The Shakers tell me it’s a gift to be simple.
If we connect the dots, then, we can see that it must be a gift to be Mervyn.
“Simple living” has gotten a lot of good press in the last few years. The recession has gotten everyone pumped about things like canning their own yams and darning their own socks and buying expensive Zen-ish sculpture fountains that let everyone know they’re into simplicity. Simple is hot. Simple is swell.
But, in the case of Mervyn, that’s not quite the kind of “simple” that comes to mind. I’m sure he’d be happy to compost his own kibble and bike to the farmer’s market with reusable bags for $29/pound tarragon. But today, we’re talking about the fact that he looks sorta simple.
Simple as in…um, simple-minded. Simpleton-style. Not so much Real Simple as reeeeeeeeeall simple.
And yet (please don’t stone me!)…simply irresistible.
I mean, look at him. Try to resist him. I dare ya:
Was resistance futile? Yup. Me too.
Now, I hasten to add that I’m in no position to comment on Mervyn’s actual mental firepower (or lack thereof). Just because he looks a little simple doesn’t mean a thing. For all I know, he may have worked out the finer details of string theory and dark matter and the reason soccer moms love Twilight in that charming little head of his. A cat’s brain may be the size of a kumquat…but they are generally densely packed with brilliance. Size means nothing. Crossed eyes mean nothing. A “simple” face means nothing.
But Mervyn’s love means more than all the simple gifts you could pile on a Shaker chair. Mervyn’s peepers may be crossed, but his affections are utterly clear-eyed.
It is a gift, that love. Like any true gift, it’s not just there for the grabbing, not something to be assumed or taken for granted the instant you walk through the door. (Though, if you’re looking for that, Luther will be happy to oblige.) We don’t know everything about Mervyn’s past, but something in it made him just a little leery of human beans, a little slow in letting us moosh that mervylous face.
We do know that this timid soul has suffered several shares. As one of our FIV+ boys, it’s likely poor Merv ended up on the wrong end of some mean kitty’s teeth outdoors. (The virus is typically contracted via deep bite wounds, and Mervyn is definitely more the type to receive, rather than give, a chomp.) Then there’s those sad, sweet eyes. As if their crossed-ness wasn’t enough, Mervyn came to us with entropion, a condition in which the eyelashes turn painfully inward. As you can see from the stitches in some of these photos, we gave Mervyn surgery to correct this uncomfortable condition. That’s a good thing. But, still, it’s a lot for a little guy to go through in his first few weeks in a big new world.
So there’s understandably nothing simple about earning Mervyn’s love…not if you’re a human, anyway.
If you’re a cat, however, love is a very simple matter indeed. Once Mervyn lays eyes (adorably-crossed, quirky eyes) on you, it’s a done deal. Fern the loner is not immune. Nuttin the alpha-cat is not immune. Edward the King is not immune. (Sorry ’bout that last one, Merv.)
Even utter unconsciousness will not deter Mervyn from loving his neighbor. Recently a couple of staff members were amused to find Mervyn smooshing and snuggling Kirk with gusto, while Kirk slept on, oblivious. (If they were humans, this would have been 57 varieties of creepy. Fortunately, cat laws are considerably looser about mooshing your friends in their sleep.)
So there’s no question: this is a cat of deep, complex, ragingly-awesome love. Extending it from his preferred species to ours won’t be simple…but we’re already seeing hints that it’s worth it.
In fact, maybe the best thing we do, as we teach Mervyn what it’s like to be loved, is to bring our own brains to a simpler place. There’s nothing like childlike love - simplicity - to crumble tall defenses.
And when we’re looking for the very best sort of simplicity amidst the trends and talk, we need search no further than the gentle guy in Suite FIV.