The holidays are coming, and so is the eternal problem of finding a gift my cat, Stella, will actually like. I decided to ask her for tips.
Hey, Stella. How can I give you a good present this year? What do you want?
What did you give me last year? Oh, right. You gave me that cardboard box. That was a good box.
Stella, I gave you the cat bed INSIDE the box.
What cat bed?
The cat bed you’ve ignored in this room for a year.
There’s a cat bed in this room?
There’s a cat bed RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.
Oh, that thing.
You never once sat it in. You never even LOOKED at it.
I felt its presence.
And what was wrong with its presence?
It seemed to want something from me.
It’s a cat bed! It wants you to sit in it!
See, that’s the thing. Cats aren’t into needy furniture. That box, though, man, it wanted nothing from me. That was a sweet box.
So you just want a cardboard box for Christmas this year?
It doesn’t work that way.
Of course it doesn’t. Do I dare ask why?
Well, you can’t just buy a cardboard box expecting it to be a cat bed. That makes it a needy box. I don’t need that in my life.
Nobody said gift giving was easy.
What about if the box was from, say, that new espresso maker I’ve had my eye on?
Don’t try to outfox me. The box speaks to me.
OK, what about a new food bowl? It seems you’ve liked all of those I’ve given you over the years.
The cat bowls? You know, the ones that say things like “meow” and “pretty kitty” on them?
Wait, the bowls are different?
What? Yeah, you have like 10 different bowls I rotate.
Huh, interesting. I only see the food.
You what? What about when the food is gone?
Then I don’t see the food anymore, and I move on.
And you never even see the bowl?
Why would I be looking at the bowl if the food is gone?
Let me get this straight: You’ve never seen ANY of the bowls I’ve bought you? That’s insane.
That’s evolution. As high-level predators, we need to filter out the noise to keep alert for possible dangers.
Oh, here we go …
I figure I’ve saved myself from death 17,863 times by being so highly alert.
You’ve kept count.
It passes the hours.
I don’t call running away from the mail carrier every day “saving yourself from death.”
And yet here I am, still alive. OK, back to my gift. I do know of one special thing you can give me.
We’re not raising chickens for you to kill, Stella.
Oh, come on! Think of what you’d save on the cat bowls I apparently use.
Tell you what: You try sleeping in your cat bed from last Christmas, and I’ll grill some chicken Christmas morning.
No deal. That bed wants too much from me. I don’t trust it.
It wants you to sleep in it!
Sleep … or die?
Hey, I didn’t get to be 19 by throwing myself on every death pillow someone tosses in front of me.
Fine. I’ll find you another cardboard box.
Thank you. I can already tell I’ll hate it.