[Note: The original "full color" version of "The Jumping Cat" can be found here. The black & white version follows...]
One day I was bored waiting for a bus. I thought, hey, I have some time to kill. I’ll just step into The Cat Store and waste some time while I’m waiting. And wouldn’t you know it, I ended up taking one of those little guys home. I bought a cat and the clerk put him in a paper sack for me, and finally the damn bus showed up and I got on.
On the ride home, I opened the sack just a peep and looked at the cat. I can’t quite describe him to you. He was orange and he had whiskers… and, well, he looked like a cat. It was as simple as that.
But as soon as I got him home, took him out of the sack and set him down in my living room, I knew this wasn’t the standard model. He started jumping all over the place.
Up and down, up and down, up down, up down…
He was a jumping cat. I did not know this.
To look at him at the store I would’ve never guessed. He must have been mispriced because I didn’t have to pay extra for him.
I was really curious. I looked up “jumping cat” in the dictionary but there wasn’t one listed. Strangely, there was a reference to a ‘jumping mouse’ though. And of course, the word ‘jump’ was in there. It means “to spring into the air by a muscular effort of the legs and feet.” That pretty much sums up my cat. He has “muscular efforts” with his legs and feet pretty much all the time.
My friend Mark came over to my apartment to hang out and brought a pizza. It was one of those new Pizza Hut pizzas, they call them “The Edge” because the toppings go all the way to the edges. How about that? That means more meat and sauce, and less crust for you and me. Hey, this is a good idea, you gotta hand it to them.
But anyway, Mark and I were watching TV when my cat came jumping into the room.
Some cats will beg for food, or shred your napkins with their claws, but you don’t have to worry about that kind of shit with my cat. He just jumps.
“Hey man, what the hell is wrong with your cat?” my friend asked. “Maybe you should take him to the Vet.”
“Oh, never mind him,” I said. “He’s a jumping cat.”
“You mean he’s always like that?”
“Yeah. I guess he likes it. I didn’t have to train him or anything. He just came that way.”
“Did he cost extra?”
“No,” I replied.
I’ve bought my cat all kinds of toys at the store. I bought him a little ball with a with a bell inside it. And I got him a cloth mouse on an elastic string. But he won’t play with them. He’s content to jump. Toys are only a distraction.
Sometimes when I’m in the mood I jump with my cat. Up and down we go in the living room. I think he likes it when I jump with him. Sometimes he’ll meow. And the weird thing is, the more I jump with my cat, the more I understand him. I think I know why he jumps so much.
Everything I see these days makes me want to jump. My bills make me want to jump. I don’t get enough sex anymore and that makes me want to jump. I met a woman in a bar the other night and her name was Martha, and the whole time I was talking to her I kept thinking, Jesus man, what a completely stupid fucking name. People named Martha make me want to jump.
I wonder if people named Martha make my cat want to jump too.
If I were a prophet – which I’m not, but if I were I would say “Life drives all mice, men and cats to jump.”
Simon & Garfunkel have a song that goes, “And the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls… and tenement halls.” So the next time you’re hanging out in either of those places, do me a favor and scrawl my words on the wall. I’d really appreciate it. Maybe it will help out with my prophet status. Thanks.
But anyway, these days I am the jumping man. I don’t cost extra and unlike the jumping mouse, I’m not listed in the dictionary. There’s nothing wrong with me so don’t take me to the doctor or the Vet. I jump because lately – nothing makes me happier. Fortune really smiled on me when I brought that old jumping cat home. If I hadn’t I might not have figured out a crucial piece of life’s puzzle.
Jumping is fun. You should try it if you don’t believe me. Plant your feet in the carpet in front of your desk, or in your living room. Work up one hell of a muscular effort…
See what I mean?