Being stuck in Port Moresby for two days and two nights in order to attend a two hour meeting, I have way too much time on my hands.
Therefore, you must suffer. Sorry, that’s the way it works. The more idle time I have on my hands, the more I amuse myself by torturing you with sheaves of mindless prose.
I can match the Marquis de Sade move for move.
Fortuitously, I am abiding, for the while, in the gracious home of Swami Monty and his pulchritudinous consort, Meri.
For today’s contest I’ll first introduce the combatants.
In the red corner we have MadDog, your host.
My daughter-in-law snapped this telephoto shot of me walking along the shore of Lake Ontario in the freezing cold. I am here to assure you that never again will I expose my fragile constitution to these immoderations of insanely glacial temperatures. I have on my body enough clothing to resupply an orphanage in Anchorage.
My ancestors (Cherokee, in case you missed it) braved North American winters in buckskins and buffalo hides. Later on, after the Europeans came along, the cold was ameliorated by disease-ridden horse blankets. They were such a generous people.
Somehow, I missed out on those frost-tolerant genes:
In the white corner, we have, from Hamilton, Ontario, Caspian the Cat.
Here’s Caspian catching a cat nap (what else?) in the locker room before the match:
He doesn’t look very worried.
Caspian’s managers are a family who generously allowed us to house-sit for them. We saved a bundle and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
It’s extremely difficult to take proper photographs whilst being mauled by a wild animal. Cats are, after all, completely wild creatures that cohabit with humans only for the entertainment value. They could otherwise quite nicely do without us.
Caspian likes to toy with me once the match is underway, leaving me feeling like a humungous mouse. He is here applying the ploy invented by Muhammad Ali. It’s a sort of Pusi Marquis de Sade Rope-a-Dope.*
He allows me to roll him back and forth with my foot while he grabs at me seemingly ineffectually with his paws (claws retracted). This lulls me into overconfidence. I seem to be getting the best of him.
He growls weakly and sometimes yawns:
All this, of course, sets me up for the kill.
In a nanosecond the claws extend and he lunges for the tender digits:
The human physiological response induced by this aggressive action by Felis catus is invariably a loud utterance of some local variation of, “OUCH!”, followed by the appropriate expletives.
At this stage of the game, I am usually ready to throw in the towel.
I haven’t had a mouthful of my toes since I was an infant (not that I would admit differently**), so I can’t imagine what that tastes like. However, Caspian is ready and able to tolerate the noxious flavour for the sake of the sport.
I am not looking forward to a rematch in four years. I will be weakened by advancing years and Caspian will be moving from strength to strength.
* In Neo-Melanesian (Tok Pisin or Melanesian Pidgin, as you please) the word for cat is Pusi. It is pronounced: poo - see.
** Okay, somebody is going to catch me out on this. I do admit to occasionally sitting on the floor cross-legged and sticking my big toe in my mouth for the amusement of my friends. It seems that the highly improbable sight of a wiry, wild-haired sixty-five year old man with his toe in his mouth is a sure-fire formula for inducing paroxysmal laughter. The never tire of it. They are so easily entertained.