The Cats Or Me? Me Or The Cats?
I’m sitting here wondering if I should tell you about what is up in the lives of the cats, or if I should write about myself (again).
MEMEMEMEMEME? Or, the cats?
I’m going back and forth because, on the one hand I know the cats can be so very boring and tedious to hear about, but then I want to make absolutely sure to steer clear of making everything about me, or continuing on a reckless path of destruction wherein I fail to acknowledge the strengths of the other, better writers who came before me and only hope to somehow use them to become famous without doing anything important or worthwhile of my own.
[Note: Ahahahahaha! I crack myself up! Have I now become a personal blogger who is publicly hand-wringing about being thought of as self-absorbed? How self-absorbed is that? Nicely played, chickenshit passive aggressive Metanarrators, nicely played.]
Since I already mentioned them, let’s go ahead and start with the cats, shall we?
I spent all of Tuesday driving across Los Angeles because of the goddamn cats. The cats who already erected an empire to their own feline excess against one entire wall of my bedroom. Those cats.
It seems ChumChum still hasn’t been able to shake the parasite for which we’ve been treating him for what seems like FOREVER at this point. After taking him all the way across town to our vet, I found out that, in order to ensure that ChumChum finally gets rid of this thing for good this time, I have to hospitalize both cats because even if Edie is not sick, she might still be a carrier of the parasite and could therefore reinfect him unless we treat her concurrently and then spend the week they are both away steam cleaning and bleach-disinfecting our entire house so that every trace of the disgusting parasite is removed. So, after dropping ChumChum off, I got back in my car, drove all the way back across town to my house, put Edie in her cat carrier, and drove all the way back across town, again, to drop off Edie. And then I turned around and came home.
By the time I finished all of that, the day was over. The cats win again!
The good news is: since everything must be either steam cleaned thoroughly or removed, this parasite expulsion marks the official fall of Kitty Rome! We knew it would happen . . . you see, my cat creation has FLOR tiles that can be removed and replaced, but Rome, well, it’s just too ornate to be properly cleaned without being destroyed in the process. Mr. Right-Click is sad, and said something to me along the lines of, “Aren’t you upset that the cats won’t be able to play on it anymore?” I believe my response was, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
But of course that is how I would respond to the poor cats being displaced from their feline empire! Because I am all about me!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of narcissism lately. And why not? It gives me an opportunity to make things about myself, which (as we know) is my favorite activity!
My layperson’s conception of narcissism is that the term is used to describe a person who sees the world with a set of “me” lenses beyond the scope of self-absorption that most people already have as a natural state of being human. In other words, they are self-absorbed and self-obsessed on a pathological level — it’s beyond telling a story, and having them then respond by sharing a related story that has to do with their own lives, for instance, because that — relating to people through one own’s experience (empathy) — is just a natural response that most humans would have. A narcissist is not capable of empathy, or they don’t care, they only care about themselves and their own experiences. Their response to your story would be, “Why are we talking about you?” Because they really don’t understand why they are talking about you. They really think everybody is as interested in their lives as they are, and it’s not a value judgment on you or your life, either, by the way — you just don’t ever enter the picture. At all.
Now, I’m not a psychologist, but I feel like the word “narcissist” gets thrown around an awful lot lately for a condition that cannot possibly be that common. Right now I’m about halfway through Bill Carter’s The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy, and when I was reading his description of David Letterman there was a bit that struck me as really odd.
I don’t have the citation in front of me right now, but the gist was something about how any performer who is able to go out in front of a live audience night after night and perform a comedy monologue had to be a narcissist. Edit: here is the quote:
The act of stepping out nearly daily onto a stage and standing in front of people, millions of people, and soliciting laughs almost defined the term narcissism. Every performer would have needed an outsize ego to get through that crucible every night. [from locations 4042-45 in the Kindle Version]
And I thought . . . why? Why? Because he is . . . funny? Because he knows he is funny? Because his talent is being funny? Because he dares assert himself as funny? Because he inserts himself into the conversation? [Rereading the quote makes me realize how absurd the quote really is . . . soliciting laughs from millions of people “almost defines the term narcissism”? REALLY? What about soliciting a good opinion of your writing from millions of people, Mr. Carter? What does term does that nearly define, pray tell?]
Performers, writers, novelists, poets, creatives, critics, bloggers, whathaveyou — these are professions like other professions. They are viewed differently because there is a bit of a “magic dust” element to them. There is a thought, I guess, that if you go to, say, law school, pass all of your exams, work hard, and interview correctly, you will be rewarded with a successful career someday, and people do not view you as making it “all about you” for daring to insert yourself into that conversation. Why are creative careers different? Why is having an opinion about something making that something “about you”? Why is having an opinion about a multi-hundredthousand dollar business (if not million dollar) per year business “dragging it down”? And I have news for you, when I speak, I am not just speaking “for myself” (anymore) . . . I am speaking for a bunch of other people who feel (for the reasons linked above) that it is not safe to do so. I know this because they’ve told me this, in case you think I’m being grandiose again. So go ahead and call me a narcissist if you want. I’m not going anywhere.