Perhaps you think I am doing this blog on my own, without any assistance — except for the images I borrow from the Miracle of the Internet. I haven’t even asked WordPress for assistance, although I’m about to, because a couple of entries are using images from the middle of the post rather than the one I intended, from the top. It’s not my biggest concern, but it annoys me.
I do, however, get help with this blog. I’ve made passing references in other entries, but it’s time to come right out and address the assistance I’m getting. But first, literally lifted directly from Where the Sidewalk Ends, is Uncle Shelby, Shel Silverstein’s immortal insight into the nature of assistance:
I do so wish I could memorize this. I need it, sometimes on a nearly daily basis, close to mind, but all of my brain cells appear otherwise occupied. (Captain Kirk’s serial number? SC-937-0176-CEC. Why do you ask?) All I can ever remember is that Zachary Zugg’s help really isn’t.
Which brings us to Na Ki’o, the Zachary Zugg of this blog.
Like most members of this family (except Lynn: she comes from the Miracle of the Internet), Na Ki’o is a Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League foundling. He had kind of a tough journey to get here. As I understand it, he started life with an elderly woman who was quite ill, and his job apparently was to sit at the end of her bed and grow fat.
The lady had to move somewhere where Ki’o couldn’t go, so he ended up a ward of GVAWL. I remember seeing him on one of their posters, and I think the caption said something like, “This guy’s been with us 18 months and we can’t figure out why.” The next poster announced he had diabetes, and that’s when Lynn and I knew we had to take him.
Perhaps it’s something I do, but Ki’o is my fourth diabetic cat. The first one, MacDuff (Admiral Tiberius MacDuff, if you really need his papered name — or the name he was given since none of us could agree on just one of those names), contracted diabetes at age 13, and his vet predicted he wouldn’t make it past six months. Ha! He lived to be 19.
Then, when Lynn moved here and left her cats behind (they were invited, but she didn’t think they’d survive the trip), we got two kittens from my friend Marty. Qenti (I always called her Squinty) and Khonsu both contracted their diabetes at much younger ages. We ended up losing Squinty at nine or so to kidney failure. The biggest sadness of my pet life was Khonsu, who went out the door on the morning of her 13th birthday (as she did every day for 13 years) and never returned.
We acquired Na Ki’o somewhere after Squinty died, because Khonsu seemed a bit out of sorts without her around, even though they never seemed to interact with each other. (Khonsu was always better buddies with Ashoka the dog.) Ki’o’s arrival did perk up Khonsu, but he came with some medical complications: his diabetes was completely out of control, and he also had undiagnosed pancreatitis (unearthed initially by a veterinarian on the Miracle of the Internet). He now also takes a pill for liver health, and some prednisolone for recently-developed asthma.
He arrived with a different name, and — kind of like MacDuff — we spent days casting about for just the right name. We kept focusing on his somewhat gelatinous qualities. I wanted to call him Armus, for a black oil-slick malevolence in an early Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, but he isn’t mean or bad. Lynn consulted the Internet (a miracle indeed, if you haven’t realized it by now), which told her the Hawaiian word for “puddle” is na ki’o. (I don’t know how Hawaiians pronounce it; we say Nuh KEY oh.)
So far I have not succeeded in reproducing his very puddleness through photographs, and I sure wish I knew how to create and then post an audio file, because his purr is something to hear. He had to go to the vet’s (where they once pointed out that Na is salt and Ki is potassium) this week for an eye issue, and the technician got to experience the Lifting o’ the Cat, which really is like trying to wrestle a bag of Jell-o.
One of Ki’o’s new daily tasks — which he takes very seriously — is to help me with this blog. I’m pretty sure I already told you that I generally start the day’s entry in a prone position, waiting for the first 19 minutes of CBS This Morning. Na Ki’o likes to start the day somewhere between my chest and chin, draped clear across my torso, his prodigious purr in full “on” mode.
Sometimes he likes to hang off my side, on top of my arm, and he gets a bit distressed if I try lifting it to type. Occasionally he settles for down on top of my feet, which is more helpful to me, but he generally seems to think his input is better provided from in front of the keyboard.
Then, when I do move to a sitting position, he sees his place as there on my lap. If he would just hop up and hold still, we could probably get somewhere, but he has to wiggle, and spin, and flop, and flip, and then start kneading my side . . . I keep waiting for the day when my very expensive, overpowered gaming computer (I bought it for the glowy keyboard, all right?) becomes a casualty of this “assistance.”
There is a disease out there that afflicts many of us who work at Pat’s Screen Printing. We probably read about it — where? Oh, that’s right: the Internet. It’s called feline paralysis. There’s a canine variant as well. It when an animal gets in your lap — usually just before you want to get up — and pins you in place, sometimes for hours. Some people are more resistant than others — Lynn, for instance, can generally overcome her symptoms without compunction — but others of us fall victim time and time again. Perhaps daily.
I should say, in fairness, or to spread the blame, that I get other help with this blog. Earlier today, for instance, there was a pause because Ozzyx needed his head scratched, and while it didn’t happen today, Marrakesh loves to play the In-Out Game (you sit down, he wants out; you sit down, he wants in). But most of the assistance you never see comes directly from The Puddle.
On those rare (and I’m talking rare, barely worth mentioning) times that Lynn finds me more trouble than not, I like to invoke the Koala Brothers: “I’m here to help.”
And so is Na Ki’o.