Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Damn Cat Story

Over the weekend, I went to the USA verse Uruguay Rugby match held at the new Rio Tinto Stadium. It was a fun night. The Eagles blew them away in the second half. A few of my friends played for the Eagles and I hung out with some old friends from the BYU Rugby team. For the last two years I helped coach the forwards as well as coached the JV team, so I know the current players quite well. I haven’t seen most of these guys since we lost in the National Final in May. One of the first things that was said to me was, ”Dude! Westy! Tell the cat story man. I haven’t ever heard it!”

Somehow the infamous cat story has followed me around. It’s been five years since I played at BYU and this is my legacy. Actually there is another characteristic that I am also known for, but that doesn’t need to be mentioned.

I first told this story in the back of a van on the way to Vegas for a tournament in 2000. I remember thinking that this was a particularly funny story but I never thought it would take on a life of its own. Those of you who know me, have heard this story. Probably several times. For the record, I never bring it up. It is always requested. Which I suppose is flattering, but at the same time, I’m a little concerned that this event is so closely associated with me. Personally, I think the "Accidental Roadtrip" story is funnier. So is he boner story. I'll save that one for later.

So I am using this forum to forever retire this anecdote. From now on, I am just going to email a link to this site when the cat story is requested. Loyal readers, I give you, the cat story:

It was Spring of 1997. I was an LDS missionary in Bremerton, Washington. It was my first area and as such I have a great deal of affection for it. Bremerton is an interesting town. It is on the Kitsap Peninsula across the Sound from Seattle. As far as natural settings go, it is about as beautiful a place as there is on Earth. There are inlets and peninsulas all over the place. Dyes Inlet, Sinclair Inlet, Port WashingtonNarrows, Rocky Point, Oyster Bay. There is waterfront property and dense forests everywhere. You have a great view of the Olympic Mountains to the west and Rainier to the South and Seattle to the East. On a sunny day (there’s a lot more of them than you think), it is incredibly scenic.

That being said, the actual town of Bremerton is a crap hole. The majority of the town was built during World War II when the shipyard opened up, so there’s a ton of old Naval housing everywhere. The place is pretty run down, nowadays. There is a government funded housing project called West Park there that brings in all sorts of flavors to Bremerton. For a small town, it has all the drugs, crime and poverty of most big cities. But, let me stress that I love this town. I had some incredibly good times there and every time is travel to Seattle, I always hop the ferry and visit my old turf.

There was a family there that we were working with. The father was an inactive member and the mother wasn’t very interested. But they have four kids that went to church. We were working with them, trying to get them back into the whole church thing.

They lived in this little ghetto part of town in a two bedroom duplex. Now, these kids were great. Really smart kids. But their dad was a schlub. Total loser. He was unemployed and didn’t seem too concerned with that. There's a big difference between a guy who has hit a tough time and is down on his luck, and a bum. This guy was the latter. He was a die hard Star Wars / Star Trek / Medieval Knights nerd. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But this guy definitely crossed any lines of sanity. He had a giant mounted dragon head on their wall. Like he slew the dragon and had his proud trophy to show the world. He would teach his kids Ye Olde English and insist that they speak it in the house. He would spend tons of money on Braveheart replica swords and then practice his skill in his backyard on a bail of hay. Meanwhile his four kids slept in a single twin bed with no sheets and lived off of toast and rice everyday.

Now, in my mission we had a list of approved movies that we could watch on P-day. The Star Wars Trilogy was on that list. So my companion and I decided to go over to their house on a Monday and watch some Star Wars, appeal to his nerdish leanings and BSRT with this guy.

So we walked down to their house. The kids weren’t home and he was in the backroom on his computer arguing over the proper translation of a Klingon Proverb with some other unemployed schlub online.

“Hey guys. Empire is in the VCR. Go ahead and start it.”

Now, I am by no means a neat freak. Any room mate of mine will tell you that. I am currently wearing jeans that have not been washed in about two weeks. But I do have limits. Their house had that musty, sour milk/mildew/cat pee smell that every poor person’s house seems to have. The only place for me to sit down was on the couch where there was a two foot pile of pooh-stained laundry. I nestled myself in and started watching a movie I’ve seen a thousand times on a TV that was too dim and had one blown out speaker. So it would buzz during loud noises.

I was a little irritated because we weren’t making any progress with this family and we were just wasting my only day off after working a 70 hour week. I was still new enough on my mission to where I still had a pretty nice suit. Since it wasn’t May yet, we had to wear the full suit when not riding our bikes. As I was watching Luke get attacked by the Wampa, their cat jumped up on my lap.

I’m not a big cat guy. Their tongues are scratchy, their hair is clingy and I always get a little weirded out when they start purring on my lap. I just feel like they’re enjoying themselves a little too much. So I politely push the cat off my lap. It jumps right back on. I push it off again and it comes right back. At this point, my nice suit is covered in cat hair so screw it. I surrender. So I just pet the damn cat while I watch the Empire invade the Hoth system.

You know how when you reach your hand into your pocket and you can feel your keys and some changes and whatever else? You know how you see can what you're feeling in your mind? Well that was me with the cat. I was focused on watching the Millennium Falcon elude the Imperial fleet in the asteroid field. While I imagined myself somewhere else, I felt this nasty scar on this cat. I thought to myself, “What the hell happened to this cat? Did the dragon slayer put a cigar out on it?” It confused me, but I didn’t bother to look down. I just continued to reluctantly pet the thing while it purred loudly. Well, about the time Han Solo was frozen in carbonite, my curiosity got the best of me. I looked down to investigate this cat abuse.

The cat didn’t have a tail. I had been rubbing the cat’s butthole for the better part of a half hour.

Talk about cat abuse. In a purely instinctive action, I bounced that cat off the wall. It must have been a very confusing experience for that cat. I’m sure he thought we were friends, what with the rim job and all. I sat there in my shame, on a pile of pooh stained laundry wondering if I could ever look at my right index finger the same way again.

That, my friends, is the cat story.


cool_guy said...

I hope you understand if I'm a little hesitant to shake hands next time we meet....

Josh Frome said...

As connoisseur, you'll appreciate this: