Cute, and…

Cute, and…

There’s a reason you visit this hard-hitting, peer-reviewed, academically rigorous blog.

You come here for cutting-edge discoveries and sophisticated hypotheses.

You come for Copernican revolutions and challenging concepts.

You come for explosive information such as this: kittens are cute.

Rufus is cute, but Rufus is primarily Rufus.

You, my dears, are capable of metabolizing such lofty data. But the world at large is just not ready.

We must be patient with them, the way cats are patient with us. If cats can wait until we are ready to accept that the axis of the universe is a large cheese stick and every cat is simultaneously the sole emperor of reality, we can wait on our neighbors.

I jest, you say. When it comes to kittens, the one thing we need not do is wait. Kitten adopters arrive like lovable locusts covering the land. They pull up in triple-decker buses bursting with besotted baby-snugglers. Everyone wants a kitten. Everyone loves a kitten.

Surely, everyone knows that kittens are cute.

I once believed this. I believed this was the reason my brand new boss, Jonathan Rosenberg, invoked the Tabby’s Place P.A. system to announce across 7,000 square feet: “I am going to the Lobby to play with kittens. You have been informed.”

It’s nifty that Silent Bob is cute, but it’s spectacular that Silent Bob is Silent Bob.

I believed this was why we all stopped what we were doing and sprinted to join him. I believed this is why we transformed into toddlers, with some omnipotent contagion of cuteness turning us all wildlike and childlike.

(I believed I had the best boss in the multiverse. I stand by this belief.)

I believed this was why we repeated such a scene, year after year, no matter how many kittens we had seen and smooched and subjected to names like Wigglytuff and NooNoo. I believed this was why kittens cured curmudgeons and cynics and curly-haired girls scared of turning forty.

I believed too little.

Jonathan knew the radical truth, as electrifying as particle physics or string theory. These purring particles are concentrated power. They are the essence of the Big Everything.

Kittens are cute. But let’s translate this for the non-specialists: kittens are not only cute.

Loki may be cute, but the universe leans in close because Loki is Loki.

Kittens are cute, but kittens are not exclusively cute.

Kittens are cute, but kittens are not primarily cute.

Cuteness is the second-to-least interesting thing about kittens, followed by their adolescent-boy table manners.

Why is it radical to say “kittens are cute”? Simply because it belongs in the same paragraph as “kittens are soft,” “kittens are feline,” and “kittens are desirable candidates for Congress.”

Which means, once we’ve said that, we can get on to the real meat of kittenhood.

Bartleby is Bartleby; cuteness is a welcome by-product.

Kittens are individuals, as much as you and me and Einstein and Ice Spice and the venerable Honey.

Bartleby is Bartleby before and after he is cute. He is fascinated by his environment. He has a crush on his tail. He believes in stretching and mindfulness.

Silent Bob is Silent Bob before and after he is cute. He is infused with irony, mindful that each of his many “mews” is an asterisk after his name. He uses his softness to soften a granite world. He uses his hours to enjoy enjoyment itself.

Loki is Loki before and after he is cute. He is an art project with arms, a toddling space station of personal exploration. He is impulse and instinct and enough intuition to save the world, if we’d let him, which we should.

Jay is Jay before and after he is cute. He is a magpie and a mastermind, fond of objects and empty of objections. He is flight and landing, a student of gravity and gravy-based products.

Jay enjoys being cute. Jay exults in being Jay.

Rufus is Rufus before and after he is cute. He laughs at his burps and hears music in Mondays. He is open to the possibility of a day he might not like, but he has yet to see one. He is a brother to all who breathe.

They are as different as Snoop Dogg and Grover Cleveland. They are precious, peculiar little people, and they are big enough people to let us call them “people.” They heal us because they are hop-toads of naked awe. And if they were green and naked and as cute as cuttlefish, they would retain the full spectrum of their powers.

(OK, cuttlefish are heckin’ cute, too.)

Kittens are cute. But Tabby’s Place delicately disproves the flat-earth fallacy that kittens are chiefly cute. Kittens are the world’s chieftains and our hearts’ heroes. They just so happen to be adorable.

The fellas’ Mom, Serendipity, is also rather cute. But she would much rather talk about literary journals or the history of sand mandalas.

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