The Immortal Harvey (d.o.b. June 18, 2019)

I share my home with four gentle and obedient cats who adorn my life like precious jewels, and a fifth, Harvey, who is cocky and impudent. Only he fights over food; only he brazenly ignores my wishes; and only he makes me run from one end of the house to the other to see what he’s up to when it sounds like he’s rearranging the furniture. He stares into my eyes with the cunning of a cartoon fox, and he disobeys me even while I’m scolding him for disobedience. I chase him around the house yelling, waving my arms, and, sometimes, slapping the upholstery with a yardstick, but after a few circuits, he rolls onto his back—like ten-year-old Brewsky did when he was a kitten—and invites me to rub his belly.

Harvey is my only cat who, when we’re cuddled-up in bed at night and I’m rubbing his belly with one hand, pins my other with his claws and squeezes a finger between his teeth as he dozes off. Peggy insists that I not let him bite me, but I only follow her advice on the rare occasions when he causes me pain.

But why does Harvey pin me with teeth and claws? A cat’s unprotected abdomen is so vulnerable to evisceration—by another cat’s hind claws—that many cats will bite anyone who touches that area. Then there are cats like Brewsky who will allow humans to do pretty much anything to them (I sometimes answer the door with Brewsky hanging upside down from under a forearm). Harvey resorts to the middle ground of allowing access to his abdomen while keeping his teeth and claws engaged. 

For much of my life, I found it intimidating to sit or lie while other males were standing, so when I did, I would keep an eye on them, although I knew that it offered little protection. When I observe Harvey’s protective measures, I see myself. Although Brewsky always gave me complete access to his body, I appreciate Harvey’s gift even more because his desire to surrender goes against his need for safety.

As I stroke him, I lose myself in adoration of his foxy face and long fur—I prefer longhaired cats, and he’s my only longhair. Although Peggy laughed when I called my little ten pound bundle of cuteness a man’s cat, Harvey truly is a badass who goes for broke while roughhousing with fifteen-pound Brewsky. Yet, I know that Brewsky would never really harm him, and I also know that Harvey’s exaggerated self-confidence is the result of human protectiveness. May Peggy and I never find ourselves unable to maintain the illusion, and may he never discover how nearly powerless his human parents really are. Perhaps, it would be possible for me to love him more, although my heart would burst if I tried.

Two Days to Go: Why I Hate Them So


Trump has spent four years sowing division and heaping hatred upon anyone who disagrees with him. He has told thousands of demonstrable lies; purged the government of those whom value duty to nation above loyalty to him; done his utmost to prevent Democrats from voting and their votes from being counted; and trashed every value that I hold dear. Those who voted for Trump made all this possible, and are determined that it continue. The harm that Trump has done to people like I--and millions of others--is harm for which I hold them responsible.

Two days ago, Trump supporters used their vehicles to harass a busload of Biden supporters who were on their way to an event in Austin, Texas (the event was cancelled). Trump, who has a long history of encouraging violence on the part of his supporters, tweeted photos of the harassers along with the words, "I LOVE TEXAS!" (Earlier in the week, a similar incident occurred in Missouri, and the FBI is investigating both incidents.)

Election day violence (the election is November 3) is a major concern in America. The reason for the concern is that Trump has been saying for months that he can only lose if the election is stolen, so in a country that contains more privately-owned guns than people (most guns being in the hands of Republicans), and is under the leadership of a violence-promoting demagogue, violence seems likely. Might it get worse than a few out of control demonstrations--might there be an attempted coup if Trump calls for one? No one knows.

I do know that, prior to Trump, fears of election violence like that which is seen in the Third World didn't exist here because people imagined that the country was strong and stable. Yet, in four short years, America has gone from being the world's most powerful democracy to standing upon the precipice of fascism and possible collapse. I feared Trump and his supporters from the outset, but because I trusted that America's laws and democratic institutions would protect us, I didn't foresee that two days before the election of 2020, I would be writing such a post.

But why is it that the very flag-wavers (they have now swapped the American flag for the various Trump flags) who sing, "I'm proud to be an American because at least I know I'm free," support a man who runs roughshod over the very values they formerly expressed a willingness to die for? I can but point out that their words are the same words that were spoken in 1930's Germany, which were the same words that are spoken by all people who regard "strong-man" dictators as the solution to their nation's problems. 

If I awakened one day and discovered that half of my fellow citizens were child-molesters who passionately defended child-molestation and attended large rallies (during a pandemic, no less) at which they chanted "Lock Them Up!" whenever their leader criticized the opponents of child molestation, I would wonder what signs I overlooked that might have allowed me to look beyond the fresh paint adorning their souls to the rot underneath. Even if Trump loses and even if there is no attempt at a coup, I will never again respect his supporters, not because they are dead to me, but because I foolishly imagined that their authoritarianism was tempered by decency. It was not the first time that I so wanted to believe in the goodness of people that I traded truth for fantasy.