Monday, May 2, 2011

Meowie wowie

"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." — Mark Twain, Letter to George Bainton, October 15, 1888

YESTERDAY Paul and I celebrated Mother's Day early by taking Paul's parents to brunch. Afterwards we came home and took a nap. 

Earlier in the day Paul had gotten out a bag of dried catnip we keep on hand, refilled our furry kids' catnip mouse, and left the bag out. While we were sleeping, Shye decided there was really no reason to mess around with the small sample Paul had put in her toy when she could go straight to the mother lode. 

It was evident that she'd jumped up on the kitchen island and clawed the bag open. When we found her, she looked like she'd been rolled in flour — except it was catnip, and since she's an all-black, long-haired cat, she was a sight to behold.

We couldn't be mad at her because it was too funny. She was completely blissed out, to put it mildly. If she could have, Shye would have been making the peace sign and saying, "Hey man, what's happn'n'?

Shye (not on drugs)

There's another story behind this bag of catnip. We have this clever, talented friend who lives in the state of Washington. He goes by the name of Wild Bill, and I've known him since grad school days.

Bill is also a cat lover and grows special catnip for his pride of felines which he dries and stores for use throughout the winter (the catnip, not the cats). He sent us a package of it about a year ago to share the wealth, so to speak, and because he's funny and creative and an artist, he silk screened Meowie Wowie on the bag. I laughed when I opened it and saw the contents.

I wanted to let Bill know that we'd gotten it and thank him, but when I called him I got an auto-robot voice message instead that said, "Hello. We are not available. Please leave a message."

I did.

"Hey there, Bill. We got that package of" . . . but here's where I went a little wrong. I meant to say Meowie Wowie, but I ended up saying, "We got that package of Maui Wowie you sent us. Cool! Thanks!"

I hung up, but then a thought occurred, "Oops, I think I said Maui Wowie, not Meowie Wowie!" (It's so me to get mixed up on a word and be happily unaware of what I said.)

"Ha, ha, ha," I laughed to myself, "that's really funny."

However, another thought soon followed, "Wait a minute, I think Bill moved!"

It dawned on me that I had just phoned an unknown person or persons and told them how pleased I was to have taken possession of my shipment of illegal drugs.

Alarmed, I called back immediately and left another message saying, "Okay this is the person who called before — and really this is kind of a funny story — because see I thought I was calling my friend Bill — but this might not be Bill's number because I kind of think he might have moved — but in any case that package I was talking about, it definitely wasn't Maui Wowie because of course that would be illegal. I meant to say Meowie Wowie because that's what my friend Bill calls it, and that wouldn't be illegal because it's just catnip, so you can see how funny this all is, but maybe you could call me back and tell me for sure whether this is Bill or not, but if it isn't, just so you know it really wasn't Maui Wowie. Really."

I received a return message on my iPhone a few hours later that said succinctly and somewhat sternly, "Not Bill." 

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