The Rant 

Okay, truce. No thoughts or jokes about GWB this week, other than to say that I thoroughly enjoyed his video conference with the soldiers in Iraq, or was that a Saturday Night Live skit? Man. All that was missing was the plastic turkey. No, I want to convey a message about someone much more important than Bush is, was, or ever will be. Someone named Jeff. A single name, like Cher, Madonna, Prince, Di, Fabio, Gilligan, Mongo (at least before he became a prince and a king and a saint, or whatever; I just thank God he can still pull in the amount of votes he does when running for mayor of Memphis). Yes, Jeff is just a single name, but it's a name that means a lot to me. When you come from a family with a father who used to go out to get a haircut and come back two or three weeks later; with a mother who fretted relentlessly about not being able to get my brothers and me a pet owl because the one she wanted to adopt urinated across the room; with one brother who used to get up in his sleep and put on his ROTC uniform and march up and down in the bathtub in a few inches of water in our house in Parkway Village (a neighborhood, I might add, through which I drove the other day and finally saw that giant concrete statue of Buddha in someone's front yard, which is about the most fabulous thing I have ever seen); with another brother who loved to place small animals' heads into his mouth after having imbibed just a bit too much; and with yours truly, who had his own experimental fertilizer laboratory in the storage room off the carport -- having something constant in life, in the way of Jeff, has been, as Martha (one name now) would say, a Good Thing. A constant longtime companion. Someone who depended on me for almost everything. Someone who never minded spending hours on the sofa, head cuddling on my chest while I screamed at everything on television. Someone who, every single morning, woke me up and reminded me it was time to go to work. Someone who agreed with me that if Sonic had kept those same two guys in the drive-through line in their commercials and let them come out as gay lovers the restaurant chain would have made even more of a killing. Someone who used to also yawn at the Watson Girl, thinking she should move along to something more dignified at her age. Someone who always, always cared about me and someone who I always, always cared about, even when I didn't care about much of anything else. They call this "The Rant," but this is no rant. There's plenty of time for that later. I haven't even had the chance to start in on Tom DeLay. (Which is an unfortunate last name if he has an ejaculation problem!) This is about someone named Jeff. And those of you who've read this paper for any number of years and have put up with more B.S. from me than any decent human being should have to endure, might know that Jeff is a cat. Not just any cat, though. And not a fictional cat. My cat. My little love of my life. My little cat endured having toilet paper wrapped around her head like gauze to play "car-wreck kitty" and having a rag wrapped around her head babushka-style and being forced to pretend to say, "Oh, how much is that cabbage?" while playing Eastern European peasant woman. But at 19 years old and having been my little fluff-ball baby since she was five weeks old, my little Jeff finally ascended to the great Fancy Feast can of grilled trout in the sky a few days ago. And I just want to thank all of you readers who kept up with her and asked about her over the years. She was really something and not one bit spoiled. Right. She deserved every single bit of it.

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