Vanity: Luxury of Fools

Humorist Roy Blount, Jr. has made an art form of Being Southern.  You may have caught him on the radio in “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me.”  He is a favorite in this house.

In describing his attempts to turn snake-killing into something resembling a golf swing, Blount quotes teacher Paul Bertholy:  “Catacolamine.  That’s a hormone developed by the human brain from laughter, from fun, so you must have some fun while you’re learning the golf swing. . . .”

In case it may have slipped by you, “catacolamine” has a feline root.

Bertholy:  “[B]e able to poke fun at yourself.  There’s no such thing as a bad golf shot unless it has an adverse mental effect on the ensuing shots. . . . A missed golf shot will never hurt my . . . swing, it will only hurt my vanity.  And vanity is the luxury of fools.”

Bertholy goes on to instruct Blount to stick out his butt, and to “talonize” his toes.

Butt in the air.  “Talonize” the toes.  More proof that cats are the fount and origin of all things not-vain.  Check your vanity at the door, where cats are concerned.  Cats wrote the book on vanity as a fool’s luxury.

Check out Roy Blount’s bee-yoo-tee-ful face.

“Beloved” and “celebrated” indeed!  “Literate, uncouth, and soulful in the same sentence.”  I want that.  Plus I notice he has an essay in something called “The Sophisticated Cat.”  Need to get ahold of that for sure.  He has care of no pets at present.  That needs to change.

Blount is also rumored to have said the following, so he knows what he’s talking about:  “If a cat spoke, it would say things like ‘Hey, I don’t see the problem here.'”

Back to Bugs’s and my life, so very pale by comparison but of course that’s my stuff, Bugs rejoices in his life untroubled by destabilizing thought-forms like relativity — I write in this vain vein, this morning

I’ll begin again.

I write about vanity this morning because – No, wait.

I notice Bugs seems particularly elegant this morning.






He even retained his balanced point of view when a bird hit the window.

Back to the vanity homily.  I’m thinking about Sara’s post yesterday in her blog “Life With 4 Cats.”

I could become vain about this.  I’m so proud I could split a gut.  Let Sara’s picture – which she created, which she published on her space, and which she graciously permits us to admire here – speak thousands of words.  Recognize the personnel?

And if it’s possible for this thing to get even better, Sara writes about cats plus my favorite hobby, which is, outside cats, philosophy.

You may recall that the philosophy I’ve been working out all my life is:  “I’m no good, you’re no good, you were no good first.”

As I’ve said, I believe the root of the problem is that there are those – and I count my pre-Bugs self amongst these – who do not know that they do not know.  Hence my rants against innocent little hedgehogs.  There are those who see no mistake in characterizing cats as aloof, cold, disdainful, manipulative.  As being ideally suited to people who enjoy feeling rejected, as the dog-woman in the TV show would have it.

But as Sara points out:  Says who?  When her – and my, now – experience of cats is that – but let Sara say it.  She ought to know, living as she does with four of them.  Cats are:

“Loving just as strongly but practicing a ‘quality over quantity’ philosophy. To a cat’s discriminating mind, ‘There is a time and a protocol for everything.’  How to greet a loved one. How to greet a friend. The how of this endeavour will be dictated by an introverted viewpoint. But it will be just as sincere and just as intense as any ‘Goldie’s’ exuberant licks on the face.”

In Sara’s view, and in mine, I who, as you know, have become completely ga-ga on the subject, cats are “focused, intense, passionate, individuals” who “love just as intensely as dogs do. They are focused-ly loyal in their affections and so maybe they love MORE than a dog loves because a dog loves everybody indiscriminately.  As if any warm body will do.”

As Sara points out, would you want your significant other jumping up on anybody and everybody, regardless?  Ooo, ooo, kiss me kiss me?

Why, then, should we let our preconceptions rule of what we think love indiscriminate, love profligate, looks like, where cats are concerned?  They, being the independent spirits they are?  Who have quite their own way of doing things?

And now, regarding those whose vanity in knowing obscures their misunderstanding, as to cats — this makes no sense to me whatsoever.  Now, post-Bugs, I cannot really remember once thinking like that.  What I do remember is the sting of feeling misunderstood myself.  So now it’s hard for me to feel empathy toward those hedgehogs.

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  Bugs, as usual, had no such problem, but my thrashings-around woke him.  Usually he doesn’t come up from the foot of the bed to snuggle, but he did last night.  He got up some and wandered around, but he kept checking up on me.  Snuggling for another spell, and then going back out on patrol.

He was purring each time.

No rosemary-scented tuna-bites were involved.

Writing this, I just glanced up and caught Bugs looking at me.  I did that slow-blink thing.  He returned the favor.

Here’s a link to Sara’s post, in all its glory.

And the source for Roy Blount is:  “I Go to Golf School,” Mirth of a Nation, Michael J. Rosen, ed., at 70-80, 74.

About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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4 Responses to Vanity: Luxury of Fools

  1. lifewith4cats says:

    Goodmorning! “Cats wrote the book on vanity as a fool’s luxury.” – thats deep.
    “I write in this vain vein, this morning” – I like the play on words and then how it gets abandonded to show pictures of bugs instead. Your writing style is very convoluted, like following a bunny trail through the forest. Thats how I know you are a true philosipher… All the great philosiphers write in that convoluted way.
    Now I’m the girl who forgot to put her name on her ABOUT ME page. Here I see my name 7 times. I feel very shy. and also humble. Thank you for giving me the shout out. Now we must figure out how to get others to share in our fun, eh?

    • nadbugs says:

      Bunny trail in the forest! I love that! And let us do call on more folks to come to the party. That sure does seem to be the challenge. Amazing to have the venue — now all we need is for more guests to show.

      While loving to bits the ones we have!

  2. Cat Mandu says:

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I just love that!

  3. Pingback: catself

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