I Miss Buying Cat Food

One of the best things about Dubai is also one of the worst things about Dubai – Everywhere delivers. McDonald’s delivers. You know how hard it is to try and keep your body free from too much take-away food when you can get pretty much anything you want with one phone call? And let me tell you this: It sure beats cooking for one!

But I also get all my cat food, bags of litter, treats, and even the cat trees and toys they like to play with delivered as well. The convenience is wonderful and I’ve never had a problem with them at all. They show up when they say they will, my cats love them as soon as they walk through the door, and they leave after dropping off an extra empty bag or box for my cats to get bat-shit crazy with. But sometimes, just sometimes, I miss the experiences that I had back in the normal world. Experiences something like this…

I’ve always been a bit of an individual. Okay, so we are all a little bit of individuals; but I really mean it when I’m talking about myself. And so do my other voices when they’re talking about me as well. I’m the one topic we all seem to agree on. Which is good. It would be murder if we couldn’t all agree that I’m a bit odd, strange, a little weird at times, and definitely not playing with a full tin of Play-Doh.

Now, when I say odd, I don’t mean shiny sock wearing, a glove on my right hand, build an amusement park in my backyard kind of odd. I don’t even mean the kind of odd required to name a kid Apple or anything like that. Wait, that’s not odd – that’s just someone wanting their kid to be special, not short bus special, just, “mom, dad, I got the living shit kicked out of me again because you gave me a fucking idiotic name” special. I just mean odd. Not even. Well, if finding things to laugh about when you shouldn’t is odd, I will have to hold my hand up. If thinking life is too short to walk around with a stick, pointed or not, up my ass is odd; again, I will hold my hand up.

When I say I’m strange, I don’t mean the kind of strange that collects toenail clippings, sniffs panties in lingerie stores, or likes his nickname of “prison bitch” because it proves to his friends he got some action once. Or twice. A night. I’m the kind of strange that believes women are the superior sex, thinks writing is an honorable and noble profession, and wouldn’t pay for sex but has spent hundreds of dollars on dinner and a hotel room in order to get some. I guess that might make me a little weird as well. But I like being weird. I like looking at the world the way I see it. I mean no harm by it. I’m just happy to let my imagination and creativity take over when other parts of my anatomy are clearly struggling. And if people can’t see that, can’t take the joke, can’t tell the difference between trying to be funny and actually believing something then… well… I’m not quite sure what the well is.

And just to give you all a little glimpse into the mind of the Penguin, well, sort of pre-Penguin days because I didn’t really appreciate my inner penguin until only a few years ago, I will tell you a tale from my mid-20s, back in the days when I thought I was God’s gift to everything.

I was working as a laborer in a steel warehouse and we had two cats that lived in the warehouse as mousers. We supplemented their rodent diet with high nutrient cat food and it was my turn to stop off at one of the local Pet Smart stores and pick up a big bag of the vittles for our two overfed monsters. Simba and Karma were two spoilt cats. Mousing was their business and business was better than at Hooter’s during “Tittie Appreciation Week.”

I walked into the giant pet store, making a beeline for the puppies first because, a) puppies are cute, and b) there was bound to be a cute girl or two looking at the puppies for me to look at as well. Yeah, I know, I’m shallow. Hey, I couldn’t help it. I never met a cute girl I wouldn’t flirt with. It was a gift, or a curse, or a rite of passage, or a sign of my whorishness. Probably the latter I would think. The puppy lane was lame that day – no puppies or girls on display so I walked straight over to the big row of cat food. And I stopped in my tracks because there were way too many brands, qualities, and flavors to choose from.

Thankfully, I was approached by a smiling, chesty, attractive girl in a too-tight Pet Smart polo shirt. At first glance, she was perfect for me. She’d look good from any angle I could envision myself in (can you say pig ladies and gentlemen?). I deliberated slowly, pacing up and down the aisle trying not to be too obvious that I wanted her to help me; and not just with the cat food selection.

Before I continue, I must say that I look for three things in a girl. The first thing is a sense of humor. Without it, you just won’t want to spend any time around my friends or me. The second thing is confidence. Now, you don’t have to think you’re the greatest woman in the world but you should be positive about yourself and if you have flaws, like we all do, you shouldn’t let them rule your life. The third thing is a tattoo of Bugs Bunny pushing a lawnmower through her pubic hair. Okay, I made that last one up. The third thing is the ability to hold a conversation. Quite simple really. For a whore I wasn’t too shallow.

Pardon the pun, but the game of cat and mouse had begun. I opened with something about needing cat food, which was true, and we were deep in conversation. My dimples flashed, her hair gets tossed, my arm gets touched. Yes, it’s all very formulaic and predictable. I picked the right day to wear spandex in the pet store, I thought to myself. Okay, I wasn’t thinking that at all. I don’t wear spandex. If you have a pork sword, trouser trout, meat and two veg, and unless you are on a bike in the Pyrenees on the 14th stage of the Tour de France, you should not wear spandex in public either. This wasn’t much of a challenge, I thought to myself as our laughing became less forced and throatier. Yes. It. Was. On.

Somewhere in the conversation the terms dinner, movie, face down ass up, get tossed around like a midget prostitute in a Vegas show suite. I was there on a mission though, and I hadn’t forgotten about Simba and Karma. Truth be told, I was thinking that if I don’t remember to feed Karma, what would the real Karma do to me in return? That’s some pretty messed up thought patterns right there. Once I’m done trying to figure out how many ways we can play “balls on chin” she hits me with a sucker punch to the gonads so vicious my left nut is still crying out for Argentina.

“How old are the cats?” She asked me honestly, no innuendo, false pretenses, or even the slightest hint of wanting anything other than the ages of my two cats.

“I’m not sure,” I told her. “I don’t know where we got the cats from or how old they were when we got them.”

“No problem. We can figure it out.”

“How, do you cut them in half and count the rings?” I laugh, impressed with my own joke. Somewhere, dozens of lumberjacks are laughing too.

She looks at me, Hell burning a fiery trench in her eyes. Somehow, I’m not quite sure how, her shirt looks two sizes too big on her now. The venom in her voice sends my right nut running for the burn unit at the nearest hospital. It still looks like Freddie Krueger to this day.

“A vet can tell by the layers of enamel on their teeth.” All the hospitality was gone from her. “You’re the type of asshole who doesn’t deserve to own a pet.”

I didn’t even get the chance to watch her walk off as I was still ducking from the verbal assault. And to make matters worse, I had to choose my own damn cat food.

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