Look What the Cat Drug In!

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Our dear departed cat Bonkers, rest her soul, taught me to look before stepping out onto the porch. See, she liked to leave us presents. When she was in a good mood, she would leave us dead mice on the porch—stepping on one with your bare feet can really wake you up!

In less savory moods, she’d throw up on the porch. You don’t want to step in that, either. Then there were hairballs and other less-savory bodily products.

So I learned to always look before stepping outside because she never left these “presents” to the left or the right. They were always right where my foot would go.

This skill of looking before I step still serves me well for, while my dearly loved cat is gone, I have acquaintances who send me email. If not for the cat’s training, I might open them.

In case you’re thinking of emailing me about this blog, another blog, a cartoon or a sermon, let me assure you that I will, in all probability, read your missive.

However, I have learned not to read all my mail. Now, I have talked to actual, in-person, friends, and we all have people who forward every email they’ve ever received. You know the kind: moderately funny jokes, semi-inspiring religious stuff, political theories that—if true—mean the death of us all.

We all get those and, most of us, just delete them without even reading them. In fact, many of us choose to show our love for both Jesus and our fellow man by NOT forwarding anything.

But sometimes, my curiosity gets the better of me. Maybe the subject line is actually intriguing. Something like, “A New Farmer Joke” or “Honest Politician Found!”

Now, when my cat left me those presents, I had to make a choice. Just let whatever it was fester, or pick it up [yuck!] somehow and put it in the trash (or fling it into the neighbor’s yard). Email is easy, because I can just check the little box and put a whole wad of trash in the bin at once.
But then, well … I have one friend—one of my best friends—who forwards conspiracy theories to me. I hope he doesn’t believe them (for one thing, most of them are self-contradictory; and for another, if they don’t contradict themselves, they contradict something he sent me yesterday), but I’m not sure. And, while I know no good will come of it, I give in and read them.

From them, I have learned that Bush and Obama are both part of a secret plan that is run by the Masons, the Illuminati and various Kennedys designed to overthrow the American government, drive oil up to $10 dollars a gallon and replace Christianity with a sort of conglomeration of Islam and Amway as prophesied in the King James 1611 Bible. Or, maybe that’s just the obvious conclusion and what’s really going on won’t be revealed to me unless I pay Alex Jones $25 for a DVD that tells the truth about everything and is only available until the world ends or it comes true, whichever comes first.

I read these because they’re fun and they provide a lot of material for my cartoon strip.

Then, another man—who I have only met once and can’t for the life of me figure out how he got on my list of people I email my sermons to every Monday—likes to respond to my sermons with good-natured alarm. You see, he knows exactly what SHOULD be going on in all churches and, too often, my sermons appear to him to be straying off the orthodox (though he wouldn’t use that word, because it sounds like something a Catholic[!] would say—which is funny because he probably doesn’t realize there’s a difference between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church and … getting back to my sentence) reservation and I need to be corrected.

Now, lest you get the wrong idea, this incredibly legalistic gentleman does not accost me with an all-caps, angry diatribe about how wrong I am. His letters are cordial and short and follow along the lines of, “That sounds like something the Methodists would do!” In fact, he wrote that recently. So I replied with a kind, four-paragraph letter that could have been boiled down to the phrase, “So what?” [Essentially, I told him that, yes, I do have some serious quibbles with aspects of “official Methodist doctrine” and, when I’m with Methodist friends, we may discuss those issues one-to-one; but that I have Methodist friends who—in the words of Paul—“produce fruits in keeping with righteousness” and I, therefore, feel amazingly unqualified to thus declare all Methodists as lost.]

On the other hand, this man—while forwarding on a lot of stuff I am not interested in—does occasionally forward on something I have enjoyed reading. So, when I see that there are a slew of messages from him (usually 5-10 a day), I scan the Subject lines to see if they are “dead mice” (worth reading); hairball (possibly worth reading) or vomit/poop (“get that out of here as soon as possible!”).

Oh! Gotta go. Looks like the cat’s just left me something on my porch … I mean, inbox.