CATNIPS on Doing the Right Thing 12/16/2009
Recently, I saw an article about a man who returned a library book that was 99 years overdue. Got me to thinking—it is never too late to do the right thing. When mistakes are made, it seems to be the human tendency to make excuses and/or try to cover them up. Even though the book had been checked out by an unknown person and loaned in turn to the man’s mother, who is deceased, he made the effort to return the book and was prepared to pay the accrued fines. As it turned out, the library waived the fines. Most of the time, facing up to our responsibilities and behaving in an honorable and honest fashion turns out to not be as bad as we think it might be. We expend a lot more energy and struggle harder to, if you will permit a colloquialism, “CYA.” When it comes to any expenditure of energy, Bogie and Bacall are sure to have an opinion.
BOGIE: I always do what is right. Of course, cats consider whatever is in their best interests to be what is right. Let’s face it, I am not going to clean up my own hairballs after I deposit them on the rug. I guess Mom expects a little more from people than from animals. People are animals, too, but they have the “advantage” of having a conscience. This man’s foreign-born mother probably was not aware that the book was due back at the library. I say that, because she obviously taught her son very well about honesty and responsibility, and would have returned the book herself had she known. My Dad did teach me not to stick my face in his plate while he is eating. I also know what “no” means, and most of the time I obey. That’s about all you can expect from a cat. Some naughty things are just TOO tempting, like running into my Dad’s closet when he opens the door and then refusing to come out.
BACALL: My Mom is a lot more lenient than Dad. She tends to let me do anything that is not going to result in harm to me. If I had a conscience, I guess it would hurt my brain to do the wrong thing, and doing the right thing would prevent that. I do like to be told I am a “good girl,” though I don’t exactly understand what “good” is. Food is good, tummy rubs are good, a nap in a patch of sunshine is VERY good, but I don’t control those things. I think people are the only ones who are capable of understanding that they can control what happens in their lives by making choices. And it seems like a lot of people don’t understand that there IS a reward for people in every right choice they make, if only the reward of knowing they chose right over wrong. I like my rewards to be bite-sized and crunchy. I think I’ll go enjoy some of the “rewards” in my food dish right now.