Sun. May 28th, 2023


by Ken Carman
 Millie and I have two cats: Hodge Podge and Willow. The names refer to their different coats: Hodge a mish mash, Willow brackish blackish fur. I had told Millie that a cat who had just adopted us needed to be fixed just before I went on tour years ago and, well, the ‘alarm’ went off on the “too late” clock too soon.
 We wanted to keep one and take the rest to the Humane Society’s shelter. So I introduced myself to all of them and noticed one that looked a tad like willow woodwork: black mixed with soft shaded of another color, like ghostly shades of yellow and white hiding deep behind the black, adding beauty to otherwise less remarkable obsidian fur. I picked her up and immediately another kitten tried to swat me, nuzzle me… anything to make me pick her up instead.
 We kept both. But because they were so different; from birth, they have kept me wondering: are some bullies born that way? And does this tell you anything about the current occupant of the White House? What does it tell us about Republican politics these days?
 At least 15 years later Hodge Podge still bullies Willow away from the cat food, so we have to set out separate dish for her and Hodge Podge occasionally bullies her away from that too. They do lie on the same bed: as far away from each other as they can get, but sometimes Hodge Podge will chase her away from there too. She’ll lie in wait at random places in the house occasionally and swat at Willow, hiss, and then chase her around the house until she escapes our hole-y house… eventually she sneaks back in. Willow is always obedient to her sister, but that’s never quite good enough for Hodge.
 Our cat has a pet cat, though perhaps more like a house slave cat.
 Some of this is typical cat loner behavior, but mostly not. Hodge Podge has a servant she always keeps in line and treasures tormenting. The two collies we’ve had during her time either ignore her or show HER who is boss. She would serve them, but they don’t care. So instead Hodge follows them around.
 I figure it’s like how bullies will become part of the gang led by the bigger bully, like how so many Republicans tried to beat down Trump now behave like well beaten slave were supposed to act.
 What Hodge doesn’t understand is the collies don’t care: not in their nature. Cats are either to be sniffed or ignored. Hodge doesn’t understand: Payson our current collie is the sniffer. She tries to swat him and he returns to sniffing. The bully has no power.
 Lately she follows him instead. Hodge likes to eat dog food. It’s not good for cats. I catch her regularly trying to eat his food: even sneaking underneath Payson the collie where she thinks I can’t see. She gets swatted and stays away… for a while.
 I think of Trump, Graham and most Republicans and I see Hodge Podge v. Willow, Podge and the collies. Republicans mistakenly thought they had the right to at least an ounce of independence. They quickly learned in Trumpistan NO THEY DON’T. Now, no matter how nasty and over the top, how traitorous, how dictatorial, most cringe and continue to serve the head bully, the Republican Godfather, the head of the criminal organization.
 Donald Trump does have masters. He serves somewhat smarter bullies: North Korea, Russia, China.
 From birth Hodge Podge has been a bully. I wouldn’t doubt that might describe Trump too. Is it nature? Is it nurture? As I suspect is it different mixtures of both most of the time?From what I vaguely remember hearing about Trump’s father, when I was quite young and going into NYC city with my father, both the genetic material and attitude were there.
 Everything about Trump and Hodge Podge reeks of bully. What does a bully do when caught? When i punish her Podge acts like, “Why did you do THAT?” Yet her hiding from me while doing what she shouldn’t shows she KNOWS she’s doing something I don’t want her to do. She can’t speak so she can’t “deny, deny, deny…” or point with paws to others and say they’re doing it too, but she has tried to distract me.
 There’s an obvious “I’d do it again” tude.
  It’s a lot like the stages of denial, only with no real resolve. There’s always someone else, some group, to blame.
 I’ve heard people identify bully behavior as intelligence, but it’s not. Being a bully is what a person, or a cat, does when they don’t have the intellect, when they know they can’t win with ‘smarts.’ It’s actually anti-social and anti-society behavior that everyone else pays for. It has consequences, like North Korea playing us for chumps, no secure elections, loss of freedom of the press.
 Bullies do what they do to shove to one side those who do care, who do what they for their own pleasure and aggrandizement. They deliberate choose smarter people to beat down because their brains are to limited to win otherwise. Sometimes they screw themselves. Hodge Podge doesn’t know enough to get out of the way when I fill the cat feeder and put it back down, Willow does. For them independence is to be beaten out, yet they have no real love for those who kowtow to them. It’s all about them and having power over others.
 But they do understand being swatted.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2019
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all rights reserved

By Ken Carman

Entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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