Outside the Box

by

Shit. The cat was going outside the box. But I’ve dealt with the personality disordered and knew this particular challenge might be within my purview. I just needed to think outside the box. I spent almost a week in NYC with my grandson, holding him against my heart. I could stare at his face for days, smelling his baby-ness, watching his expressions change from serenity to “I’m having a bad dream”, from “I love my mommy and my daddy” to a lopsided and slightly inebriated looking upturn of his perfect little mouth, from pursing his perfect little lips as if he were going to whisper to me and an exquisitely audible exhalation of baby breath to exposing that perfect little tongue. I stayed in my son’s friend’s apartment. Deal was I’d feed the cat, scoop the poop, add fresh litter to the litter box. The cat followed me through the apartment, poetically gliding against my legs. My daughter-in-law’s mother was there the week before and reported that the cat shit in the bathtub once. If I were extra considerate, sweet talking the tabby, petting her, saying something like, “Hey, pretty kitty, let’s call a truce,” maybe I could avoid this, and she’d conduct her business appropriately. Nope. Cat shrink-ery was in order—a little reality therapy with an emphasis on responsibility. I instructed as to expectations, the box and litter’s function, her obligation as a house pet to me as waitress, opening a can of food especially for her, and to me as housekeeper, cleaning her doo-ings, from the litter box. This yielded no good result. So, I tried staring into her eyes, as George Bush did with Putin—you know, looking through to the soul. Failure. Probably the cat’s meows translated to other felines, “I’m working on that in therapy,” an excuse to continue anomalous behavior. I said goodbye to the cat, so charming, except in that very significant area. She’s capable of a political career. I cried, well, like a baby, when I left my grandson, this itty-bitty love who’s peacefully adapting to life outside the womb. On the train back to Baltimore, I powered my computer, checking latest news—the continuing mystery of MH370—and watched a CNN video showing photos of children who were on the plane. Imagine if mainstream media presented images of children who’ve been incinerated by drones and photos of children who’ve been displaced by war. Next, I read about the White House’s decision to curb the NSA’s surveillance program, ending the government’s collection of Americans’ phone calls. Who’d believe this? They’ve peeled away the Fourth Amendment with support from those who actually believe the program protects their safety. Plus, they’re lurking, skulking, examining our Internet searches, social media, library selections, medical and financial records. Then, I scoured reports on Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, Putin’s muscle, and all that Obama bluster. There’s been some serious scolding by the Kill-List Chief who has expanded war, drone warfare, and extrajudicial assassinations but who accuses Putin of contravening international law. Whew—that affectation of righteousness must be fatiguing, could be humorous if it didn’t weigh so lethally on countries plundered by Western gluttony. Obama’s rebukes are embarrassingly juvenile. I’m paraphrasing here but this is the message: “Look, you’re just an inconsequential REGIONAL power and the U.S. is the ONLY GLOBAL landscape architect.” Irate he is about someone else’s fingers and footprints on what is only to be manipulated on behalf of American interests, because the world is U.S. territory. Just now I detoured to Google News. Saw this on the screen and it’s no surprise. Merely more U.S. intrusion—to weaken the Cuban government, using Twitter messages aimed at young people. “It is unclear whether the scheme was legal under U.S. law, which requires written authorization of covert action by the president and congressional notification.” Legal under U.S. law? Please. And more: The George Bush art exhibit. Interviewed by his daughter, Jenna Bush-Hager, for NBC’s Today, Bush said he was “annoyed” when images of his work were posted online. “It’s an invasion of one’s privacy.” That cat isn’t the only one shitting outside the box. Missy Comley Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman