Earlier this summer I received an email from Gail Howat, who tracked me down at St. Mary’s University College where I am the writer in residence. Gail was asking about a column I wrote several years ago about the difference between cats and dogs. I explained that I was so many computers removed from when I wrote for the Herald that I no longer had a copy. But then today I was looking for another document on my MacBook Pro and there it was: catsanddogs.doc.
The column was really an elaborate excuse for me to forward a funny email I’d received. I’ve cleaned it up a bit and so for Gail and anyone else who might be interested, here it is, so many years later.
Cats and Dogs
(Excerpt from column in the Calgary Herald, originally published in August, 2007)
So here’s an interesting question, at least to me: what makes the man who likes to make people laugh, laugh?
Looking through this paper, there isn’t much to laugh about these days, for most of us. In fact, it’s looking pretty grim out there.
But I’ve always thought there’s a lot of comic potential in the old cat-dog debate. I’ve written columns that were transcriptions of conversations I had with my cat, Kiko. In particular, one bleak day when I found out I had not received a Canada Council grant I was counting on, and she presented me with a dead mouse. As if to say, “Here’s my contribution to the house for the winter.”
And I am on record as saying that in a dating situation, once the woman pulls out pictures of her pit bull, or schnauzer, I am out of there. Exit, stage right.
I’m a cat person. And so this little email, sent to me by my friend Brent, confirms everything I ever thought about cats and dogs. It made me laugh until I cried. I hope you find it funny as well:
8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm – Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with my people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!
Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards!
There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow– but at the top of the stairs.
I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released — and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe…..