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Are You Smarter Than a 6 Year Old Cat?

Monday, January 25, 2021

We got Plato when I was in primary school. Adorable little kitten. The older cat was definitely bigger and stronger, but Plato was by far the more energetic and excitable. Along with the strings, toy mouse and stuffed birds with bells on a stick was …. Wait for iiiiiitttt…..

Basically Plato would be resting/sleeping on the bed and then one of the humans would come over. There would be a scratching noise which would awaken the vicious beast from his slumber. The human, with only one hand visible, would then point out “The THING!” which was under the blanket. As “the thing” would start moving around while making scratching noises.

“Come on, Plato! Get the thing!!!”

Plato was usually already on it and would pounce, trying to bite it and would even catch it a few times. But it would slip away. More movement and more scratching noises and the battle continued. Eventually the kitty would tire. When calmed down, the human would then scratch Plato’s cheek and/or rub tummy.

I remember the day I (now in my teens) went into my room, sat down on my bed as Plato woke to the scratching noise. “Come on!! Get the thing!”. The cat gave me an uncertain look.

Plato watched “The thing” move for about 10 seconds while doing nothing. As does any parent who has a child of the age where Santa being real or not is on the table, I had to think fast. I took my visible hand and started swatting and grabbing at “The Thing” when it came toward me. Grasping it, for a second only to have it escape.

Less than two seconds later, Plato was back in the game. I’m sure Plato reasoned, “Why would he attack his own hand?”

That charade lasted about five or so months until finally one day, Plato just looked at me with that “Don’t dream, it’s over kiddo” look. From that point on tummy rubs and cheek scratches were Plato’s drink of choice when dealing with the humans.

Plato smartened up. Played along for a while until the concept jumped the shark so to speak. How about you?

In life we are all part of entities, organizations, circles of friends. We have co-workers, relatives and relationships where in the beginning we truly are in and of them. We believe in them and they nourish us. That person with the cause befriends us. The religious leader listens to us. The boss appreciates the extra time we put in. The financial advisor spends time with us planning. We often know it’s at least partially an act or sell, but it’s real enough.

Then after awhile, we start notice it;

The warm “It’s so good to see you.” turns into the slightly judgmental “We missed you last week.”

We read the article or watch the video about how financial planners get commissions on transactions and wonder, “Is this person really looking out for my best interest?”

The Alma Mater’s newsletter has shifted from boasting of high national academic rankings and successful Alumni to this weird pseudo spiritual expression of student life.

That medical, ESOL or plant missionary to the third world country who inspired a generous monthly pledge seems to be back home a lot more and in a more administrative capacity. Their newsletter has more images of their new family than those who they were serving when you initially started.

That candidate who campaigned as a “true champion for the little guy" who you’ve contributed to every two years, well….What have they actually done for the little guy recently? Ever, honestly?

You find yourself still instinctively batting when they make the scratching noise and the blankets start moving.

The struggle is in the conflict. Questioning that person/organization that you once put your faith, money or fellowship into represents conflict. First with the internal, “Have I been fooled all this time” followed by the tacit sense of guilt you will be made to feel for questioning said person or organization.

Be brutally honest with yourself though, there are people and identities still in your life that you are not still at peace with. They are part of your life and often part of who you are. Ask yourself the hard questions. Are they who they were when you first engaged? Are you still who you were?

Have you outgrown them and is it time to look more quizzically at them?

To the true matter at hand, if you knew then about them what you know today, would you have started attending, contributing to, advocating for (etc.) them? If so, would you invest the same level of time, energy or devotion?

Peace comes not by avoiding the internal conflicts and tough questions, but rather by addressing said. I challenge you to take a look at the “things under the blankets” of your life and make peace with them. Re-calibrate your time, attention and efforts according to what is most important to you and yours. Maybe nothing will or even needs to change, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If it does, then well….just sayin’.

I say this as one who has no vested interest in your time, money, devotion, etc.. You are very precious and valuable. Treat your time, money, effort, etc. accordingly.

It was a sad loss not to be able to watch Plato enjoy attacking the “thing under the blankets”. At seven years old, though, Plato earned every tummy rub and cheek scratch from then on.

-TD Out!
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