The Public Eye

printed 04/01/2022

Just when I thought we had soared to the outer rings of bizarre thinking and were gliding back smoothly to the comfortable embrace of just plain dumb, it turns out our journey continues ... to the Twilight Zone.

I say this after learning that a Nebraska legislator expressed his concern in a state Senate debate this week that little kids had taken to going to school dressed as cats and now were demanding that they be provided with litterboxes.

Oh yeah.

This is what state Sen. Bruce Brostelman said during the televised debate: “Schoolchildren dress up as animals — cats or dogs — during the school day; they meow, and they bark. And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?”

Well, senator, we need some specifics, as in whether that would be clumping or non-clumping litter?

And what about scratching posts? I once had a cat (Calvin the Wonder Cat) whose pick-marks on our leather sofa looked suspiciously like a complete layout of the New York subway system. Then there’s the school lunch program — Fancy Feast Tuesdays and Friskies Friday anyone?

The senator did back down later in the day and said the cat/dog/kid thing might not be true and that maybe the kids were not, as had been reported by some sources, identifying as “furries.”

Apparently it was just a rumor, albeit one that more than a few people bought into because ... well, because people will believe anything if it suits their purposes.

I know something about that, having believed for about five minutes that the Spanish word for cheese was “cheezio.”

I don’t even know why I asked the question on that particular day, when I already knew that the correct word was queso. Apparently, I had been suddenly stricken with the stupids for one fleeting moment.

She-Who-Knows-All was too happy to reply: “The word you’re looking for is ‘Cheezio.’”

“Cheezio. Hmm. Chee-zi-o. Okay, I’ll have the chili con chee ... saaay that isn’t ...”

“You’re an idiot.”

At least I’ll confess to the occasional stumble into Stage IV stupid, because it happens to all of us, like when a good friend of mine was lost for words as she tried to explain to her husband that an event had occurred the night before.

“It happened last ... um ... it happened ... um ... Well, it was dark time, okay?”

He looked over at her with a mixture of disbelief and annoyance, and said between his gritted teeth, “They call it ‘night.’”

But this state senator, no, he couldn’t admit it. Instead, he used an escape hatch by saying he had since learned that the kiddie cat story might not have been accurate. But, he assured the public, he was obligated to check it out it because it might have been true.

This is like me saying after the infamous “cheezio” incident that it actually showed how smart I was.

“And how’s that?” she asked.

“Because being wrong about a word is one thing, but disagreeing with you, well, that’s just stupid.”

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