The Lady or the Tiger

When I saw the shelter cats licking their fur, I remembered to tell the Brunette that I had decided to become obsessive about hand washing. She looked up from the flea-specked white one whose ears she had been tickling and asked, "why?"

"Well, because of flu season and all," I said lamely. It seemed a little weird to say I wanted to have something to talk about at parties. I patted a tabby on its head. Bits of litter fell off his coat.

Some time ago, I realized that the only purpose in our daily existence is the collection of anecdotes. As social creatures, our sole duty is to gather these experiences together and distribute them to others during social gatherings. In this way, one can lead a "purpose-driven" life instead of a "tv-driven" life.

None of the shelter cats met our strict criteria (total and undying devotion and worship) on Saturday, but we did fill out the pre-approval application to ease the process in the future. The application process involves a possible house inspection, detailed interview, something about electronic tracking devices implanted in our skin, and, of course, wads of money.

"Isn't this a bit intrusive?" I wanted to know. My voice rose to a keening wail on the "-ive" bit.

"Oop, better go get something to eat," the Brunette responded. It always seems like she wants to eat right when I'm about to get wound up good and tight.

I suppose, though, I was a little hungry.

The closest eatery we could locate was the Crown Cafeteria, one of those ubiquitous DC-area sandwich shops aspiring to (but not quite accomplishing) deli-hood. The Brunette, who had washed hands twice since handling the cats at the shelter, asked if I was going soft on the OCD so soon. I looked at her with that loveable puzzled expression I so often imagine myself to adopt. What was she--? Oh, yeah! I remembered: I was supposed to be obsessing about hand washing. So, I asked the counterkeeper the location of the restrooms. She pointed down a narrow hall behind the drink cooler.

I toddled down the passage. It ended at two doors, both of which bore hand-written paper signs. One sign read "Ladies." The other sign read "Employees Only." So, I stood staring at these doors for some time, frozen with the lack of choices that fit my needs. (I promise this is the last election reference I make this year!) I couldn't find any reason to move forward, so I finally returned to our table, defeated.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"My choices are 'Ladies' and 'Employees Only'," I told her, sad to have lost so easily.

"Oh, dear, and what are you going to talk about at parties?" she shook her head and asked.

She had a point! So, I jumped up and walked down that hall with renewed vigor. I boldly opened the door, walked in, and washed my hands. I easily overcame one fear to freely give into my newly acquired compulsion. And nobody accosted me. No alarm bells sounded.

Then, as I dried my hands, I cried out: "Wait a dad-blamed minute! I never told her about discussing my OCD at parties!"

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