Mr. Tangerine Man 

In an effort to avoid politics, Randy writes about his new cat.

Did you see that rancid kumquat's recent tweet, "I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." Is the walking Orange Terror Alert admitting the election was rigged? I'm sorry. My blood pressure is at risk. I made a promise to myself to remain calm about this nasty business and concentrate only on what's positive, which is why I've chosen to tell you about my cat. I still can't believe that my country elected a dunk-tank clown as their president.

I'm not a "cat person" by tradition. In fact, I come from a family that actively disliked cats. There's a word for it: ailurophobia.What about those Russian hackers and Ukrainian "fake news" sites that meddled in our election?  My grandmother had a skin tag on her little finger that she always told us had come from being scratched by a kitten when she was young. It wasn't until adulthood that I found out she was lying. They plan to privatize Medicare and Social Security. This cat loathing was passed down to my mother, who, in turn, passed it down to my sister and me. I never had any experience being around a cat until college, when I lived with two of them. They didn't like me and I didn't like them, but they came in a package-deal with a young lady who wasn't very conscientious about maintaining the litter-box. When we all parted amicably, that ended my cat fraternization. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for Attorney General? He has opposed every immigration bill for two decades. Last week he said, "Good people don't smoke marijuana." Kiss legalization goodbye.

click to enlarge SAMUM | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Samum | Dreamstime.com

We're dog people over here. We have three — two older black dogs and a speckled pup named Nancy. All of them are rescues, but Nancy's the only one we got from the shelter. Steve, the oldest, just wandered up one day, and Carney (named after Rodney) is my stepson's dog who became part of the pack after his daddy found an apartment. The Secretary of Defense's nickname is "Mad-dog." So, we can't have visitors unless they have a lot of patience and don't mind enthusiastic barking. Heaven forbid a friend ring the bell without knowing the snarling rage about to erupt on the other side of the door. Trump has repeatedly brushed off the President's daily briefing. I don't even know how this happened, but now I share my side of the bed with a puppy who weighs 90 pounds. There's so much hair lying around that you could create an entirely new dog. And we've invested more in dog beds than some poorer countries' GDP. Are we just forgetting the $25 million fraud settlement to victims of Trump University? There are now 75 open lawsuits against Trump, from unpaid contractors to angry golf club members cheated out of their dues. It's too late for obedience school. These animals don't even let the pizza delivery guy get a foot in the door. Can you imagine how they'd treat a cat?

While I was sitting on the porch one day, a kitten strolled through the bushes and sidled up into my lap. A neighbor yelled, "Do you want that cat? She's been hanging around for weeks." This habitual midnight tweeter actually demanded equal time from a comedy show. His chief strategist is an unapologetic white nationalist and anti-Semite. Of course, I had no intention of keeping the cat, which I named Peaches. She's very soft and a ginger color. We gave her food and water, and she wouldn't leave the front porch. My wife, Melody, fixed her a basket to sleep in. There ain't gonna be any stupid wall. I visited several times a day because she was so sweet and would bump noses with me when feeling affectionate. One day, two cats were heard fighting, and Peaches was gone. A large tomcat was eating her food which we immediately removed, but Peaches didn't return. The secretary of education never attended a public school, married the heir to the Amway fortune, believes in for-profit education, and donated $9.5 million to the Trump campaign. Fun fact: Her brother, Erik Prince, was the founder of Blackwater USA mercenaries, who did such a bang-up job in Iraq. She was gone a month before Melody got a text on her "Nextdoor" app that Peaches was spotted two blocks over living in a cardboard box inside a culvert. When we drove over and called to her, she came out of the ditch and jumped straight into the car. The National Policy Institute, A Neo-nazi front group, celebrated the election in the nation's Capitol, with cries of, "Hail Trump," and the Hitler salute. 

Peaches' new home was a garage, in which to hunt mice, and a screened-in porch to sun herself. She was afraid of the dogs at first, but after a little catnip, she calmed down. Over 400 hate crimes have been recorded since the election. I was finding the cat fascinating. I watched a Netflix video called The Lion in Your Living Room to help me understand her mannerisms, including the love-bite which I discouraged. Also, she's very vocal, and each "meow" means something different. We got her spayed and chipped, and then it got cold. We had no choice but to bring her in and risk what canine hysteria might follow, but to our surprise, the dogs were calm — except Nancy, who wants her to play. If Trump claims presidents are exempt from conflict-of-interest statutes and intends to continue involvement in his business, which one will be his day job? Peaches has her own room now and seems content to stay there. She'll come out eventually, but there's no rush. I've begun wondering, have I become a cat person in my dotage? I hear her prowling around at night, but because of my upbringing, I keep thinking she's trying to steal my credit card. Hey, Mr. Tangerine Man, play a song for me. In the jingle-jangle morning, I'll come following you.

Randy Haspel writes the Recycled Hippies blog.

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