I’ve reached a crossroads.
No, it’s more than that; it’s an existential fog. A crisis of identity. A questioning of everything I am.
What brought on this morphing of self, this foreign mode of being?
Yesterday, in the afternoon, I laughed — out loud, physically laughed — at a picture on the internet.
Of a CAT.
I know, right? This is bad.
It’s not even about the cat. Sure, I don’t like cats much. Cats are apathetic, self-absorbed antisocial assholes, and that doesn’t fly with me. Because that’s my job, dammit. Stop hogging my thing, cats.
Also, I’m allergic. And cats’ chief mode of communication is to scratch gaping wounds into your flesh. And ancient Egyptians liked cats, and they yanked people’s brains out through their noses and dumped them in pickling juice.
Oh, sure, it was people who were already dead. Still, it’s weird. Cat people are weird. I’m not cat people.
But it’s not about the cat, really. It’s about what the cat represents, online. Cat pictures are, like, the quintessential indicator of someone who’s doing the internet wrong. Somebody emails you cat pictures? You block their address. They post felines onto your Facepage+ wall? Defriend it with fire! That same person starts a Tumblr dedicated to their “varrah mst favirite LOLkittehs EVAR!!“?
Schedule an intervention. Bring a priest.
And a scratching post.
“This is what people’s grandmothers do when they’ve first discovered the interwebs, and someone’s explained that the mouse isn’t a foot pedal and get your goddamned coffee cup out of the DVD tray, grandma, this isn’t freaking 1997, ya coot.”
Now obviously, I’m not going to start spamming out photos of cats with captions like “WHO’S A BEBBEH KITTEH?!“. Because I’d sooner shove my keyboard — and hands — into an industrial blender. Obviously.
Still. I’m concerned. Partly that I laughed. But mostly because the natural end of this story is to share with you the picture in question. The picture of. A CAT.
I feel like this has to be some kind of gateway thing. A portal into a dark and harrowing world, where I definitely do not want to go and don’t have the Benadryl available to cope with.
And yet I’m torn. My only defense at laughing at a cat picture is to show it to someone else. This is what people’s grandmothers do when they’ve first discovered the interwebs, and someone’s explained that the mouse isn’t a foot pedal and get your goddamned coffee cup out of the DVD tray, grandma, this isn’t freaking 1997, ya coot.
That’s not cool.
(Also, the picture is apparently over a year old. Part of me feels good that I avoided at least one stupid picture of a stupid cat for so long.
The rest of me is fully aware that I’m now discussing not only a picture of a cat, but a picture of an idiot cat that the rest of the world has already seen. Which is exactly the sort of shit internet grandmas pull all the time.
That second part of me is drinking heavily, to try and forget.)
If I don’t share the picture, then I laughed — alone, forever alone (or months after everyone else, anyway) — at a cat picture. I’d be taking one for the team, suffering a partial pariahship, but not sinking quite to the point of distributing dangerous kitteh-based content.
On the other hand, if even one other person sees the pic and laughs, then we’re both in the same boat. I’ve tarnished the soul of humanity, sure. The world would be a shadowier, prissier place, covered in fur and canned tuna and smelling vaguely of animal urine. But at least I wouldn’t be alone.
I don’t know. Could I live with myself? Exposing an innocent mind to feline photos? Hastening the demise of other internet users into useless, drooling cat whisperers? Perhaps yanking the very cornerstone from the facade of civilization as we know it?
Yeah. I think I can. Anything to avoid being “that cat guy”. Here. Look upon the cat picture, and weep.
Weep for us all. The terrorists have won. By which I mean, the FURRAH KITTEHS!!
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