Archived Story

The Super Bowl means very little to cats

Published 11:14am Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Column: Tales From Exit 22, by Al Batt

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

A constantly-annoyed cat (not a constantly-annoying cat, just occasionally annoying) leaped to the bay window. A nap in the sun is called for. A warm sleeping place and a nap makes a cat happy.

The cat naps so well. She’s someone who needs her sleep. I hope that sleep solves all her problems. She appeared so pleased with the process that it makes me want to take a nap. Napping is contagious, just like yawning.

The other cat walked to the sun shining onto the floor. She fell into a nap. It was a paralyzing ray. I’d seen them before in ancient black-and-white films featuring laughable creatures from outer space.

Windows keep the clouds out, but let the sun in. That makes for drowsy cats.

I can nap without a pillow, but I enjoy the company of a nice blanket. Like Linus in “Peanuts,” I once had a security blanket. A blankie. It was a sad day when the blankie and I parted ways, but a man doesn’t get married every day.

I don’t have a favorite blanket now. I’m a long drink of water, so I prefer a blanket that provides proper coverage. Napping is most recuperative when it is warm, but not hot.

A day prior, I’d moped about a store as my wife searched for the perfect gift for a child. I came across a heated scarf. It was battery operated. You wouldn’t find it in a man cave, but it might find a home in a woman cave.

When I was a boy, I knew people who had electric blankets. We didn’t have such a thing. I’ve heard of heated socks but have never tried them. I’ve never heard of heated scarves before.

My boyhood bedroom was free of all electronic devices other than a light bulb on the ceiling, a lamp that buzzed impatiently and a staticky AM radio. I loved late night radio and its distant voices. There was nothing that blinked or beeped in my room other than my eyes and nose. When the lights were turned off, the dark swallowed all and reflected nothing.

I didn’t need electric blankets.

My grandmother made 498-pound quilts and gave them as gifts.

She stuffed them with whatever she could find. Worn-out socks, rocks, dead chickens, etc. If you were a sleepwalker, her quilts cured you. I couldn’t get out from under one without the use of a truck jack.

The weather was cold as the cats napped. I considered selling my furnace and using the proceeds for a vacation to a tropical paradise, but I wasn’t sure I wanted that.

When in doubt, shovel snow. Every mile is two in winter. Sinclair Lewis said, “Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.”

I thought of a doctor’s appointment where the physician had told me that I had a small heart murmur, but it was nothing to worry about.

I assumed he meant that it was nothing for him to worry about, but I took the news well.

What I didn’t take well was when my wife had a health scare. It scared me to death. I felt as if I’d been hit by a metal folding chair wielded by an angry Nick Bockwinkel. She turned out fine. When I learned that, I breathed a sigh of relief that blew Delta planes off course.

The cats napped as I perused (meaning to read with great care) newspapers that were filled with NFL news. That’s the National Football League, not Not For Long. The season is a long one, but the Super Bowl is coming. It seems as though it was just here. What if the Super Bowl lasted all year? Maybe it does.

The Super Bowl showcases our sensitive, caring side, but the cats don’t care who wins. That puts them in the same boat as most people. Oh, there are gonzo fans, serious bettors and office-pool participants who care. A winning bracket allows one to stride the earth like a Colossus. But it’s the game that captivates us. That and the party, the food, the drink, the commercials, the hype and, of course, the Super Bowl presents. Change the channel and bet on how long it is before anyone notices.

Someone will win the Super Bowl, just as surely as cameras will be replaced by smartphones.

Like the cats, I don’t care who wins, but any day that a loved one doesn’t go for a ride in an ambulance goes into the plus column.


Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.