Being recently unemployed, I have been awarded with the gift of time. Time to sit at my desk staring at a computer caught in a dizzying cycle of Word, Facebook, and email, only to turn slightly to my left to grab an acoustic guitar and write something new or continue on a particularly wiggly song that does not want to be wrangled in by the likes of me. As I face my desk, to the left is a standing lamp, a large brown plaid-tweed 1970’s chair complete with ottoman (my especially favorite piece of furniture) and a Woodsy the Owl stuffed animal (who is constantly reminding me not to pollute), my bed (simple and soft, with blankets of ivory and brown, big enough for two, but probably not for three – never tried it), my night table containing a clock radio I was given when I was 12 which now serves as merely a clock and an excellent place for stacking books, a small globe-like lamp with a dimmer switch, and a large window with a seat of sorts that looks out into the crumbling beauty and deafening cacophony of Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Although I angle my computer slightly to the right, so as to keep a peripheral watch on my door which I always leave slightly open, my majority of movements are to the left. I focus forward when writing lyrics, which I do on legal pads, and for scheduling and booking, as I keep large pages of the calendar months strewn about my desk – constantly shuffled and misplaced and ever growing fuller. As mentioned earlier, I most often turn to the left to pick up my guitar, which I keep on a stand between the desk and the chair. This motion is repeated 10-15 times a day throughout a 10-12 hour span and has provided me constant glances of Hank, my cat, most peacefully asleep on the bed.

I had no idea how much this cat could sleep. It is awesome. With every slight shift to the side I am immediately drawn to this bloated pot roast, covered in dusty black fur. Usually splayed to air out his belly, which resembles the balding head of an 80 year-old man (with eight nipples, at last count), Hank’s accompanying snoring is an exact impression of air whining out through the stretched lips of a balloon. He is my hero. His sleep is only interrupted for very economical trips to the water dish, food bowl and litter box. Sleepy and content, he quickly falls back into one of his resplendent poses, as litter gently falls from his toes and into the sheets.

I imagine Hank as possessing the qualities of the corpulent French and British kings of old – remarkably charming, quite handsome and athletic in their younger days, but now fat, gay, extremely hungry and very sleepy. There is something regal about this cat. His confidence astounds as he merely lifts a sleepy eye to see which point in time he has awoken to now, not caring that he is no longer in heavy velvet robes, turgid from a banquet feast, but instead naked in 21st century Massachusetts, catching a nice breeze carried aloft by sirens, staring at a semi-naked, rather hairy man hunched over a keyboard. He contentedly drifts back to sleep while stretched along creamy sheets of a particularly high thread-count given this follicly-rampant man’s lack of income.

Hank is the king. I often find myself in awkward social situations, feeling outnumbered or just unconfident, and I have to think, “What would Hank do?” In that moment, a wave of cool washes over me as if Arthur Fonzurelli just remembered that he had his jacket with him the whole time, he casually slips it on and becomes, “The Fonz.” I head straight for the food table and am not bashful about trying whatever looks good, and maybe sniffing or nibbling at whatever looks suspicious. I begin to circle around unsuspecting lady’s legs and before I know it, they are stroking my hair and telling me that I’m such a gooooood boy. Gladly, eyes closed, I accept such attention until I become bored or restless and without warning set off for a nice comfortable place to curl up for awhile. When I awake, I repeat the process – food, attention, rest. This method works pretty well unless Hank shows up at the same party and then I just hope that he talks to me.

But these days Hank is happy to just relax and dream and visit all the lives he has lived. Never before have I had the opportunity to witness how he spends his days, and the look of bliss upon his face allows me to enjoy this with him. I guess I would place Hank as a combination Henry VIII, The Fonz and The Dude – regal, large, cool and lazy. I wonder if he thinks I’m cool, too, other than the fact that I clean his litter box and let him eat from my plate, drink from my cup, and seduce my lady friends. I think, like The Dude, Hank is taking it easy for the rest of us while we try to “achieve.” So every time I turn to the left and see this charming, sleeping beauty, like an engorged Brando of the 80’s, I think to myself that right there truly is one cool cat.

I’m sorry, did I wake you?

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