Mean Animals

“When I was a kid, I used to nag – a lot. I would go to my room, shut the door, often latch it from inside, and talk to the posters of animals in my room and nag some more. Yell out my side of the story, seek sympathy, say things out loud that hurt me. Talk about other the mean kids. Yell out bad words.”

Mom would barge in and say, “Keep the door open baby. Don’t latch it from inside.”

“But why mom?”

“Because kids shouldn’t be confined in their rooms all alone. That’s why. God forbid, if something goes wrong, we wouldn’t even come to know about it.”

“Okay. Fineee, mom!”

“And that happened every other day. Any time things went wrong, or upset me, I did the same thing; locked myself in and talked to these lifeless posters for hours and hours.  And it was not always just a one sided vent. These animals talked too. And I listened to them more than I listened to my best friend, or my teacher, or my own parents.  And this went on, say, till I was in my late teen years.”

“And then what happened?” asked the doctor.

boy-and-dog

“Then it stopped. Obviously. I grew up.”

“But why is it the obvious, Sam?”

“Because …” I said, and dragged my chair closer to him and whispered, “animals are mean, doc.”

“Can you elaborate? What did they do to you, Sam?”

“What did they do? They fucked up my childhood. That’s what they did doc. What did they do!”

“Go on Sam, I am listening. Tell me more.”

“Doctor, how do I even begin? You’d think I am crazy.”

“I promise you Sam, that’s one thing I certainly wouldn’t.”

“Fine then. So, monkeys … yeah doctor, you’d think monkeys like to mimic us? Don’t they? I mean that’s where the phrase comes from? Monkeys see and monkeys do? Right doctor?”

“Right!”

“Wrong. Monkeys see, but monkeys don’t do it the way we do it. They learn from it and they do it worse than we do it. Let’s say, I throw shit at you when I am mad. Right, doctor? Say, I am not following the prescription. Not eating right. And you say, Sam you are grounded. Give me an injection or something. Then what do I do? I lock myself in the room for hours right? That’s me throwing shit at you. You know?  But if you are mean to these monkeys … these monkeys would throw shit too, except it would be – real shit. Feaces,you know?  Poop. Stool. You know what I mean? Sometimes right from the toilet. ”

“Okay. I hear you, Sam. Any other mean animal stories, you have other than monkeys?”

“Yes. Yes, I do. Squirrels.”

“Squirrels?”

“Squirrels!”

“What about them?”

“You think, they are cute and eat nuts and look pretty all day?”

“Uh-huh. I guess.”

“Well I am not taking all that away from them. They are kinda cute. Except … except, when they are not. Except when they chew your ears off.”

“Okay, did this happen with you, Sam? Did a squirrel try to chew your ears?”

“Try? Can’t you see my right ear doctor? Does it look normal to you?”

“It does to me, Sam.”

“Ah, come on doc! You know what is normal? My left ear. This one right here. Look! But my right ear? My right ear looks like Africa’s map. And you know why?”

“Why?”

“Because a mean squirrel ate it, when I was a kid.”

“Got it, Sam. That’s awful. It shouldn’t have happened. Let me document that. Give me a second.”

“Hey, doc!”

“Yeah? Sam.”

“Can you also report it to the animal’s department or whatever the hell it is called?”

“Report, what?”

“That squirrels are dangerous and can eat kids? I mean, it’s for the parents to know. You know? I don’t want any other kid to suffer like I did.”

“That’s very nice of you to think that, Sam. I will certainly do that.”

“Thanks, a lot doc. You are the best. Okay, so the next one’s an Owl.”

“An owl? You say!”

“Yes, an owl. I say.”

“Okay. What did the owl do to you, Sam?”

“They did not do anything as such. They just … ugh. They are unintelligent and boring.”

“Unintelligent?”

“Yes. Like, they are stupid. You know? Like,  S.T.P.U.D.I?

“You meant to say, S.T.U.P.I.D.  Correct Sam?”

“huh?”

“Nevermind. Why are they stupid, again?”

“I don’t know, so there is this phrase that begins with, “An old wise owl once told me …” right?”

“Yeah? So?”

“Yeah. So, I thought, if owls are wise, I would sneak one for my math test once. Bad idea, doc. You shouldn’t sneak owls in math exams. I swear to god they are of no help. I mean, here I am, asking him what is (a+b)2, and all it does is open its eyes wide tilt his head and stare at the paper hard, like he knows the answer? You know? But then he goes back to sleep, like HE is tired of reading the night before. Stupid owl.”

“Sam, I would blame that on his upbringing and his parents. He should have helped you.  And wait? You took an owl to the exam hall?”

“Yes. Yes I did, doc. And like I said, it was a bad idea. No one should take owls to their exam halls.”

“No, Sam. I meant, more like, what did the examiner say? Was he okay with you walking in the exam hall with a bird?”

“Oh all that I don’t remember doc. It was way long back! 5th grade. Long loooong back … ”

“Okay, fair enough. What next?”

“Aaa. Snakes. No. Leeches. No, wait … I had something in mind.  Aa … yeah … Cats.”

“Cats?”

“Cats. Yes, cats. Cats are nice. I mean, I like cats. I honestly do. They are kinda … you know… they get me.”

“So, what is the issue with cats then, Sam?”

“No issues, doc. It’s just that, I don’t like their attitude. I mean they think, they are better than me? You know what I mean?  It’s like … it’s like my best friend, say, Vicky for instance, who is better than me and I am slightly jealous of him and he knows that.Right? So what does he do? He simply tries to make sure that I never forget that he is better than me. You know? He would even spill all my milk and bite my toe, but he is yet somehow better than me. ”

“Who? Vicky spills milk and bites your toe?”

“The cat doc. It’s a … it’s a metaphor. Jesus!”

“Alright. Alright. I missed that, totally my fault … sorry Sam. I should have thought of that.”

“Yes.  Yes, you should have. And hey doc …”

“Yeah, Sam?”

“Do you hear the knock?”

“I think, I do hear the knock. Who do you think it could be? I have cancelled all my appointments for the day!”

“I don’t know doc. No idea! But do you want me to open the door?”

“Yeah, Sam. Go ahead. Open it. I don’t mind.”

So, I open the door. And mom says,“Sweetie. Sam, who were you talking to? Have you been talking to yourself again?”

“No way, mom. What do you think, I am crazy? I was talking to Bruno.”

“Oh no. no. no. Dogs don’t talk baby.”

“Sure, they do mom. Dogs do talk. You will never understand.”

“Yeah. Right, Sam.  I am the one who will never understand. And what is that owl sticker doing on your shoulders?”

“Oh this one? Yeah, he is going to help me in tomorrow’s math exam, mom.”

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