What’s In a Name?

by Marinka on May 20, 2014

Recently I decided to kill both of our cats with my bare hands.

Oh, you didn’t know that we had two cats now?

Well, of course you know Nicki, the striped goddess that we love and adore. Nicki has been with us forever, ever since that moment when the kids begged and pleaded and promised to feed her, empty her litter box and tend to her stripe realignment (GUESS HOW THAT TURNED OUT?!)

But you may not know this beauty:


I wish I could introduce her to you properly, but the kids couldn’t name her for the first few weeks, at which point I called a State of the Family Emergency meeting and threatened the kids with snack and screen and oxygen deprivation unless they came up with a name for the cat. Then, I launched into a monologue about the virtues of working on a problem collaboratively and, just to gilt the lily, about the importance of siblings and also how Adam named all the animals and birds in a shorter time period than they’re taking with this fucking cat and the next thing I know, they were asking if I would stop talking if they agreed on a name: Claire.

Personally, I was hoping that they would choose my contribution– Matilda, and was filled with temporary rage of a kazillion burning suns when they didn’t. I mean, you give them life and this is how they repay you?

So the cat was Claire and we lived happily ever after for a few hours, when I noticed something strange. And the something strange, besides the fact that tourists in NYC often walk three abreast on the sidewalk, as though it is their private sidewalk in the middle of Times Square and no one else needs to get past their glacial pace, was that my daughter was talking to someone named “Ollie.” At first I assumed that she had an imaginary friend, a little odd for a 15 year old, but kids today, who the hell knows what’s up with them. But then I realized that she was addressing Claire as Ollie.

This was rich. I pointed out to her that she was calling the cat by the wrong name, and considered affixing one of those “Hello, My Name is Claire!” stickers on the cat as a learning aid, but then my daughter told me that she just agreed to Claire so that both her brother and I could shut the hell up, and, well, it’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.

And now the cat has two names: Claire and Ollie and because if I call the her the “wrong” name in front of the wrong kid, there are consequences, so I call her The White Cat or, better yet, avoid talking about her altogether.

Except that has been a problem lately since the whole deciding to kill both cats with my bare hands. I mean, sure I can say “I am going to kill both cats with my bare hands” but I find that it lacks a certain personalization. That personal touch that “bare hands” implies.

So that’s a problem.

The other problem is that I am now so exhausted from explaining the cat name situation to you that I absolutely have no energy to tell you about the reasons behind my wanting to kill both cats with my bare hands. That will have to be a post for another day.

I hope you can handle the suspense.

One year ago ...

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