The holidays are upon us, and I asked my cat, Stella, about caroling. She was in a mood. If she hasn’t apologized by the end, please accept my heartfelt one at the beginning.
Hey Stella, are you ready for all the holiday carolers to drop by this year?
Again? What are we, doctors? Don’t humans have hospitals for that?
Hospitals for what?
Hospitals to be sick at!
Carolers come to our house to sing holiday songs, Stella. Not to be sick at.
Hey, I’m a high-level predator. I know the sound of creatures in agony, the wail of the stricken and wounded. You see these ears?
Carolers are not stricken and — You’re not looking at my ears.
FINE! I’m looking at your ears. Watch how I can make them swivel around while I keep my head fixed.
What does this have to do with —
Watch how I can make one ear swivel one way and the other ear swivel the other way. You see that? That’s independent ear-swiveling — high-level predator swiveling. You don’t see dogs with multi-rotational ear-swiveling.
Actually, I believe you do.
The point is, my ears catch sounds. AWFUL SOUNDS. The groans in the night, the squeal of the wounded, the primal and barbaric truth of the natural world broadcast directly to —
Wait, what sort of wounded?
Ehhh … insects? The occasional bird. Sometimes mice. The wayward possum. The yard next door is a veritable house of horrors, usually between the hours of 1 and 3 a.m. You should really let me out at night.
And you’re telling me this why?
I’m telling you this because Mr. Peabody singing Silent Night is NO DIFFERENT than a possum wheezing after a round with a raccoon.
I think Mr. Peabody has a nice voice.
I think he has a stomach condition.
He’s just a baritone, Stella.
A stage-four baritone, by the sound of it. And there are no stage-five baritones.
Nobody is coming here to, uh, pass away, Stella. They are coming here to sing. I can’t believe I’m saying this.
Mr. Lumpen passed away.
He was 86 and that was four years ago!
The sound of him singing Jingle Bells still haunts me.
I’ll grant you, some of our carolers are on the older side, and at some point all people do … you know.
AND THEY COME HERE TO DO IT! ON OUR DOORSTEP!
How did this talk about caroling turn so morbid?
Well, Christmas is perhaps the bloodiest of all holidays.
JUST STOP IT RIGHT THERE, STELLA.
I find it quite remarkable how often you forget I’m a high-level predator. It’s the lens through which I see the world.
You’ve been served food from a can for the past 17 years.
Also a bag. Don’t think I don’t remember the bag years.
Well, I think I’ll join the carolers this year, try out my own baritone.
Don’t come crying to me when someone gives you the Heimlich.
I don’t believe one word of this, Stella. I think you love carolers, and I think you should apologize to our readers.
I’ll admit, I may be still carrying some hurt from the bag years. But if we’re going to start apologizing, someone’s going to have to start with the sweater vest you put me in when I was a kitten.
Just say you’re sorry, Stella.
I’m sorry, Stella.