband emotionally scar her daughter for life was enough to put a ban on owning animals.

Finally, my mom broke down and allowed us to get an orange kitten named Marmalade who had an affinity for crawling into the dishwasher. Surprisingly, this was not how Marmalade died. Instead, he went crazy (this was the medical term the vet used to explain his condition). He would run to the neighbor's house and urinate all over himself. This situation was exacerbated by the fact that the neighbor's adult live-in daughter was also crazy. She would dress in 80's exercise clothes, put sunscreen all over her lips, and dance by herself on their back deck, which was visible from our backyard.

One day I opened the door to this:

And then I did this:

And then my mom did this:

Then we got Jack, the Old English Sheepdog, who also met and untimely death. To learn more about how he died, and about how my mother gently broke the news of his passing, go here: http://jordiepaints.blogspot.com/2010/06/cake.html

Next, we got Bunnicula, a white rabbit with red vampire eyes. Bunnicula lived in a hutch outside. At that time, we lived on the intercoastal waterway. One morning we stepped outside to find a little girl from the neighborhood scooping up the rabbit pellets beneath the cage with her bare hands and tossing them into the water. She thought we kept fish food under the rabbit's cage, so my mom had to go out and set her straight. She ran home crying (understandably).

One day I went out to feed Bunnicula only to find that raccoons had pried open his cage, dragged him out on the lawn, and then proceeded to tear him into a bloody pulp. When my mom found me on the lawn, she instituted another pet ban.

This ban was broken a few months later when we found an abandoned kitten starving in the bushes. Of course, the cat turned out to be a human-hating-wild-anaconda-banshee that would attack the back of her legs as she fearfully snuck around the house.

I really loved that cat. He lasted pretty long, but one evening we went for a walk in the neighborhood when I noticed something odd in a box by the side of the road. I peered in to find our cat dead with a note scotch taped to his forehead that read, "I'm sorry I hit your cat with my car. I'm sure he was a nice pet."

My mom kicked herself for having once again lifted the animal ban. I think her own sense of guilt made the whole thing harder on her than it was on any of the kids.

Little did she know then that there would be more pets that would die brutal deaths in our future. The turtle we found would wind up going for a dip in the pool on the day my dad chlorinated. The eel (that always bit my mom during feedings while my dad was out of town) would eventually leap out of the tank and dry up on the living room floor, and our parrot would suffer a neurological disorder that gave it a thirst for flesh, as well as fatal seizures.

Our bad luck with animals would extend into our adulthoods. Once in college, my lawyer/sister called me all hysterical. "She's dead! She's dead! She's freaking dead!"

"Who!? Who!?" I demanded in terror as I clutched my heart.

Oh well, pets are dirty anyway.


Rachel Andoga said...

Jordie, I think you're a genius. I cried reading this, and then made my friend Adrienne read it, and she laughed a lot. There was much reading aloud. Come to Arizona when Anna Mar and Lee do!

Jordie said...

Rachel - I just love your comments.

Lee said...

I didn't even know you could own a pet eel...

Love the suntan lotion on that lady's lips. She reminds me of my quite liberal ChapStick application.

Proud Maisie said...

You touched my heart.

Jordie said...

Thanks Proud Maisie!