Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thoroughly Vetted

Today was the day all cat owners dread - the annual trip to the vet. My cat, Ernie is a shy guy. He doesn't like people very much, and I suspect he only tolerates me because I am the purveyor of kibble. And I'm who he meowls at when something isn't being held to his usual standards. He also continuously vacillates between two modes. The first is what I have dubbed the "I love you" phase. He wants to cuddle, follows me everywhere, purrs, head-boops, and lays on my feet. The second is what I affectionately refer to as the "F-You" phase. He won't look at me, touch me, or otherwise acknowledge my presence. Very much like the last guy I dated. They got along really well, actually. It should have tipped me off. Anyway, whenever I have to crate him up we play the how-many-times-can-I-make-her-chase-me-around-the-couch-before-I-run-into-the-only-room-left-open-and-pee-myself-after-she-picks-me-up-so-she-has-to-change-her-shirt game. It's great fun. He was then settled into the back of my car where he starts making sounds that are reminiscent of the soundtrack from Poltergeist. He's available for hire, if anyone from Hollywood is interested. We finally get to the vet and the FedEx guy starts giving me crap about the Philadelphia Eagles t-shirt I grabbed to throw on after the unfortunate crating incident. I held up the crate with my yowling cat and said, "Bring it on, dude. Bring it on."

Even my cat is a clearance aisle item. My friend and former roommate, Vanessa found Ernie in a dumpster when he was a teeny-tiny kitten. His eyes weren't even open yet. She had worked in a vet clinic, and knew how to raise him and his siblings. She called me one day, begging me to take one. He melted my heart when they came to visit, so I agreed to keep him. Vanessa has had lots of animals over the years, which is where I learned about fainter goats. Apparently there are goats that fall over with their legs all stiff when they are frightened, so they are referred to as fainters. Ernie is a fainter cat. Every time we go to the vet his one-and-only defense is to play dead. One time, he spread all four legs apart and tried to flatten himself out as if he was trying to sink into the table. It's quite brilliant, actually. He got his check-up, shots, and a few chin-scratches from the vet. He also tubbed up to a full 15.4 pounds, so the aforementioned kibble is going to have to be scaled-back.

At the reception desk, the office assistant asked me if there was anyone else I wanted on his medical release form. I'm sure that I made my incredulous face as I asked, "Excuse me?" She informed me that they had medical release forms for every animal at the clinic, and wanted to know if there was anyone else that I wanted to grant access to his medical information. Several questions popped into my mind immediately. Have we as a society come to the point where we have to have a HIPPA agreement for our pets? Exactly how are people abusing pet medical information? Are people using their pet records in hostile divorce proceedings? Are judges deciding pet custody cases? Who would I give Ernie to in an emergency? Should I get him some godparents? Update my will? Power of attorney? I quickly snapped out of it and stated, "Nope. It's just me and Ernie." I didn't mean for it to sound as sad as it did. She gave me the sympathy face and said, "That's ok, it's just me and my dog." I told her I was going to race home and sign us both up for I called my mom to relate the events of the morning, when she came up with an idea that is nothing short of brilliant. There are all of those specialty, niche-market dating sites for every faith, shape, size, and inclination. There's even one especially for farmers. That's not a joke. My mother had the amazing idea to start one for crazy cat ladies. So, look for a crazy-cat-lady dating site to be the hottest thing on the interwebs. You heard it here first, folks.

Ernie likes to "help" while I'm writing.
This is definitely during an "I love you" phase.

Monday, June 10, 2013

All Rise

I was recently summoned for jury duty, and unlike most folks, I would love to be selected. But not for some boring civil insurance dispute. I want a capital murder, home invasion, or drug-bust-gone-wrong. I am a self-professed crime junkie. Cold Case Files, Forensic Files, and 48 Hours are what I call must-see-TV. I can't help it. They got me. So I reported to the courthouse, was buzzed through the metal-detector, and herded to the jury handlers. The jury holding area was downstairs in the dungeon painted that industrial-mint green color that was all the rage in correctional institutions in the 1970"s. It was also the color of the bathrooms in my grade school, now that I think about it. We were shown a riveting video on what to expect, and how important juries are to our judicial system. After filing into the courtroom, the judge reiterated all of the information from the video, introduced the lawyers, accused, and gave a list of the witnesses to be called in the case. You could hear several members sigh in relief as each name was read, as it meant they would be excused from the pool of candidates. I gave a silent harumph because it meant that I, too would be excluded. And this was a good case. I swore an oath not to disclose what it was, but it was right up my alley. The process was explained to all of us, and we were separated into pools. The judge conducted my voir dire, and I was not surprised when I was dismissed.

I was struck by how similar this process is to online dating. And if online dating was taken this seriously, it might actually work. What both parties are looking for is the right combination of factors. Nobody fits exactly what you're looking for, you just have to pick the people you think will be the best fit. In the end however, it's a gamble at best. You put it all out there and hope that it goes your way. Most dating sites are set up this way. Both parties present their profiles, and the site determines which ones would seem to be the most appropriate. And trust me, it's a gamble. Have you read my previous posts? There are also some things these sites could learn from our judicial system. First, every step is explained on the 7th to 8th grade level. There's no room for confusion, and if you mess up you can be held in contempt and fined. Oh that it were so in the dating process. Secondly, there are people to do your talking for you. You are paying for someone to vet and approve anyone that comes into the pool. And they can dismiss people without any explanation at all. Lastly, there is a person in a black robe to let you know when things get out of order. It would seem like it's pretty obvious when a violation has occurred, but you'd be surprised.

The most recent breach of protocol was from someone that I wished could have been voir dired by the dating judge. I received a message that simply said "Ur cut". Since I wasn't bleeding at the time, I inferred that he was complimenting me on my picture. His profile had very little information and all of his pictures were sideways in the landscape orientation. Two things were fairly obvious. One was that the guy was not tech-savvy. Second was that he looked like a serial killer. So much so, that I showed it immediately to a friend simply so that if my headless corpse ended up in a ditch, she could direct the authorities to his profile. I messaged that I was currently searching elsewhere, and wished him luck. A few days later, he messaged that "full disclosure" - he was married. But it was a loveless marriage and he was looking for "companionship." Gross. He obviously hadn't watched the jury video, and I'm pretty sure the judge would have held him in contempt.

If the judicial process is analogous to dating,  then a first date is like a preliminary hearing. You either dismiss the other party, or agree to set another date for a full trial.