Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Starfish

I keep a bowl of shells on the mantel in the summer. You can see it here (note that Harris has just dispatched Bernie Sanders to the floor and Trump is next). Harris can do as he pleases with his toys but  I give him little sermons about leaving my shells alone, and he listens and obeys pretty well.

I've had many of my shells since my college years, when I often went "down the shore" to Long Beach Island, New Jersey, on summer weekends. The shells on the beach weren't exciting but there was a good shell shop on the boardwalk and I stocked up. Among my purchases was a little brown starfish. After more than 30 years, it has developed attitudes that are in direct conflict with the beliefs of my cats. You will not see the starfish sticking above the bowl in its customary spot in the photo above because it had been thrown to the floor every night. (I foolishly only told Harris to leave my mollusks alone, not my dried echinoderms. My mistake.)

You can see Possum guarding the unpopular creature, below. He looks annoyed. It is a very unwanted starfish. I assume the issues are largely political in nature but I don't ask; I don't want to get involved.

As you probably know by now, in our house, objects that most people consider inanimate are known to move around on their own when no one's looking — often with suicidal motives. Taper candles and flowers, for example, take death plunges on a regular basis, as do our new cat-shaped salt-and-pepper shakers and many items on my desk.

The starfish is different. It doesn't leap out of the bowl by itself. I have proof:

In the photo with Possum, you can see that the starfish looks fairly intact; it is only missing one limb. If you look at the close-up with Harris, you'll see that's it's recently become quadraplegic. It will soon be pentaplegic because I keep returning it to its place in the bowl and the cats keep ousting it.

All things must pass. Tomorrow I will look for a replacement starfish or two at the shell shop I like in Wiscasset, Maine.


  1. The cats are simply testing the gravitational pull, using Mr. Starfish as experimental equipment.

  2. not....laughing.... maybe it is time for the starfish to find a new place to hang out

  3. I think there's a wonderful children's book here....


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