The good humor man

The good humor man

Question: Do cats have a sense of humor?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Do cats have a good sense of humor?

Answer: Of course they do. But they’re not so sure about us.

It has been observed that angels can only fly because they take themselves lightly. This surely applies to the cheeky cherubs of Tabby’s Place, with their crooked halos and crinkled ears and capacity to defy gravity (which is more of a suggestion than a law, if you ask any feline physicist).

Although you’ll never hear a cat laugh, if you listen closely enough, you’ll realize they never stop laughing.

This is especially obvious in the case of comedic gold miners like Baby, the stuffed sausage with smiling eyes.

Baby is a slapstickler for joy, unable to rest until everyone he loves has laughed at least fifteen times today. This is quite a feat, since (a) being equal parts stuffed sausage, sea lion, and neutron star, Baby appears to be “at rest” twenty-three hours a day, and (b) Baby loves everyone, zero exceptions, not even people who can’t believe gelatinous yellow plastic is not butter.

But Baby is a hard-working comic, undaunted by the over-serious or the under-buttery or the undercurrent of sadness that sloshes beneath human smiles.

He will wield his considerable size and his G.K. Chesterton wit and his Cheshire cat charm on behalf of The Laugh: yours, mine, the universe’s itself. He will rise from his richly-deserved rest to run like a sleek leopard through the Medical Suite (where he shares the sweet life with Angelo, filling Luna‘s loony shoes), jowls and gut and grace jiggling wildly in all directions.

He is ridiculous.

He is righteous.

He is radiant.

The cat bigger than a balloon will pretend to be a buffoon (let the reader understand that no cat in history has ever been an actual buffoon), thundering through the room like a feral baboon, his speed and his silliness a spectacular mismatch for his heft and his hugeness.

No creature so colossal should frolic so fast; no marine mammal so massive should carouse so kittenlike; no eyes on earth should smile so sweetly, until you’re smiling too, at yourself and your Baby and your world in all its humor and horror.

Being a cat, Baby was born with abilities that come much harder to our kind: identifying bologna (literal and existential), molding oneself to the precise dimensions of an Amazon box, holding humor and horror in tension without feeling tense.

But for all his easy humor, Baby has not had an easy life. The big-bellied belly-laugher lives with a condition that never quits (diabetes), and the very real possibility of an adopter that will never come (see: diabetes). Unexpected events occur daily, from delayed dinner (to say nothing of the absence of even a perfunctory pat of butter to accompany aforementioned dinner) to the disappearance of favorite volunteers (where do people go when they go away?) to the sulking sunshine streaking low in the sky every winter.

Baby’s life is not without disappointment or perplexity.

But Baby’s life is lavish with laughter, and that makes all the difference.

Which is why he’s devoted to making a difference in lives like yours and mine.

Baby worries about us, you know. He sees how seriously we take everything from our health to our hopes to the price of hash browns, and he’s here to humor us. Which is to say, he’s here to heal us through the honeyed power of his own humor.

If he can laugh at the lack of sausage in his habitat, and the fact that he needs to be jabbed with a needle twice daily, and the excruciating wait between BTS albums, then you can laugh even when life sloshes your plans.

You can be a big baby and a big buffoon and a big fan of life all at once.

You can feel the pain and rage at loss and low-fat dairy and still, still, still see the humor and the heart and the hope and the art.

You can carry someone else on the strong back of your own buffoonery, lacing laughs together into a strong bridge over troubled waters.

You can baby yourself and your beloveds with humor that’s a kind of hand-squeeze.

You can hurtle your hugest fears and your heartfelt dreams through the room, lounging and loving and leaping higher than any adult has any right to do.

Except that every adult, of every species, has both the right and the responsibility to leap.

To laugh, primarily at oneself.

And so, perchance, to fly.

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