I recently caved to a family request. I feel bad about it. I should have more integrity, more stick-to-my-gunsness, more guts. Instead, I am a shameless panderer for my children's love. I sold stalwart fortitude for cheap hugs and a fist bump: I let them get a cat.
I've got nothing against cats-don't go Chris Crocker on me here-it's just we live in a small house and I already caved for a second dog, and there might be a third unless that wad of fur struggling to free itself from under the credenza is just a hair ball.
But what's done is done. The cat is here. We've spent the fiscal equivalent of the gross national product of Narnia at Petco, catproofed the house and introduced it to the dogs. Now comes the hard part: naming it.
Most people do that five minutes after getting a pet, but not us-trust me, we tried. But where my integrity crumbles under the whining of my minions, I've drawn a line in the litter box when it comes to a nom de purr. I learned my lesson with Dog 2.
We had high hopes for this hound. He had a way of cocking his head and Spocking an eyebrow that made him look like he was solving Suduku while learning French. We thought he was a genius. We were wrong.
This dog does not understand the simple universal human/dog interface of "Come, boy." I've sat on the couch with a lapful of fresh bacon, begging him and making hideous kissy noises. Nothing. I'll give up and he'll go chase his own tail. A year and a half and he still does that. Not only does he chase it, he catches it and tries to eat it.
But that's not what gives me pause in naming the cat. I'm worried about what the neighbors think.
It took us only a day to name the idiot dog "Whiskey." It's all pirate and rock-n-roll with a just hint of authorial panache. We forgot about the sheer level of pedestrian traffic around our corner lot and what our busy neighbors might think when I lean out the back door in my "I Killed Larry Hagman" T-shirt and ragged pajama pants, my hair attempting escape, holding a coffee cup like I'm begging for change, yelling "WHISKEY! WHISKEY, WHIIIISKEY!"
People shield their children and speed up.
My short list of acceptable cat names include but are not limited to: "Top of the morning," "Have a nice day" and "Please don't be alarmed, everything is going to be fine." My kids don't care. They named him regardless of what I think and, because they are cruel, malicious and apparently patricidal, here's what I'll be yelling out the door next time we accidently let him out:
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.