I like watching science shows on television. I get to watch them when I am alone with the cats, because Belinda likes things that appeal to her younger and more artistic mind. Like Gretchen Wilson, she really does know the words to every Charley Daniels song.
Often I am sipping a rather yummy red wine during these quiet interludes. Science television and red wine can sometimes fuck with your mind in ways you did not foresee when you sat down to relax.
The cat who most often watches television with me is Boogsey (Christian name Booger). Boogsey had a stroke over a year ago and his front legs don’t work like they used to. That he is still here at all is the product of the loving devotion heaped upon him by Belinda. The most fortunate circumstances on earth would be to be one of Belinda’s cats or her lover. I happen to be the latter. YUM! When Boogsey had his stroke and we rushed him to the vet, the prognosis was rather grim, but he seemed to be recovering his alertness right then and there, so Belinda declined the good doctor’s offer to put Boogsey down. Over time he has improved, and he can go where he wants to go, just slowly and awkwardly, and he can jump up on furniture. He has retrained himself about where his personal hygiene issues are dealt with, and a mutual protocol regarding such things as no longer being able to use a litter box has been achieved. It is somewhat elaborate and I am certain only Belinda could have configured it.
I can relate to all this personally because Belinda has also reconfigured a few things after my events of reconstruction to accommodate my rehab. All my life I enjoyed doing very stupid and extreme things, and now I am dealing with the impact of them on these old bones. Lucky for me they can just insert new parts for anything that needs mending. Think of it as owning an old truck that is so simple to maintain that you just go to an auto parts store and get whatever you need. Fortunately Belinda seems as indestructible as she is lovely.
Anyhow, Boogsey seems to like whatever I am watching when we are together enjoying our wine, and I think he is acquiring quite a store of scientific knowledge that his modesty keeps him from talking about most of the time. He watches a lot of golf during our Saturday afternoon post prandial naps. Belinda usually has her own female agendas regarding shopping on Saturday afternoons, so Boogsey and I are free to do whatever the hell we like – think watch golf and doze. Saturday luncheon with a nice bottle of wine does that to us these days. You may be able to imagine waking up from a nap and being unable to appreciate why it is that Tiger Woods seems unable to play golf anymore – until you come fully awake and recall his club selection when not playing golf. Putts and putz are really not quite the same thing.
Boogsey and I silently share our thoughts and reactions to whatever it is we are watching – nothing exuberant or anything like that – just quiet bonding through shared experiences, says Belinda. Boogsey also has our cynical sense of humor and has announced that he is organizing a committee to see if there is enough support for him to run for governor of Texas. Since the TeaBag constituency is hell bent for trashing the Constitution and keeping education standards in public schools in the Dark Ages, why the hell not have a disabled cat as governor? How hard could it be, as Kinky Friedman is so fond of saying. Every time some politician comes on television, Boogsey just yawns and gets that Why the hell not? expression on his face. To him politics, especially in Texas, is just a game of Jackals and Jackasses. He is a big H.L. Mencken fan.
As you may by now have guessed, the predominant characteristic of this family is attitude. Attitude oozes out of every pore. Belinda and I are extremely cynical. Belinda can tell when there is fresh shit in the area, so most of what any political leader says just makes her nostrils flare. I deal primarily in business fraud and bet the company dispute resolution cases, so that makes me a tad on the skeptical side also. The cats have certainly picked up on this attitude, as cats always do. Very little gets past them. If you even wanted to know what time it is, you had better have some really yummy cat food pellets in your hand. If we didn’t call you to come over to fix something or are not a long standing friend, you would be making a big mistake even approaching our door. The cats would announce your approach the minute you turned onto the walk and the whole place prepares to repel boarders. Lately there have been home invasion incidents in the general area, so everyone in the neighborhood comes to the door with a pistol in one hand. Since this is Texas and not New York City, burglars leave in plastic bags quite frequently.
Boogsey and I have both decided that we will not run for governor now or at any time in the future. Aside from the fact that neither of us has the requisite skill set – not much skill needed actually, since the governor of Texas is a very weak ceremonial position, there are issues about past indiscretions that should not find their way into public notoriety. And even if we did have the pseudo charm, the kind that just oozes when a camera is turned on, we have disqualifying cynical characteristics that we never bother to conceal – we flaunt our disdain. Cats always flaunt their disdain, and I think I do it more openly because I spend so much time with cats. Additionally, we are “living in sin” as the ostentatiously religious love to say. Boogsey and I agree that few would ever consider spending a lot of time around religious people were they not wealthy and willing to marry – compromise the security of their wealth – in order to get sex. The more vociferous the religiosity, the more it costs to get some lovin.
When Texas becomes more like California we won’t like that either, because some of the principal signature Texas characteristics are very dear to us. It was a lot more fun 28 years ago when I first came to Texas. In the early 80s everyone kept a pint of booze in the glove box and it was just fine to drink while you drove from here to there. Drinking and driving was just fine, but drunk driving was a misdemeanor. I only had motorcycles in those days – no car at all – so it wasn’t practicable for me to booze it up when driving. I had to do my boozing in between rides. That made me the clay pigeon in the Texas driving shooting gallery. Life was much more exciting then, and my awareness level was at its highest in my entire life. Then, of course, came along such organizations as Bitches Against Grown Men Having Any Fun. The yuppification of Texas has introduced some pretty stupid rules, including no drinking while you drive, seat belts, red light cameras to catch folks who think yellow lights are a command to go faster. With unemployment being so high right now, all those rules ought to be repealed. More highway deaths would open up more jobs. Good public policy needs to be situationally relevant and capable of rapid and easy adjustment.
Without the conformity pressures associated with political ambition, Boogsey and I enjoy a very relaxed lifestyle. We are free to mock those with whom we take serious issue on major matters. If anyone is pissed off at what we think, say or do, we are easy to find and they are welcome to come take their best shot. We do advise that such folks put their affairs in order before confrontations with us and that they bring their own large plastic bags so that they have something to leave in. Their forwarding address will be either heaven or hell.
We enjoy some rather luscious wines every day at lunch and dinner. I pull a cork before I start cooking, and by the time we sit down a second cork has been pulled. Belinda has her own taste in wine and sometimes another cork is pulled in her honor. However, we are not people who consume the so called collector vintages. Frog and Wop wines tend to be very high priced for their quality, so we tend to leave them alone. American wines have so spoilt us that American and Chilean wines are what you will find in great abundance around here. Occasionally we will splurge on a Baron de Lay Finca Monestario Rioja or a Paso Robles Justin Isosceles. Oregon pinot noirs are also holiday treats and for those special occasions.
Since we live in Texas we are entertained all day and all night with television presentations about food, wine and entertainment. Great chefs compete for our attention with unusual ways to prepare the world’s most incredible food. Our cattle and pigs eat better than most people in the world so that they can be luscious and tender when presented to us fresh from the grill or oven. And our national malaise is obesity. Is there any wonder?
We keep a doomsday list of the wines we would go buy if we knew the world was coming to an end within about 90 days, so that we could go buy them and enjoy them but never have to pay for them. A few days ago Boogsey and I were watching a National Geographic presentation about cataclysmic volcano eruptions, focusing on the Yellowstone National Park volcano. According to the program, Yellowstone was formed by just such an eruption, and it is now time for it to have another such event, as it was over 6,000 years ago when the last one struck. Such an eruption at Yellowstone would have a dramatic effect all around the planet, and most of the United States north of Texas would lie in ruins and utterly dysfunctional – which means that our visa bill would probably never arrive or that if it did there would be no way to pay it anyway.
This is what I meant when I said that watching science channels and drinking wine can fuck with your mind. Instead of thinking about all those poor people dead and miserable in the aftermath of the disaster, all that came to our minds was to pull up the list of doomsday wines and to go visit our favorite wine monger to determine which of the wines on the list would be in stock on any given day.
As you might expect, the doomsday list includes Petrus, Lafitte and Mouton as well as LaTache, Richebourg and Grand Eschezeaux. The only Italian wine on the list is the top of the line of the Regaleali Nero D’Avola bottling from Sicilia. The whites were limited to a Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne, and that almost didn’t make the list because its only real purpose to us is to drink it in a comparative tasting against a Grgich or a Far Niente chardonnay. The difference is only in subtlety, as the lusciousness is equaled by the American vintage.
Boogsey agreed that the list should be kept that short. Everything else is on the regular or special occasion tipple carte des vins around here anyway. We didn’t discuss this subject with Belinda whose sense of propriety would have been offended that we would be first concerned about what wines to enjoy and maybe thereafter not even think at all about those we know who might have been caught up in the disaster. Boogsey and I feel that it would be useless to worry about them because there would be no way to help them or even to contact them to inquire about their circumstances. Being morose about the fate of others would be a terrible way to spend the immediate post catastrophe period when there would be so much great wine and appropriate snacks to appreciate. Cured meats and wonderful cheeses, fruits and melons, luscious prime porterhouse steaks right from the grill with crusty breads and sliced tomatoes dressed with lemon juice salt and pepper and some Greek pepperoncini, would surely keep our spirits high.
No hand wringing sobbing run to church bullshit for us, we decided. There is a way to appreciate every event of nature, especially if you are not caught up in the bad ones and only get to watch them on television. Our loving and beneficent Lord did not put us in Texas to be sad, and every liturgy in every religion has its prayers of appreciation and celebration rituals, so obviously God intended the survivors who were spared from the catastrophe to give thanks and celebrate their good fortune. As for the dead and the dying, God would receive them into their appropriate rewards, so we should not lose any sleep over it.
Boogsey and I strongly urge everyone to contemplate ultimate disasters in this Texas mode and to include in their disaster preparations copious supplies of the most enjoyable comestibles. Javis Boudreaux and I have already given the world a most competent disaster preparation guide. http://www.seamusmuldoon.com/hurricane_emergency_plan.htm That is our contribution to the world. We feel we have earned the right to deal with end of the world as we know it issues on our own terms. Javis Boudreaux feels the same way and, after all, what other opinions matter?
By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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