Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hakuna Matata

I think one of the neighborhood feral cats got a bird under our bird feeder. There's a whole mess of reddish feathers on the ground under the feeder.

There's this one fat, long-haired black cat that's always under the tree next to the feeder, hanging out, waiting for an unsuspecting dumb-ass bird to linger too long, so I think he was finally successful. I hope it wasn't the female cardinal. There's a pair of cardinals that regularly visit the feeder, and the female is a muddy reddish-brown color, kind of like those feathers. That would be a bummer if it was her.

Whenever I see that cat (or any other cat) under the tree, I fill up a big cup of cold water and go out on the deck and throw it in the general direction of the tree, and the cat usually runs away, (note to self: purchase Super-Soaker) but it's always kind of half-hearted on my part. I figure the cats and the birds and the squirrels and whatnot are all sort of keeping each other in check, balancing each other out, maintaining the Circle of Life and all that, so I don't try too terribly hard.

Which reminds me of a story.

When I was at HBO, one of the other assistants, Ron,* was given this mini-aquarium kit as a Christmas present from his boss. It was a small glass globe that came with some little aquatic plants and a tiny little frog and snail to inhabit the place. The whole thing couldn't have been bigger than a softball; it was very cute sitting there in his cubicle, and Ron was quite enamored of his mini-life setup. He held a naming contest to determine what the tiny beasties should be called, and there were a number of cutesy suggestions along the lines of Cheech and Chong, Laverne and Shirley, Simon and Garfunkel, et cetera. I can't remember what he finally decided on, but for the story's sake, let's say it was Laverne (frog) and Shirley (snail).

Sadly, Laverne passed away inexplicably a mere few days after setting up housekeeping on Ron's desk. Ron was quite upset at the frog's early demise, and called the company that made the aquarium to find out why it might have happened and how to get a replacement frog. The company's hapless customer service rep asked Ron for the serial number on the bottom of the globe (or something like that), and informed him that they'd had "a bad batch of frogs." So he got a brand-new frog.

Not two days later, when he came in to work in the morning, Ron discovered that Laverne the Second had also died. Not only that, but Shirley had gone missing. Dead frog, floating on top of the water, and no snail. Naturally, Ron was quite distressed.

Another assistant named Rowan (who is Australian) and I were in Ron's cubicle commiserating with him on his bad luck and trying very very hard to keep straight faces about the whole thing. We were saying things like, "It wasn't anything you did" and "They had a bad batch of frogs, Ron." He obviously felt bad about losing his mini-pets and was trying to determine what might have happened.

He explained his theory to us: Maybe Laverne had tried to eat Shirley and choked on her, thus explaining the missing snail. At this point, Rowan and I couldn't even make eye contact with each other, we were in such fear of bursting out laughing. Then Rowan sealed the deal. He said (and you have to imagine the Australian accent) "Well, you know Ron, it's the Circle of Life." and I couldn't help myself; I busted out the "Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, nee-benzaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, habba beech eemawaaaaaay" from the opening of The Lion King.

Then we fell all over ourselves laughing, and apologizing for laughing, and then laughing some more. We were terrible people, laughing at another person's mini-aquarium tragedy.

But it was pretty funny.

Thanks for reading.

*That's his real name. I know you thought this asterisk was going to be one of those "Some names have been changed" kind of things, but I actually just wanted to give a little shout-out and say, "Ron the Don! Wassup my homie?"

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