January 31st 2013 11:49 pm
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For a few days now, I keep finding my computer trackballs have somehow been diving off my computer desk and the balls themselves somehow have been coming out of the trackballs and traveling impossible distances to impossible places. The trackball balls achieved all their impossible journeys without having ever once been caught in the process of traveling!
I don't know why trackballs haven't totally replaced computer mice. I love trackballs, they're so much better than mice because instead of having to move the entire unit around, the unit is stationary and you only move the little ball around. With a trackball, you don't ever end up running the unit off of a mouse pad or off the edge of a desk. Best of all with a trackball you can even kick back on your bed, prop yourself up with some pillows, put your laptop on your lap, plug the trackball into the USB port, set the trackball on your lap or beside you, and relax as you work on your laptop or play a game. The only problem I have when doing this is that sometimes my view of the screen becomes partially obscured by a small black warm furry opaque object that tends to enjoy laying on my lap between me and my laptop.
Computer trackball balls are heavy and solid and they can't travel very fast or very far on carpet. A ball that falls out of a trackball and lands on carpet usually will only travel a foot or two at most from the spot where it landed. Even if a trackball ball could make it all the way to one of the doorways to the room, the doorsill would stop the rolling ball instantly.
Both of my desktop trackballs are of the design where the ball is recessed on the side of the trackball. With this design, there's a small hole in the trackball bottom cover under the ball where you can push the ball upward and out with an object such as an ink pen.
If a trackball of this design falls right side up and lands right side up, the ball will not fall out of it and even if it lands upside down, the ball doesn't always fall out of it. It's not that easy to pry the ball out of this style of trackball. I hadn't caught any cats trying to mess with the trackballs. There's no way a cat could pry the ball out of this style of trackball. A cat cannot pick up a trackball ball in its mouth because of it's size, smoothness, and heavy weight.
Mysteriously, my trackballs have been taking dives off the computer desk, and the balls have been jumping out of the trackballs and traveling impossible distances to such strange hard to reach places as the exact center of the area under the bed, where it can't be reached from either side thus making it necessary to go find a broom and use the broomstick to knock the ball out from under the bed. Another trackball ball turned up in such impossible places as under a chair in the next room, meaning it had to travel an impossible distance on carpet, levitate itself over a doorsill, then travel at an angle across carpet for several feet to reach the chair and go under it. The most impossible trackball ball journey so far has been when somehow a trackball ball traveled across carpet, levitated over the doorsill, traveled several feet further across the living room carpet, made a 90 degree lefthand turn, traveled 10 or more feet across the living room carpet in this new direction, and came to rest under Charlie the Blue Front Amazon parrot's cage. Is this the work of playful ghosts or what?
Last night I was doing some work on my laptop, I got sleepy, and nodded off. I don't know how long I dozed before suddenly.... CRASH!!! I opened my eyes to see that a trackball had just taken a dive off my computer desk. Quickly I half closed my eyes again and pretended to be still sleeping. Now was my chance to get to the bottom of this traveling trackball ball mystery. But after that first crash, all was quiet. And btw, My laptop was still on my lap, my trackball was beside me.
Then (JAWS music here....) CHOMP!! Something grabbed the trackball that was attached to my laptop and like the scene in Jaws where the buoys that are attached to the shark get pulled underwater, my trackball got pulled down onto the floor and then started to disappear under the bed. I decided to stay quiet, not intervene, and let this trackball shark drama play itself out
Thwacking noises emanated from under the bed that clearly indicated the trackball was being banged around against the wall behind the headboard. Then....silence again. It stayed silent for awhile, I don't know how long.
Suddenly a couple of the cats on the bed alerted and turned their heads toward the bedroom doorway that leads to the living room. I quickly thought how glad I was that I'd left on a small light in the living room so I'd be able to see what it was that had alerted the cats.
Out from under the bottom corner of the bed nearest the living room doorway came a little black shadow that was unmistakably...Uno. She had obviously managed to get the ball out of the trackball and now was busily rolling it toward the doorway with her front paws. When she reached the doorway, she performed a maneuver that astounded me. In one swift motion she somehow got one forepaw under the ball and with the other forepaw on the the upper part of the ball and half scooped, half threw the ball upward and forward with enough momentum that it neatly flew right across the doorsill and dropped onto the living room carpet on the other side about a foot away from a big chair that sits in the living room near the bedroom door. As soon as the ball landed, Uno swiftly rolled it under the chair.
At this point, I got up and as soon as Uno heard me get up, she took off in the opposite direction as cats usually do when they're doing things they shouldn't and don't want their humans to catch them in the act. I retrieved the ball from under the chair, fished the trackball out from under the bed, put the ball back in it, and put the trackball in a drawer. As far as I know, Uno hasn't figured out how to open drawers yet!
Although I don't appreciate any cat messing with my trackballs or any of my other computer equipment, I still had to admire the cleverness of that little one-eyed cat for her problem solving skills and the way she so neatly used every bit of cover to her utmost advantage. Uno's initial "Jaws" strike on the trackball cord was made from under the bed and then she promptly dragged the trackball back under the bed. Her manipulations to dislodge the ball from the trackball were all done out of sight under the headboard and against the wall. It amazes me how she figured out that hitting the trackball against the wall was a good way to knock the ball out of the trackball. I wish I could have had x-ray vision to see just how she did it.
The spot where Uno emerged from under the bed to head for the doorway was the absolute closest spot possible to that doorway. The spot where she went under the chair in the living room was the closest place to the door where she could get out of the open and go back undercover again. Her dexterity at manipulating the ball across the doorsill really surprised me. As I said before, a trackball ball is heavy, solid, and smooth. I wouldn't have expected any cat to even be able to get it off the ground with her forepaws. How Uno managed to hang onto and control the ball well enough to scoop it up and hurl it across the doorsill with her forepaws the way she did. It was a remarkable feat of coordination, skill, and timing, made even more remarkable by the fact that the ball landed only a foot from the chair that was the nearest possible place where she could get under cover and out of sight again.
We humans are supposed to be smarter than animals but if that's true, how is it that a little cat is able to make it a serious challenge for me to try to figure out a way to convince her to leave my trackballs alone? For a moment I was thinking how nice it would be if Uno and the other cats could turn their energy and cleverness to doing something useful such as changing their own kitty litter or doing the dishes. Then I come to the realization, in a lot of ways our cats really are smarter than we humans! After all it's the cats who figured out how to psych us humans into willingly becoming their slaves. The cats are so smart they've even managed to psych us humans into enjoying being their slaves!!!
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MOL! This story is awesome! and, "The cats are so smart they've even managed to psych us humans into enjoying being their slaves" nails it right on the head...and what's even better is that although we realize this, we are powerless to do anything about it!
Purrs -Calísta's, mom