austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

The third thing needed to search for a cat is to have a cat which has gone missing. The first thing has to be to have a cat for which you might go looking if it did happen to go missing. If you haven't got one of those you can save yourself more than twelve minutes over a whole lifetime by not looking for the cat that isn't missing. You might not want to take that risk. The second thing you need is to have yourself, but if you haven't got at least one of yourself by now you may be fairly accused of being contrary for no good reason. If you have more than one of you then you should have a serious talk with yourself and straighten out responsibility for finding the cat and perhaps also make a deal about getting towels to the laundry.

Following the securing for yourself of a cat to feel responsible for and the you for which you'll use to do your looking (we're almost out of this part) the next task is to have the cat go missing. You can try waiting for the cat to go missing on its own, but this is unpredictable. How long it will take depends on the cat's location, its personality, its social circles, how likely it is to fall through a spontaneously opening gateway to a parallel universe where history is much the same except they never invented those socks with colored panels to tell where the heel goes and millions go to their graves never knowing they wore their socks upside-down half the time, and how likely it is you went to the wrong building and are mistakenly blaming the cat for being lost (see prerequisite two, above, during business hours).

For efficiency's sake you'll have to get the cat to go missing. The obvious approach is to watch television shows about missing-persons detectives and comment repeatedly how exciting it would be, if only you had a person -- or cat -- who was missing, and trust the cat will join in the spirit of fun. This does not work, as most cats consider detective shows meaningless background noise and would rather watch workplace sitcoms. If there happened to be a workplace sitcom about a missing-persons bureau then you might have something going, namely the cat.

An effective way to get the cat missing starts with a dresser or if you must a tall desk, with loose-fitting drawers and swinging panels and maybe even shelves that reach almost to the ceiling. With the cat set somewhere in the room, announce -- this is really for the cat's benefit -- that you sincerely intend to move the dresser to another spot. Then begin by attempting to rock the dresser, still fully loaded with all the things you do seem to need although not for any clear purpose, out of the divot it's dug in the carpet. Don't worry if you don't have carpeting; it's just a way to get the scene started.

Pushing from the back will cause it to pitch over forward, making panels swing open, drawers crash to the floor, and debris on top of the dresser go bouncing in some cases as far as three rooms away. In the time it takes to realize that a glass bowl you put in the dresser for having the sentimental value of being your only glass bowl in the dresser has been chipped, the cat will have disappeared and will be efficiently missing.

And now you can swing into the real action, as soon as you've put the drawers back in and gathered up eighty percent of the foreign coins you had collected, having lost forever that great copper-colored one with a hole in it that you don't know how you got and that you never figured out what country it's from, and get to finding the cat. List all the places where the cat is not. Then proceed briskly to the place not on that list, and you've found the cat. Well done! If this hasn't succeeded perhaps you've lost yourself, and should wait for the cat's project to find you instead.

Trivia: In organizing the United States South Seas Exploring Expedition of 1838 leader Charles Wilkes organized six vessels and 346 men. Source: Sea of Glory, Nathaniel Philbrick.

Currently Reading: Goldwyn: A Biography, A Scott Berg. Yes, another library book-sale book.


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