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R.I.P. Andrew ‘AKfortyseven’ Wordes

Andrew Wordes

I often get a bit more emotionally involved than I ought to with many of the subjects I tackle, but with this one that was published in the American Daily Herald this morning, I was in a seething fury as I researched and wrote it. The subject, Andrew ‘AKfortyseven’ Wordes was someone a lot closer to my own life than those I usually discuss, and his story that ended on March 26 when he apparently took his own life rather than be evicted from his home had too many parallels with mine. The City of Roswell, Georgia had for years engaged in what I can only call an ongoing criminal conspiracy to ruin Andrew and take his property, and at the end Andrew took the only remaining action he evidently felt was available to him.

The story really resonates with me for another reason…in 2008, after pretending there was nothing wrong with me for almost a year and a half, when the disability determination people at the Social Security Administration finally acknowledged my disability I was within two weeks of losing my own home, as I’ve talked about here and summarized on one of my earliest Herald articles.

What would I have done if the foreclosure and eviction had proceeded…if the government hadn’t quit its pretending that I was healthy and able to work, instead of conceding the reality of my situation: barely able to walk, even then hobbling around with a four wheeled walker, penniless from more than two years without income, even unemployment insurance income, and sick with worry and fatigue?

What would I have done if that last knock had come on my door?

I honestly can’t say.

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Can’t Take Me Anywhere!

Well, my new piece is up at the American Daily Herald, so far so good…except I noticed a couple of tiny errors and only after I’d corrected them did I recall that if a contributor changes anything it messes up any embedded videos, so until Dennis or Denise can get to it, the unsettling YouTube video I embedded, ‘Lunch Scholars,’ is missing. Here it is, worth a watch as yet another indictment of our forced education/indoctrination system:

Sorry ’bout that…I don’t like touching anything I’ve published once it’s up anyway, it smacks of being unethical. Next time I see something that needs correction, I’ll pester one of the bosses!

For now if you haven’t seen it, check out Have You Seen the Fnords Yet? if you’d like.

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I’m Bowled Over!

By the responses and generosity displayed by you lovely folks for my Christmas appeal. You have, as usual, outdone yourselves and confirmed my faith and trust in peoples’ good nature. As you see in the sticky intro post, we’re at over 5% of the goal and climbing…an affirmation that this is the right path to follow to escape the dismal hole I’ve tumbled into as a result of this blasted affliction. I sincerely thank all of you, y’all are the best!

I’ve been slacking off during the holiday week…time to get back to the business of making this blog better known and more accessible to newcomers. I need to press forward with my plan to get dedication videos from some of my better known allies in this venture, again with helping assure those unfamiliar with me that my cause is entirely legitimate and urgent. You who know me are of course aware this is true, but those who don’t certainly deserve that assurance…asking them to spend even a dollar of their money on a cause they don’t have full confidence in is not reasonable.

Patience and consistent effort on my part will make all of this happen, of that I have no doubt whatsoever!

“I’m So Bored”

Those are three little words that I hate more than almost any other phrase in the English language. Not annoyed, irked, irritated, bothered, or even disturbed by it…though I do experience all of those to one degree or another…no, there’s just no milder word for the fundamental emotion in me when I see or hear it.

It’s one of the few things a person can utter, verbally or written, that makes me want to break my commitment to the Zero Aggression Principle and administer a good solid whack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper to the person saying it.

I know I’m not the only one wanting to deal out a little percussive therapy to its speaker upon hearing this, either. I’ve read countless stories of grandparents, parents, or other parties performing the same action or a close variant when a child or adolescent said those words. Now, I don’t believe that it’s ever okay to initiate force against anyone, so I’d get the speaker’s attention in a gentler way, but that’s one that I could never let pass.

If this description fits you, I gotta ask: how in God’s name can you possibly be bored, especially in this day and age? I’m not going to list all of the options available to you…that’ll give you the first thing to do to keep you busy, though I suspect you’re already familiar with many of them. Many people are but they can’t be bothered to do so much as lift a finger to avail themselves of the near-endless list of things they could be doing.

I’m seeing more and more of this nonsense every year month week day, it seems, and that tells me something:

Our culture is dying, and fast. Think I’m overstating the severity of this issue? Not hardly, as I want to discuss today.

What do people really mean when they claim they’re bored? It’s pretty obvious, they’re saying they’re simply too lazy to actually do anything, or even turn their brains up a notch beyond a lukewarm ‘standby’ position and think about something interesting. They want some kind of novel stimulation or sensation, and they want it brought to them, rather than looking for it. The prevalence of this attitude among so many people these days, young and not so young, scares the hell out of me, and it should scare the hell out of you, too. It’s dangerous, not only for the allegedly bored individual, but for those around them and in a larger view, the civilization in general.

People that dependent on simple sensation provided by others, rather than their own efforts to occupy their time or amuse themselves, have never learned how to think creatively or realized the value in being able to do so. Owing to the pervasive influence of both popular culture that grows more chaotic and nihilistic all the time, along with a public school system that actually discourages creativity and critical thought in favor of mindless repetition and regurgitation of whatever claptrap their bureaucratic doctrine deems appropriate to stuff down the throats of those they’re charged with ‘educating,’ we’re fast getting to the point of being a nation full of interchangeable lumps of protoplasm whose only goals are to work only as hard as they absolutely have to for survival while endlessly questing after that next new sensation to titillate their jaded palates.

This has been going on for so long that we now have multiple generations of human beings who have never learned the intrinsic value of learning for its own sake, or of doing quality work for the satisfaction of a job well done. They’ve never discovered how or why having a lower time preference for the important things in life is almost always more rewarding than always demanding instant gratification for everything; genuinely good things take effort, care, resources, and surprise, surprise…time to obtain. Most of the stories I mentioned concerning a concerned relative getting a youngster’s attention with a cuff to the back of their head or a smack to their posterior are reminiscences from long ago because of this. Nowadays Grandpa is as likely to be just as lackluster and as lazy as Junior is.

I really can’t blame popular culture for its actions (at least as far as so-called ‘entertainment’ goes); entertainment is a function of the market and while there are many independent providers of entertainment aimed at those with a functional IQ above room temperature, the vast majority must cater to the demands of the consumer in order to survive. If the majority of consumers demand mindless pablum or pure sensory entertainment, that’s exactly what they’ll get, regardless of the depths of cruelty, mortification or glitzy celebration of mediocre banality such products reach.

I just shake my head when I hear demands that government ‘do something’ to reduce the amount of this rubbish to protect consumers…from themselves. If the bureaucrats mandate higher quality material it’s usually as bad or even worse than the privately produced prolefeed, it’s just blander and more tasteless than the former to avoid being ‘offensive’ and almost always includes large amounts of self-aggrandizing material celebrating the presumed godlike qualities of the centralized and increasingly omnipresent State, which consumers are constantly urged to worship.

If people want quality entertainment, they must first decide for themselves what quality entertainment is. They can then demand it from the creators, who will be happy to deliver. People will freely choose what they want to watch and avoid that which they don’t…and the market will respond, since delivering the product people want will profit them, while failure to do so will lose them that profit. Is all this likely to happen soon? Nope, not as long as people are willing to keep shoveling down mindless swill.

The public will also need to shake themselves out of the hypnotic trance that they’ve been conditioned to and recognize that running to Mommy Government won’t help.

It never helps…at most it can give the illusion of helping. Government is in the business of extracting revenues (since it has no resources other than what it takes from other people), maintaining the illusion that it is all-powerful, all-knowing, beneficent and capable of providing every need of every person so they don’t have to take the responsibility themselves, all while jealously guarding its monopoly on force to perpetuate its unaccountability and power to coerce anyone who dares step out of line or challenge its assumed authority. There are well-meaning and decent people within government, to be sure, but even if every one of them spread that goodwill around as much as they were able, they can never overcome the fact that the machine they work for is fundamentally designed and has been adjusted every year to be at cross purposes to those good intentions of theirs.

Anyone remember Lily Tomlin’s character Ernestine from the old Laugh-In TV show? She summed up the situation best: “We’re the phone company. We don’t care…we don’t have to.”

http://vimeo.com/16175616

Speaking of monopolies, you can’t expect any help from the public schools in encouraging young people to think independently. As I mentioned earlier, the education brass have their own playbook and their own agenda, and have deliberately constructed a system of public schools that are fundamentally indoctrination centers for ensuring conformity, squashing creative thinking, and accustoming young people to the prison/institutional life.

This is a cynically planned system whose origins trace back to the early 19th century, when the authoritarian Prussian regime developed a uniform public education system. later furthered by Otto von Bismarck, and brought to the US in the early 20th century by proponents of the Progessive movement. Names like Horace Mann and John Dewey figure prominently in the Progressives’ relentless push to institutionalize the system here, and they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

In the simplest terms possible, this system is designed to turn out good little worker bees who will produce tirelessly for the collective, but never question their predetermined role or rock the boat. The majority are so well indoctrinated that they will fiercely defend their status as slaves against scary thoughts that threaten to make them aware of it. This indoctrinated belief is demonstrated brilliantly in the 1999 film, The Matrix, incidentally, which is why I strongly believe that it’s far more than just an entertaining science fiction action film, it’s important in its own right as an allegory of this phenomenon.

To be honest, I’m not terribly knowledgeable about this subject, I’m a pilot and instructor, not an academic. Still, I’ve read enough about it over the years, from so many vectors, that I’ve been throughly convinced of its validity for a long time. If this interests you, you’re better served by doing your own research to learn about it, and I can’t think of a better place to start than the writings of John Taylor Gatto.

Gatto was deeply involved in the public education system for many years, reaching his high mark in 1991 when he was named New York State Teacher of the Year, after being named New York City Teacher of the Year on three occasions…but evidently had a change of heart after all he’d seen, quitting the system in that year and claiming that he was no longer willing to hurt children. Like Major General Smedley Butler of the USMC, who had his own epiphany after many years in that branch of the military…one of 19 people to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions…wrote his famous text War Is a Racket in the early 1930s, Gatto thereafter has devoted his energy to communicating the facts about the system he’d experienced himself. I strongly admire this kind of uncommon integrity, and if you’d like to see what Mr. Gatto’s been up to, visit him here.

Not only do we have a nation rapidly filling with these bored people, they’re almost always incapable of independent and creative thought, as well as lacking in any disciplined form of moral teachings. This is a recipe for disaster on a cataclysmic scale. During the Depression of the 1930s, a great many people were poor, out of work or both, yet the morality of the times mostly prevented them from the kind of the mindless and destructive mobs we’ve seen a huge increase of in recent years. That sort of morality, of any origin, has been derided and marginalized for so many years now that these days we not only see masses of ignorant people, they often seem proud of it. The celebration of ignorance or even stupidity as if it were a virtue is frightening in its scope, along with the showcasing of cruelty, destructiveness, and mortification of others as ‘entertainment.’

People are rapidly losing the ability to communicate anything coherently, not just organized dissenting thoughts that the creators of the Prussian-based education system feared…an unintended consequence, I have no doubt. As they lose their ability to communicate at a level higher than glorified grunts, so too they lose their ability to learn even the skills needed for them to be those productive worker bees that the Progressives wanted so badly. The obvious result will be a consistently falling standard of living for all, which increases the likelihood of more crime, fraud and theft, which in turn is exactly what governments like to see, since they have increasing justification for more and more thuggery and repression.

And round and round it goes, every turn of the wheel giving momentum to the downward spiral of civilization.

That reminds me, hand in hand with the general decay of civilization goes the incivility of people. Simply put, they get ruder, touchier and more contentious every year while expecting to be handed more and more resources produced by other people. This should be a red flag to any honest student of history as yet another indicator of a world in crisis.

Years ago, I read a discussion of this phenomenon in the novel Friday, by the great science fiction writer, philosopher and critic Robert A. Heinlein. In it, two of his characters discuss how to spot a sick culture:

It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn’t the whole population…

Before a revolution can take place, the population must lose faith in both the police and the courts.

High taxation is important and so is inflation of the currency and the ratio of the productive to those on the public payroll. But that’s old hat; everybody knows that a country is on the skids when its income and outgo get out of balance and stay that way – even though there are always endless attempts to wish it way by legislation. But I started looking for little signs and what some call silly-season symptoms.
I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course – but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking way at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down…

He goes on to say:

Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named… But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength.

Does all of this sound familiar to you, things you can now see every single day with your own eyes? You might want to reflect on the fact that he wrote these words in 1983…and these problems were bad enough at that point. They’ve had almost thirty years since then to get worse.

There’s no easy fix. The trouble we’re in has taken a long, long time to metastasize and it will take a long time to repair the damage…assuming it’s not too late. I’d like to believe it isn’t.

I suggest that if you want to help begin solving these issues, start small. Forget grand, sweeping schemes; they invariably try to force people to think differently, which never works…and it’s sheer hubris to think it can. We need to persuade people by example, one at a time.

The next time you hear someone complain of boredom, rather than whacking them on the nose with that rolled up newspaper (tempting as it may be in the short term), take a few minutes and talk to them. Try to show them that there’s a whole world out there that they can genuinely profit from…and have a lot of fun with…by learning about it. This won’t be easy, but once you can reverse that slide downwards, learning can be just as self perpetuating as the negative slide toward ignorance, and will build momentum as a person gets more and more satisfaction from doing so.

Convince them to get up and away from the TV and get out TODAY…take a walk, hike a trail, ride a bike, anything to break that stagnation. As an aside, I’ll stress the importance of getting started with these things NOW, not put them off for some indeterminate time in the future. Apart from the hazard that they’ll never get done, there’s always a chance that injury or disease can destroy the ability to do them. Tomorrow might be too late.

Much as I lament the things I can’t do anymore, it’s hard to describe just how glad I am that I did them when I had the chance. One of the saddest things I know is talking with people who became disabled as I did but never got around to doing the things they always meant to do some day… and now they can’t. The longing and regret that radiates from these folks is almost palpable, and can be almost overwhelming in its despair. As much as I’m annoyed or worried whenever I hear someone whine that they’re bored, it must be excruciatingly painful for these people.

I honestly believe that we as individuals can turn things around if we’re willing to have the patience and guts to do it. We really don’t have much choice unless we’re willing to sit by and watch while we’re engulfed by a new Dark Age.

Glenn

Ya Gotta Have Friends

I don’t mean all the great people out there that I’m proud to call my friends…I sure do treasure them, but today I want to talk about the two who live with me. They’re definitely people too, though they’re a bit smaller than most and are on the furry side.

I’m talking about my two cats, of course. Say what you want about animals, they have strong personalities, they have moods, good and bad, and they definitely have a sense of humor. You might not pick up on this even if you’re a cat fancier. I’m not claiming to have some kind of prescience or ESP…I’m just at home most of the time. A healthy and active person isn’t.

I’ll start with Archie, the older of the two. I first met him as a mere stripling in 2003. The lady across the street from me has this thing about taking animals in and Archie was her latest acquisition. Being an inquisitive and friendly youngster, he got in the habit of coming over to visit, which I encouraged, being quite taken with my new neighbor.   He was aware that I already had a pair of cats, one of which was very territorial, so contented himself with hanging out on the stone wall in my driveway, and would often greet me at night when I went out to work, or in the mornings when I returned home. We became fast friends, and we spent a lot of time enjoying each other’s company when the weather was fair.

Time passed, and I noticed that the lady across the street, while eager to take in animals, didn’t seem too interested in actually taking care of them, and after his novelty wore off, she quit taking care of Archie. He became a street cat. He also grew mistrustful of people, and rarely came over any more. I’d see him occasionally, hanging out on the corner with the other neighborhood street cats. There’d usually be a bunch of them sitting there, glaring suspiciously at the world just like JD street toughs…all that was missing were the Marlboros dangling from their mouths and the black leather jackets.

I hated seeing this change and grew to detest the sight of my neighbor. She took in dogs as well, but never let them in her house…I’d see them morosely huddled together on her small patio in winter, trying to keep warm. She must have fed them, but it couldn’t have been that great a life, and once in a while the dogs would get out and roam around, likely looking for a handout. One spring day I came out of the house and found a trash bag I’d put out ripped open, the contents scattered all over my driveway. The culprit, a medium sized fellow, stood there wagging his tail proudly as if seeking praise for the fine job he’d done. He was moderately skinny, but my neighbor, though she couldn’t seem to be bothered with such banalities as actually taking care of the animal, had gone to the trouble of tying a colorful neckerchief around his neck, hippie style. How cute. I so admire people who really have their priorities straight.

Archie must have discovered warm spots during these winters that kept him from freezing; I rarely saw him, but would occasionally catch a glimpse of him as he slunk around bushes and trees, looking awfully skinny with his ribs showing.

Even then he clearly remembered me. I’d go out sometimes at night and there he’d be on our old stone wall, like he was waiting for me to hang out with him again, but he’d turn and run when I approached him.

This situation was heartbreaking, and I actually made plans to kidnap Archie, fly him to our hub in Atlanta, and deliver him to a friend of mine at work who’d be sure to take care of him. I never quite worked up the stones to carry out the plan though, having vague worries about getting caught in the act and what might happen to me as a courier pilot if I got a felony trespassing/theft/whatever conviction on my record. Yeah, I wussed out, but even that worked out well in the end, as you’ll see.

Fast forward to the winter of 2007. One day I was standing on the recently built ramp giving access from my porch door to the driveway, smoking a cigar and in a dismal, foul mood, and who should walk purposefully up to me but Archie! He stood there looking at me gravely a moment, then hopped on the wooden handrail, came to me as if nothing had ever been different, and allowed me to pet him. I was shocked…what had changed? He was looking healthier than when I’d last seen him, lean but not actually skinny.

I had just been denied for the second time for the permanent disability status I desperately needed by the Social (IN)Security Administration, even though by then my walking had deteriorated badly enough that I needed the support of a four wheeled walker, my left arm and hand were fast losing their usefulness, I was experiencing the nasty fatigue and cognitive issues that have never abated, and my insides were getting as spastic as my outsides. If you think a spastic bladder and bowels are funny, you just ain’t wired right. I haven’t needed a friend at hand so badly as I did at that moment, and Archie picked that precise time to appear.

He hung around for a while and we enjoyed each other’s company, just like old times. After a while, having evidently decided he’d cheered me up sufficiently, he took off. I didn’t see him for a couple of weeks and by then things had changed a lot.

That week, my cat Samantha nosed open the connecting door separating that part of the house from my then-housemate’s dogs. They were surprised and curious but didn’t go after her. She retreated, then apparently turned to do battle, but at that moment she suffered a brain embolism and dropped dead on the spot. I was out having lunch at the time (I think that was my last visit to a restaurant, in fact) and discovered her when I got home. Needless to say I was horrified and furious at the same time, thinking the dogs had killed her, but quickly found out that wasn’t the case.

For one, the first thing we found was my housemate’s female dog standing over Samantha’s body…but not to harm her; she was licking the body, trying to revive her. Ye gods.

Examining the body, there wasn’t a mark on her. She had just…unplugged. I calmed down, figured out what had happened and a few days later with some help from a friend got her buried on the property.

A few days after this fiasco, Archie showed up at my door and made it clear that he not only wanted to come in…he now lived here. I was delighted, but puzzled. The timing was just too perfect to be a coincidence…somehow he’d known all this was going to happen. I have no clue how, and still don’t. He just knew. And when the time was right, he came home.

Later, Vya entered the picture. I’d survived the disability approval ordeal and managed to keep my house, and I had a different housemate, the daughter of a woman I knew. One day she asked if she could adopt a kitten, and I cautiously approved, reminding her that this was a big responsibility to take on and I expected her to treat the kitten well. You folks with kids have probably made the same speech, I’m sure.

Vya made her entrance a week or so later. I was charmed immediately. She was tiny, even for a kitten, obviously a runt, but with enough personality for ten cats.

I asked my housemate why she chose the name ‘Vya’ and she replied that it was a random nonsense word that occurred to her.

I wasn’t thrilled by this and tried Googling the name to check if it existed, with an interesting results. It seems that ‘Vya’ turns out to the the name of a rather upscale vermouth!

This was a lot better. As far as I was concerned, Vya was named after a fortified wine. An aperitif that could make the elusive perfect Martini. The name is short and sweet, and so is this cat. Here we have another nifty coincidence…out of my housemate’s random choice we get a name that’s logical and rather suave…see a pattern emerging?

Things don’t always work out like in the movies. Vya and my housemate were inseparable, best pals…for about three days. Then my housemate got back to what she considered her ordained function in the Universe, being Cute and Popular, and little Vya was relegated to the status of a stuffed animal once the novelty had worn off…loved and cosseted for about five minutes a day, then forgotten while her mistress went off to yatter on Facebook or go out with her friends.

She wasn’t even allowed in my housemate’s room, much less to sleep in her bed, for fear she would do something ‘icky.’ What is with people???

Of course she quickly became my cat. We bonded instantly, and when I went to bed she was there, ready to perch on me for a while, happily kneading away at the blanket as cats do before taking up station on a nearby pillow.

I should have seen it coming. One night my housemate left both my house door and the storm door to the porch propped open to cart some stuff from her car in, but before doing that, she flounced off to yap with her friends on Facebook. The cat, inquisitive as many are by nature, took this as an invitation to explore the great outdoors. I was horrified, but Ms. Popularity was unconcerned.

I badly wanted to go outside to look for her and couldn’t…I was moving slower than the average little old lady with my walker, and with it being dark already I’d likely lose my balance and take a header into the aggregate driveway. My housemate was of course far too busy with more important matters, so we left both doors open in hopes the cat would return when she got bored with exploring.

It wasn’t too long a wait. I was working at my desk when a short while later I felt a rustling at my feet. It was Vya, come home and curling up at my feet as she’d gotten in the habit of doing. I was relieved.

Then I reached down to pet her…and she screamed.

And my hand came away bloody.

Evidently this tiny cat had run into a larger animal, probably one of the dogs in the neighborhood that careless owners let run free. Whatever it was had torn her wide open on both sides, and I could actually see inside her, through the huge bloody gashes. Sick with horror, I called for help from my housemate, who tore herself away from Facebook long enough to fetch my pet carrier from the garage.

We placed Vya carefully inside the carrier on a towel, trying to make her as comfortable as possible, knowing we’d have to wait until morning for the nearby veterinary clinic to open. There are emergency clinics open all night, but I simply didn’t have the funds on hand to pay the huge expense that would certainly be involved.

I’ve been in pretty bad pain before, but it was nothing compared to sitting up with that cat all night. When I fell in my living room a year ago and waited three days for my power wheelchair to arrive, when I fell in my bathroom on hard tile and spent almost an hour and a half trying to get my mostly useless self back in that chair…neither can compare to that horrible night.

Vya was in agony, screaming in pain every few minutes, and there was nothing I could do but be there for her. Unlike most animals in severe pain that will bite or claw a person trying to touch them, she simply stretched her paw through the mesh door of the carrier so I could hold it, and I did just that for hours.

At one point I was sure I’d lost her when she let out another scream and fell silent. Looking inside, I couldn’t see if she was breathing, but I saw no movement.

I’ve seen some awful things in my time, but nothing so sad, nothing so tragic, as the sight of that tiny paw protruding from the mesh door, motionless.

I was beside myself, already beginning to grieve for my little friend, when I heard the thing I hadn’t dared hope for…Vya screamed again! What a courageous soul…evidently she’d fainted from the pain, but she was conscious again and letting me know it.

The waiting seemed endless, but finally the morning arrived. My housemate eventually emerged and got moving, taking Vya to the vet clinic, armed with only my credit card with it’s small remaining balance.

I had a bad moment when the girl phoned to tell me that the clinic intended to charge over $1500 for the surgery needed to save Vya’s life. I told her to beg, to plead on my behalf that while I couldn’t pay that amount, I would do anything they asked if they’d just help my friend. There must have been real human beings working the morning shift at that clinic, since my housemate called back shortly to tell me they’d agreed to perform the surgery for the few hundred dollars left on my credit card.

Vya came home the next day, stitched and stapled back together up both sides and with a rubber tube shunt protruding from her left side for drainage…but alert and happy to be home.

wounded but aliveright side showing stapled wound

She healed rapidly, and the shunt was removed at the end of that week. The staples were removed on a follow-up visit the next week, and Frankencat became just a convalescent and recovered fully in quite a short time.

After the excitement was over, my housemate told me that the vets and assistants at the clinic had told her that normally they would have just euthanized Vya due to the extent of her injuries, but she was so alert, clear eyed and downright lively that they went ahead and fixed her up.

Today, Vya and Archie are happy, chubby and content. Archie, ever the outdoorsman, still prefers being outside to in much of the time and I’d worry a lot more about him if he hadn’t proven he’s pretty bulletproof wih his time as a street cat.

The only thing unpleasant about his nature these days is that for some reason he absolutely hates my power wheelchair, and has since it arrived. My theory is that he sees it as a vehicle, and to him a vehicle inside the house just offends his sensibilities.

He’s made some progress: at first he’d just run away if I got near him, but he’s more or less okay with it now. He’s still surly sometimes when I’m petting him, and sometimes whines, growls or even hisses, which tells me it still gives him the creeps. He’s never acted on this bad attitude; when he can’t take any more love, he just gets up and goes to another room. I confess I’m still angry with my neighbor for abandoning him and screwing up his psyche.

Still, even when he’s feeling crabby, I notice he parks himself close to me, and a couple of times he’s even jumped into my lap in the chair, as he used to do when I was in my desk chair.

He’s definitely got a sense of humor, and often when he finds something hilarious, he rolls around on his back, tosses his head and laughs. Silently, to be sure, but there’s no mistaking the silly look on his face and the way his mouth moves. If you’ve never see a cat grinning and laughing, you might not believe it…but I’m here to tell you it’s true.

He’s almost unbelievably indulgent with Vya, even though sometimes his role as the Fierce Jungle Beast comes through and he’ll shove her out of the way when they’re feeding to eat from her bowl, or lightly cuff her in the face if she’s in the mood to play and he isn’t, but she’s fearless and despite her HO scale size isn’t afraid to cuff him right back.

She really does have a case of hero worship going on with Archie, and usually politely defers to his Elder Statesman status, but when she’s feeling feisty she can dish it out as well as take it. It’s a good thing he’s so protective and indulgent with her as he is, because he could just swallow her in a few mouthfuls if that wasn’t true!

I love it when they both get in that slightly deranged, manic mood that seems peculiar just to cats at the same time and get to chasing each other through the house or up and down the large cat tree in my living room, batting away at each other in a frenzied game of ‘got you last.’ Yep, I said ‘each other;’ it’s a sight to see Vya, who can’t weigh more than a pound or so, chasing a 13 pound Archie running from her at top speed and pretending he’s afraid of her.

These moments usually take place at odd hours and happen fast, so I don’t have any photos of them in action…yet. Maybe one day I’ll catch them when there’s enough light and my camera’s available…

As to Vya herself, what more can I say? She’s the most loving caregiver a person could ask for, doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and is unquenchably cheerful. I never had the urge to have children, but Vya is my little girl, my child, almost as much as a human kid would be.

Beyond this being a story I felt I had to tell just for its own merits, it again shows the kind of miracles I’ve seen over the last few years, the sort of almost unbelievable example of wondrous things emerging from horrible beginnings that’s right before me when I’m feeling really low, or when my faith that everything will turn out all right starts getting shaky.

Archie survived abandonment, near starvation and loneliness over three winters out in the street…but he still ended up coming home to me in the end. What’s more, he knew exactly when it was time.

Vya, the bravest soul I’ve ever encountered, dragged her tiny, torn body from my driveway up two ramps, my porch and into my living room to get back to me when she was wounded and bleeding, spent a night in such awful pain that Hell must seem a vacation spot by comparison, and came back from that to be the loving and playful little beast she is today, one who’s always in a happy mood that’s capable of putting a smile on my face even when I’m in the lowest state.

How could I look at these two and NOT believe that miracles can and do happen?

Like I said, ya gotta have friends…and I think can say without sounding hokey or fake that I’ve been blessed to have these two in my life.

This tale has taken me the better part of two days to set down, with a lot of breaks, caffeine, nicotine, and Coca Cola to help me along, but it was more than worth the effort.

You know what do do to let me know you agree. By donating, no matter how small an amount, you too become a part of this story, again illustrating that miracles can…and do happen. Thanks for listening!

Glenn

Don't be fooled, they're just recharging their batteries...