SEARCHING FOR THE BIG ANSWERS IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
“You don’t care where we went,” I retorted.
“Got that right,” Cat said. “I was just trying to make conversation. Chatty Catty, that’s me.”
“And sorry that you made it back,” Cat mumbled under his (bad) breath.
“What did you say?” I challenged him.
“I said, ‘ Watdicha see?’” Cat said.
“A Ford pickup with a really mean bumper sticker,” I said. “Something like:
MAKE HOCKEY VIOLENT AGAIN.
“Awesome,” said Cat.
“And did he put up a fuss about that, Phoebe?” Cat asked. “Human Ones usually don’t like to be told what to do, especially by the likes of us.”
"I told him it was for the blog, so he said ‘Fine. Phoebe, fine. FINE!’”
“Why did you want a picture?” Cat said.
I told Cat, it was because I was feeling pretty out of sorts – not as disagreeable as Grouchy – but near enough. And that was because of the school shooting in Florida yesterday, which was Valentine’s Day. Seventeen dead; 14 wounded; shooter captured; a 19-year-old whack job.”
“What did that have to do with the bumper sticker on the Ford?” Cat said.
“I just thought that’s the problem, you know,” I explained. “Idiots urging violence.”
“You are such a dork,” Cat said.
“And it did make me feel better. And what’s more, it was next to another sticker:
I STAND WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD.
"Which took some balls," I said, "given that the car was in the faculty parking lot at a Catholic university.”
“I see what you mean,” Cat said.
“Yesterday, in addition to being Valentine’s Day, was also Ash Wednesday, and didn’t the Catholic Bishop of Rhode Island lead a march on Planned Parenthood’s offices? Takes some gumption to park your car in that place that with that sticker,” Cat said admiringly.
“Not just any car, either, Cat,” I said. “Those stickers were on a fuel-stingy PRIUS.”
“Sticking up for the environment, too,” Cat said, now openly sarcastic.
The sticker came from an outfit called “Violent Gentlemen,” a company that sells T-shirts, hats and other swag with tongue-in-cheek slogans. It’s run by a former hockey star, George Parros, who was known in his playing-and-fighting days as an “enforcer.” Later, Parros became – get this – Player Safety Director for the National Hockey League.
“There’s your lesson of the day,” Cat said.
“What’s that?” I said.
“That maybe you shouldn’t be looking at bumper stickers for answers to the Big Questions,” he said.
“And maybe Phoebe, the Sweet Dog, ought to lighten up, and not take everything she hears on the news so seriously.”
“A little hard,” I said, “not to be upset about another mass murder at a school.”
“Point taken,” Cat said. “In fact, while you guys were out photographing rear bumpers, the President of the United Sates was speaking about the Florida shooting, and he said no kid should have to be scared at school, and that somebody ought to do something about mental health.”
“Did he say anything about guns?” I asked. “The guy who did the shooting was using an AR-15, the semi-automatic of choice in any schoolyard.”
“Nope, nothing on the gun front, My Girl,” Cat said.
“But maybe we ought to cut the guy some slack," Cat said. "It’s been a rough several days for him. Just two days ago, Trump was forced to say something about being against domestic violence; then today, he’s supposed to say something about a mass shooting in a way that won’t piss off the NRA.”
“Next thing, you know,” I said, “Trump will show up at that $30-million military parade he’s planning some time soon for Washington, driving a Prius.”
“Anything’s possible,” said Cat.