Rambo’s Pain

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

Rambo’s Pain

Of all God’s creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash.  That one is the cat.  If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” –Mark Twain

Rambo hobbled across the floor.  He had suffered a grave injury; one which he would never fully recover from.  Rambo had been scratched, scraped, and attacked before.  This time was different.  He could feel the powerful drugs that had been administered by men in face masks starting to wear off.  Rambo was still groggy, but he was conscious enough to comprehend what had been done to him.  Rambo looked at his fresh scar and howled.  It is a cruel fate indeed to have a cat “snipped”.

You want to cut -what- now?

Rambo walked through his home with illusions floating about him.  He suddenly felt the need to run up to the kitchen counter, meow, and run back to the bathroom.  He wasn’t exactly sure what mystery force was out to get him, but he let the delusions dictate his behavior for the moment.  Of course, once he stopped scurrying about, he realized the price of his exertion.  His front paws were just fine, but Rambo’s hind legs had a stinging pain that was exacerbated by his antics.  The result was a slightly rhythmic tone in his mind with every span of ground he passed.  As his paws went “step step, step step”, his nerves answered back “fine-Ow!, fine-Ow!”.

The newly butchered cat tried to figure out what he had done to deserve such a cruel punishment.  Yes, he had lobbed his fair share of hairballs onto the carpet.  It was summer, it was hot, and his fur still needed to be maintained.  What else was a cat to do?  That wasn’t the sort of activity that would be hindered by having “those” organs removed.  Perhaps his owners were jealous of the attention he had lavished upon the next door cat.

He couldn’t help what came naturally to his him.  They were called instincts for a reason.  And Rambo had always had a thing for Siamese felines.  He was just being neighborly.  Humans, they just didn’t understand.

Go. Away.

At last, the sun began to shine in the perfect way.  Rambo knew that there was still one treat left in his life.  There would be no more associating with the finer residents of his species.  No more frolicking.  And running after anything, be it mouse or dust bunny, was simply out of the question until he healed up.  But there was one hope for enjoyment in the cat’s life.

Rambo settled on a warm spot of carpet as the afternoon sun lulled him back to sleep.  Rambo the mighty would not be denied this one final comfort.  After all that had been taken from him, the cat just wanted to lay in the sunbeam and be the master of his small domain.

The Ring and the First Date

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

The Ring and the First Date

She just seemed so darn nice.  I mean, in this world of people that are busily busing and bustling, she had this pleasant way about her.

We met in church.  “Met” would be a loose term; perhaps even inaccurate.  I started coming to the church after she did, so she already had her pew assignment all figured out.  Me, I had nothing to prove.  I sat in the middle of the middle.  The cool college kids sat off to the left.  The older folks tended towards their aisle seats in the back.  She happened to put herself about three rows from the front.

I don’t want to say that the only reason I went to that church was for attractive Christians, but it certainly wasn’t a deterrent.  Yes, I was looking for people my own age.  Still, I maintain that not once did I say, “Hey.  You look all kinds of Christian.  God thinks you and I should totally go out.”  (If you do hear that kind of line?  Run.  Run far.  Even if you’re wearing expensive heels.)  However, here was this lovely, seemingly normal, attractive gal.  So of course I took a liking to her.

Now, I’m not one that feels the need to introduce myself on first encounter.  I’m a patient enough type; I can wait to feel out a situation.  The more I waited, the more I wondered what was taking me so long.

I’m not a Christian that takes communion; it has never felt like something that I needed to do.  I stood in front of my seat and thought about God while everybody else lined all nice and orderly, took their bread and wine, and walked back to their seat.  I still think I’m probably the only one who just stood there the whole time.  (I checked with the pastors.  They didn’t really care.  They do communion their way, I practice it mine.)  However, whenever she was one of the servers, she just looked so darn welcoming.  She leaned towards people and smiled.  It was a pretty great smile.  She had that air about her; a kindness.  I’m a firm believer that there is not enough kindness in the world so how could I ignore someone who exemplified it so well?

As with all things that seem pretty intriguing, there was a catch.  She liked to raise her hand toward the ceiling during certain songs.  There, on the important finger, was a ring.  Well, shoot.  I checked for several Sundays to be certain.  Every week, there it was just as it had been before.

I don’t break up couples.  It’s bad mojo.  I figured some guy was rather blessed to have her in his life and I couldn’t blame him for making a commitment.  I thought the ring was a little small, personally, but if she liked it then that was all that mattered.  I assumed that the fellow had won the bout and I should keep to myself.

Yet, she still seemed so darn nice.  We were a few rows apart so there wasn’t really any reason for interaction between us.  I didn’t need to pass her the offering plate, she didn’t ask to share my hymnal; we just existed in our own little circles and that was fine.  Then, at some later time, we were encouraged to greet others in church.  I figured that was as good a time as any.  I walked up to her, told her that it was silly that we hadn’t said hello, and we both politely laughed at the awkwardness that we had both seen each other but were just now speaking.  Surely I could have a friend who was engaged; I’ve done it before.

After that, we talked a bit.  There was no time for actual conversations, just chit-chat.  I went jogging straight after church and used the excuse that I didn’t want to be late for my running buddy.  At the same time, she always had people waiting to speak to her.  I could hardly blame them.  I did start to question where this guy was.  If he loved her enough to give her a ring, how could he be okay with not sitting next to her each Sunday morning?  So I did what any person in this age of technology does.  I sent her a message on Facebook.

I’d like to state that it was a grand e-mail; that the lines and phrases were inspiring and that none could have matched their brilliance while attaining the perfect amount of sentimentality.  The problem with that is that my parents raised me not to lie.  I can’t even claim the above as a slight exaggeration.  No, I’m sure it was something along the lines of, “You seem interesting.  I’d like to take you to coffee if you’re up for it”.  (shrug)  There are times when I am less than eloquent.

For some reason, she agreed.  We figured an area near the church was a safe halfway point for both of us, so we met at the closest coffee shop.  It was towards the middle of the week and I had a break between my two jobs so I walked to my destination.  I arrived; as is my habit, early.  Quite early.  Too early.  I peeked inside the store just to make sure that she wasn’t as early.  I didn’t see her, so I planted myself in one of the chairs outside and did my best to look calm and nonchalant.  I would like to think that I pulled it off, but I would also like to think that credit card bills won’t make me cringe.  Regardless, it was a nice, cloudless, sunny day outside.  There are far worse weather conditions to be had in Seattle, so I lounged about wishing there were fewer cars on the road.

About ten minutes after we were supposed to meet, she came out of the store.  She had been inside studying for class the entire time.  I made my apologies, and eventually we sat down and started having a discussion.  This, sadly, was not my greatest moment of conversation.  I’m pretty sure that I said, “What haven’t I asked you about…” or “What can I ask you nex…t” to her three or four times.  In an hour.  There were long pauses.  Honestly, it was rather sad.

She, however, was pretty much what I expected.  She was very kind.  Her family sounded like they were just as welcoming as she was.  She was from a desert state so the hot sun didn’t bother her a bit.  She was trying to make a career out of helping people.  In short, she was rather impressive.

Oh, and I found out about the ring.  She hadn’t mentioned any boyfriend or fiancée in the first half hour of our chat, so I inquired about her jewelry.  She talked about her earrings.  Since I did not get the answer I had been looking for, I tried again.  In my own, oh-so subtle way, I prompted, “Tell me about this ring here.”  She looked at the small jewel on her finger and smiled, “Oh, that’s my purity ring.”

My brain was annoyed.  That’s it?  That’s why I’ve waited this long to talk to you, I thought to myself.  Because of a purity ring?  Really?  I believe what I actually said out loud was something to the tune of, “Oh, well that’s nice.”

After about an hour we had decided that was probably enough for the day.  A hug was exchanged, she went back to school and I walked back to work.  When I got back and looked at myself in the mirror I saw just how red I was.  Sunburns don’t visit me often, but when they do they leave parting gifts that I don’t soon forget.  It was effectively deployed, thorough, and painful.  Yet if I had to do it again, I would have.  Even though there was never a second date, I still maintain that it was worth it.

At the end of the day I had successfully learned three lessons.  One, if you’re curious about something (especially if it is a someone), you’d better get off your butt and just ask questions.  The answers may not be what you were expecting.  Two, sunscreen is our friend.  We should embrace it.  Finally, and most importantly, I had given it a shot.  I didn’t have to be that guy who sits in the pew and wonders.  I was the guy who was curious, took action, and doesn’t have to remember her in twenty years and wonder, “what if”.  I don’t have to speculate because I was brave enough to find out the truth.

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