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The Cats Or Me? Me Or The Cats?

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.]

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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!


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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.

Comments (17)

  1. Dec 1, 2010

    Well, I am glad to hear that kitty Rome had to bite the dust. What a pain though, driving all around. I love the posts about you, Mini and the kitties. The business posts are interesting too but you’re usually way ahead of me thinking about stuff I don’t know very much about and there’s always so many references from twitter or elsewhere that are supposed to provide context but which I don’t get right away, like the links above (the third one didn’t work). But it sounds like some people are accusing bloggers of being narcissists. The only tweak I would make to your definition of narcissism is that narcissists think it’s everyone’s JOB to be absorbed with themselves, so the narcissist doesn’t need to help you with that — that’s YOUR job. But also, your job, when you’re not busy not making demands on the narcissist, is to participate in the narcissist’s self absorption. Therefore, if you hang out with narcissists you’ll be awfully busy and lonely.

    Here’s what I think about bloggers. Bloggers are introverts.

    I like that you think about what you write and write it without fear, though at times I know it’s not fun when you write on controversial topics and get negative feedback. So I say, have at it Anna. I’m glad you’re not going anywhere.

  2. snarkoleptic
    Dec 1, 2010

    Ah but there is a difference between being narcissistic and having the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (which was actually just booted from DSM-IV by a panel of mood disorder haters).A certain amount of narcissism can be healthy. Why should we not value our own opinions or talents? People often confuse the two, though, so when they accuse you angrily of being narcissistic, more often than not (and incorrectly in most cases) I think they are accusing you of having NPD. And by you I don’t mean you, Anna, but you, reader. So you could argue that it is healthy narcissism that drives someone like Letterman. NPD absolutely drives others, though it’s not a diagnosis I would assign to just anyone, even if I don’t really like them. You can dislike someone who doesn’t have a personality disorder. That’s ok, too.

  3. Dec 1, 2010

    Remember that song, “You’re So Vain,” where she sings, “I bet you think this song is about you?”

    It WAS about him. So how is HE vain for thinking the song is about him, when it WAS?

    Duh.

  4. Dec 1, 2010

    So when I think people are talking about me behind my back I’m not paranoid, I’m just vain?

  5. Dec 1, 2010

    If you think they’re talking about you and they’re not, you’re paranoid.

    If you think they’re talking about you and they actually ARE, and then they call you a narcissist, then you get to sing that “Isn’t It Ironic” song, or else write a blog post about it. Because, again…duh.

  6. Dec 1, 2010

    And kitty Rome has fallen! I’m not sure whether I should be cheering or not.

    I agree with Susan, I think most bloggers are introverts. God knows I am. Maybe that’s why I blog, it’s the only chance I get to make it all about me.

  7. drhoctor2
    Dec 1, 2010

    Not to worry, hyper OVER reactions to critique (French) have bugged the bejeezezzes (Sacrilegious) outta me for all the years I have been reading them. I’ve been involved in some regularly posting political message boards since at least 1999 A.D.( anno domino ? Latin) Questioning actions or statements made by anyone writing non-fiction is not ipso facto (latin) a trolling, bullying or underhanded attack. Anything that has FREE ENTERPRISE written all over it is open to scrutiny. I, myself, am a fine poet and I am grateful as heck for the early training in “killing my darlings” because I have never written anything down for posterity that would embarrass me as much as the treacly self involved garbagey du jour (Franglish) and defensive harangues I’ve seen flung out , quite thoughtlessly, by women who proport to be business people.
    The biggest cringe factor is the scream down of legit questions or statements made by voices of reason..oh..the sturm und drang !! (german !!) Oh..the call to arms (english).
    In other words , don’t feel like the Lone Ranger, I too, have been judged and found wanting. (Sarcasm)I salute you for your daring. Ein Prosit !! (German ) Let us raise a glass together to toast to a palingenisis of bogging in which all may seek our truth without fear of ridicule and form a community if bennact lact (blessings on ya / Gaelic) . Finito !! (Italian)
    Incerelysay,
    A Reader

  8. drhoctor2
    Dec 1, 2010

    Ooh !! Also…if my (imaginary) husband sends you DM’s featuring his junk ? That ? Please don’t help me by telling the whole ding dang internet first. Give me a heads up and I’ll take care of it…
    Call me anything but call me first.

  9. Dec 2, 2010

    I second Susan’s statement that bloggers are generally introverts and blogs then become one of the few outlets they have. I would argue that the reason mommyblogging (in the classical sense) is so popular is because we are all being hyper-care-givers right now and need a place where it can be about us and our interests. Maybe I am romanticizing here, but there you go. Also, how do you run a personal blog without it being about yourself most of the time?

    Anyway, Chris and I discuss this (narcissism, megalomania etc) a lot since his coworkers are ripe for the picking in terms of social disorders, but sometimes what one person might call a “personality flaw” is just what makes you good at what you do. As Snarkoleptic so well explained, the terms gets thrown around a lot and may not mean what people think it means…seems to be a lot of that going around on the internet these days. Really, who is the self-absorbed jerk here? You (as in any blogger) for putting your thought and opinions out there or the crazy people who take it so very personally as if the entire internet exists to be a foil for their existence? As for me, I like a good dose of personal anecdote on a blog and really don’t mind when it is all about the blogger. If I want straight facts I go to respected journals, if I want to know about real-life application of said facts, I turn to bloggers. That is kind of the point right?

  10. Dec 2, 2010

    Did anyone understand drhoctor2’s point?

  11. Snarkoleptic
    Dec 2, 2010

    No, but I found it amusing.

  12. Dec 2, 2010

    Nope. (Midwestern English)

  13. Dec 3, 2010

    To clear the air:

    It is most likely that I am talking about all of you behind your back and to your front.

    Most people don’t care, but my elevated opinion about my fine self clouds my judgment into thinking that everybody DOES care about what I am thinking. At least I think so.

  14. drhoctor2
    Dec 3, 2010

    HAH..yeah..I get that a lot.
    I was feeling a bit dismissed over a comment on another site so I mocked that experience here. Trying to establish my own pretensious credentials…
    Kerry…that was funny.

  15. drhoctor2
    Dec 3, 2010

    This is what confuses me. Why is talking about what people are posting and or thier business models such an INSULT to some Mommybloggers ?
    Literary critique. It’s not that big a deal.

  16. Dec 10, 2010

    Did I already comment here about trying diatomaceous earth? I can’t remember…

    How does DE kill intestinal worms?

    DE is ingested (taken by mouth) and works in the very same way as above – by grinding the worm to death. Just think how painful it is to walk in shoes filled with sand – scrapes are made in no time! Intestinal worms don’t have the hard exoskeleton that the fleas do, but the silicon does get into parts that move, such as mouth parts, and does the same action. ( from: http://www.critterchat.net/diearth.htm )

  17. Dec 10, 2010

    I don’t think so, but thanks. As it turns out, Chummy DID have giardia, and we successfully treated him for it in the first treatment (we don’t know how he got it, and thank god, Edie never got it). But, we never figured out that he had been cured because he kept having . . . uh . . . a situation with the litter box. But anyway, it turns out he has a sensitive stomach — after being at the vet for a week, and on a strict diet, he’s fine. We just have to be really careful about what he eats is all.

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