R.I.P. Finnegan In the summer of 1998 or thereabouts -- dates are difficult to differentiate in the whorl of undergradute years -- I found an orange kitten huddled underneath my back porch. It was winter and the kitten seemed starving, so I did what I could to introduce it into my household, which at the time consisted of one very angry and possessive woman who was having none of this interloper, so when my neighbors mentioned having lost their kitten the next day, it was better for everyone involved that he return home. Two years and two kittens later -- the latter having been semi-almost-successfully integrated into the household -- my wife and I were returning from an ill-timed trip to the grocery store. The Louisiana rain did as Louisiana rain does, soaking everything beyond the telling of it and as my wife and I shuffled our groceries out of the car and into the house, a wet orange ball followed us in. Without even bothering to introduce himself, the cat who would be Finnegan walked over to a food bowl and began eating. His silence -- as we would soon learn -- was unusual. He had, it seemed, been hungry for some time, so we took him in for the night. I checked with the neighbor the next day to see if she had misplaced her orange cat again, only to discover that my neighbor had moved. Finnegan had not been welcome there anymore for reasons anyone who ever knew him would be incapable of understanding. Granted, he did enjoy chewing through wires -- and the more expensive the equipment they were attached the better. But the attention being paid to the noises in the headphones was better spent on him and he needed you to know that. But he wasn't sure you did -- so he asked you questions. Finnegan always asked everybody questions, his voice rising into an interrogative with every subsequent mew. Because he was never satisfied with any answer and would engage you in an endless interrogation into matters only he understood fully. I mention this because the house is so quiet and unquestioned since his passing. I walk around wondering why the world's allowed to just exist and am reminded of the absence of its inquisitor. Most of the time I think he was asking whether this or that inedible substance was edible. We sometimes referred to him -- with love -- as "the Finnegoat" because he would eat anything and did so with evident relish. It was his waning appetite that clued us in to the fact that something was wrong, and that something, as is often the case with elderly cats, fell to his kidneys. We managed his condition with medication for almost five months -- five months in which I should have spent more time with him -- but in the end he let us know his time had come with his silence. The bright boy who once questioned the world quieted his...
In which intrepid journalist SEK experiences some “Growing Pains” So I almost landed an interview with Kirk Cameron about why he thought his new film was the lowest rated movie on IMDB, but I heard back from his people and apparently he found something I wrote yesterday “terribly disappointing” and called it off — which I found weird given that I didn’t work yesterday.* But in case you’re wondering what it’s like to be vetted by Kirk Cameron’s people, it goes something like this: SEK is being interviewed by Kirk Cameron’s Handler (KCH) for a potential article. KCH: Kirk wants to know if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Christ the Savior. SEK: I attended CCD for a few years and studied Latin in college. I translated a lot of the Church Fathers — Augustine, Aquinas, and the like. KCH: That’s really interesting, really. So you know about sin? SEK: I know more than anyone cares to about the danger stealing pears from your neighbor can pose for your soul. KCH: So you were raised Catholic? SEK: Catholic and Jewish. KCH: You know Hebrew? SEK: Passably. KCH: Kirk’s a big fan of Hebrew, big fan. SEK: It’s the only dead language to be revived. KCH: I didn’t know that, did not know. That’s really interesting. Are you gay? SEK: I am not. KCH: Good, good, just need to dot those “t”s. Have you ever been gay? SEK: I have not, but I’m not sure how that’s relevant to my ability to discuss film. Did you read the links I sent? KCH: I did, and they were great, great. Loved them, loved. But some of the language was not quite Christ-like. SEK: I can adapt to my audience — we’ve been talking for twenty minutes and I haven’t cussed once. KCH: That’s true, true. Good. What are your feelings about “gotcha” interviews? SEK: They get you one good moment, but burn your reputation for being fair-minded to people you disagree with. KCH: So you don’t like them? Hate them? SEK: I can’t do my job if people don’t trust me to treat them fairly. KCH: That sounds fair, really fair. How do you think this is going? SEK: Pretty good. KCH: I think so too. I think we can make this work. I like you. SEK: Thanks. I like to be likable. KCH: Which is why I’m worried about the state of your soul, but we can talk about that later. SEK: Do I need to be saved to do the interview? KCH: Kirk would definitely be more comfortable, definitely. SEK: ? KCH: Definitely. SEK: ? KCH: Let me pass this on to Kirk, and I’ll let you know. *I did however write this on Facebook and I suppose he could’ve found that offensive.