Later on, we could never decide if he was born on Canada Day, July 1, or the fourth of July. Eventually, we settled on the fourth because he was such a rambunctious kitten; he seemed to like fireworks. He had no name for a while but got dubbed Clancy Bumps (with an Umlaut over the U). It was Clancy because he was a feisty little fighter. The Bumps we derived from Dinksbum a German term for a thingamabob. He grew into the name, and for some, those he disliked intensely, his name became consonant with feline violence. If he merely held you in contempt, he ignored you. For the lucky few, he offered friendship and affection in limited quantities.
In graduate school, he developed a fondness for evaluating my girlfriends. Any he disapproved of rarely lasted long.
Then, in a burst of awareness, I understood that the cat had better taste in women than I did. I know, what a terrible admission to make about myself. But it was true. I was happier with women on the official “approved by Clancy” list.
I learned to watch his reaction to them as much as I watched their response to him. If he disapproved, we would get up on the refrigerator and stare while pretending that he was going to leap at you. He preferred intimidation to mere violence where possible. Thank goodness because when he turned violent, things turned ugly – ask the German Shepard dogs, he beat up.
The worst thing you could do is treat him as a cute kitty; this was lèse-majesté. You could warn people not to pick him up and cuddle him, but not all listened. It certainly culled the field of potential girlfriends, fast.
With all this as a prelude, I was amazed by what happened when I met Mandy after grad school. She offered a hand for smelling and the requisite nip. Then she sat down and ignored him while he gave her a look over. He disliked being ignored, so he came over to smell her and rub against her. With these positive signs, we began to date regularly. We gradually moved onto a serious relationship. Then one weekend, she stayed over at my place. I went shopping and left her alone with the devil cat. When I returned, I found her curled up on couch reading. Resting comfortably on her lap was Mr. Devil cat himself, glaring at me. The look he gave me was all -“…and what do you want? Go away now.”
He made it clear over the following months that while I was his buddy, she was his “mom.”
So that you know he didn’t become a total softie. He continued beating up german shepherds, intimidating other cats, and bleeding humans for tasty blood samples. Only concerning “mom” did he change his ways, and even she did not get off entirely. When “mom” failed him, he’d wait till early morning, get up on the bureau, and as soon as he had her attention stare at her, and swat her earings to the floor. He compounded his revenge by rapidly jumping down and chasing the earing where it would never be found. Over the years, she built up an extensive collection of unmatched earrings. I replaced what he lost.
It became clear that I had to marry “mom.” She was Miss Right. Four children, two cats, and two dogs later, I think my lovely wife still has a box of unmatched earrings tucked away.