I used to live in a place where one of the biggest threats to wearing flip flops was stray hypodermic needles.
Each year, as summer slowly unfolded on us after a terrifying winter of navigating Philadelphia in three feet of snow and the stealthy dog shit hidden within, our feet would grow more and more impatient.
“HEY!” they’d scream with their shrill, obnoxious foot voices. “NO MORE SOCKS. IT’S 90 DEGREES OUTSIDE.”
“Jesus!” I’d reply. “There’s another hypodermic needle lodged under my toe nail!”
Yes, our discomfort in warmer weather was a result of our geographical placement. A Philadelphia crack alley is nowhere to raise a child, I thought. I would always think this watching neighborhood kids run around the vacant lot behind the apartment, playing what I assumed was a game until four of them started hurling bricks at the other one and demanding money.
So, with no children to worry about, I laced up my sneakers, tightly, and wandered off.
That may sound like a miserable condition to find oneself in just as baseball is coming back on television, but there were plenty of other scenarios that led to screaming. I’m sure you’ve noticed my mention of that irascible/highly rabid possum that lived in my garbage. But there’s no doubt that even if my crossbow had found his torso like the cross bow salesman in a van told me it would, there would have been an army of hideous street cats backing him up.
Which is what makes San Francisco’s reaction toward advancing to the NLCS all the more questionable. What happened when they advanced in the playoffs for the first time in seven years? Why, they started releasing cats from the Humane League, of course!
Not quite. They’re only releasing the orange and black ones, and they’re only releasing them in exchange for money, albeit a lower amount than normal. Yes, the SF Humane Society has taken the duty upon itself to pick who will live and who will die of their city’s stray kitty population.
Which, let’s face it, is playing with fire. And out of the flames comes 30 frazzled, feral cats, all on high alert; backs arched, fur poofed, tails straight up in the air like a car antenna, the startling, building sound of “rreeeawwWWWRRRRRRRR!!” that undoubtedly accompanies such an image.
Five or six of those things coordinate the right attack pattern, and you’re spending tomorrow getting your corpse dragged into a dumpster that smells like day old restaurant sea food. Or at least spreading Neosporin all over your legs while cursing the ancient feline ancestors who brought the plague upon us.
These cats have known nothing but a life of crime, and now their liberated population level is getting a spike they did not expect but will most assuredly take advantage of. And San Francisco will have no choice but to bathe in the bloodspray of their own mistakes, watching the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges collapse from riotous battles and hasty evacuations, and isolating the few remaining survivors from the hope, promise, and sanctity Oakland has always offered.
And yeah, sure, they would build a new society as America abandoned them, assuming the remains of the city weren’t worth the man power lost in recapturing it. Quarantined out of everyone’s memories, they would have to time to make peace, the cats and humans, and their begrudging respect would eventually blossom into a solid alliance.
The world left us to die, they’d say. But freedom from the sins and distractions of the outside has allowed us the time and discipline to evolve into stronger, more powerful versions of our respective breeds.
And one day, we would pay for out betrayal, as an attack that caught us totally off guard ends in the Federation for the Betterment of Human-Cat Relations raising its flag over the Capitol Building as Washington D.C. burns around them. No human nor not-shaded-orange-and-black cat would be spared from the furious hostility of our destroyers.
As you sit there, considering the image of a cat wearing a tie being sworn into the office of the U.S. President, remember where this started: In San Francisco, with the Giants, their specifically-colored cats… and a sense of charity, blind to the obvious horrors of our oncoming future.
I don’t know about you, but this is one American saying, “Not on my watch.”
In Phillies news, the Phillies faced challenges this season, but in the end, overcame them. This has been “Phillies news.”