John Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 25, 2011

Distress over none-too-smart damncat greatly appreciated

If you’re not into reading about New Orleans, damncats and such foolishness you should read no further.

But if you’re willing to indulge, I’ll tell you about Oreo the none-too-smart damncat whose plaintive meows recently set off my wife’s “DAMNCAT-IN-DANGER!-RED- ALERT” alarm.

“Something has hurt Oreo really bad and she’s run up under the house and I’ve crawled all under there and I can find her,” Rosemary exclaimed.

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Crawling up under the house has occupied a considerable amount of my precious New Orleans time recently as I have attempted to fend off attacks from drain demons intent on stopping the plumbing’s flow.

And the only way I can navigate a crawl space littered with oyster shells, pieces of broken brick and other hard, pointy objects is by first strapping on knee pads. Won’t crawl without them.

But if my wife had noticed what she was crawling over during her frantic search, she didn’t mention it. She said only that when she crawled to where she thought Oreo’s distressed Meow! came from, she would hear it again as though it was coming from some other direction.

I didn’t know what I could do from 333 miles away, but I made a few well-intentioned but idiotic suggestions. Then the phone went dead as she moved to the back of the house to broaden a search.

Several minutes later, Rosemary called back. “Well, I found her. She was on Elton’s roof.”

Oscar, the damncat with issues, had probably chased her there and none-too-smart Oreo, instead of biding her time until he left and making her way back to ground level, let out her distressed “Meows!” that Rosemary assumed were the result of life-threatening injuries.

Our life is much like this.

The damncat climbed down. For the next two days Rosemary nursed bruises in quite a few places on her lower body and complained about her shoulder sockets being sore from all that crawling.

Then, to show her most sincere appreciation, Oreo, while reclining on an amplifier connected to our television and savoring its warmth underneath her, YACKED, such as damncats are often wont to do.

Some of the drool accompanying the Yack found its way into the amplifier through ventilation slits. The device went silent immediately. Later, when Rosemary tried to turn it back on, instead of music or TV sound she just got a brief shower of sparks and no more.

Our life is much like this on Laurel Street, where the hoods don’t outnumber the neighbors anymore but none-too-smart damncats are plentiful.