Among the many things that have been keeping me busy of late is our new kittycat, whom we have finally named. Now, the same sounds silly even if you get the reference, but the reference helps, maybe. We’re calling her Peanut, but if you haven’t seen the TV show Dead Like Me, you probably aren’t likely to get the slightly sardonic yet very tender resonance we mean it with.
Anyway, Peanut is the name of our cat. And today was Peanut’s first trip to the 동물 병원 — the animal hospital. There’s nothing wrong with her as far as we know, but cats need shots, need to be checked for parasites, and so on. But one of the funny observations I want to include is something I noticed along the way, so I’ll mention that I dropped by the office to pick up a book I’d ordered that had come in, and introduced Peanut to the office assistants there. Ther were quite enchanted, because Peanut is still quite a small, cute kittycat.
At once point, one of the office assistants asked to see her “jelly.” Now, if you know the old-days Harlem slang meaning of that word (we’re talking genitalia, here), you might be shocked, but when Koreans say “jelly” in reference to a cat’s body, they mean the soft pads on their feet, which are apparently reminiscent of jelly candies or something. Anyway, it’s a term I’ve heard a number of times now.
Having picked up my book (and dropped by the post office), I arrived at the veterinary hospital and was quickly brought into a room where I conversed with the vet in broken Korean until we had improvised a kind of half-and-half level of language mixing that perfectly facilitated our interactions. (My Korean, I’d like to think, is a little better than that, but when you’re asking, “Could you clip her claws?” or “What does it mean when she tests a 3 for this form of antibody?” for the first time, it’s a struggle.)
(And her claws were clipped — most of them pretty conservatively, though she seems to have put up a fight at first, since once claw was snipped a bit too high, and a vein was hit. I’m torn between feeling like I should have done it myself, and feeling like maybe she didn’t need it done at all. She’s been morose ever since, and I feel bad for her in that she’s lost a certain degree of her, I don’t know, basic equipment for dealing with the world. Much as her claws annoyed the crap out of me in their natural state — she jabbed me with three or four in the arm at the vet’s alone, in her panicked, “No! Don’t let them take me into the back room!” reaction. But I’d noticed over the last week or so just how much she uses her claws to do everything. They’re like the equivalent of thumbs for her. So I’m still thinking about next time, and whether I think next time is a good idea at all.)
Anyway, Peanut seems, so far, in quite good health. That is to say, no major problems as yet. Some test results will come next week, but I don’t anticipate anything too serious. She’s got to go back for her vaccines tomorrow, but that’s no big deal. However, there was one thing I learned — or, rather, I already knew, but of which was made starkly aware once again. It was when she was checked for parasites along her digestive tracts. The vet basically stuck a Q-tip up her butt, and then deposited the residue onto a slide, with some fluid. When he stuck it under a microscope, the display showed up on his computer screen, in all its vivid, wiggling, moving-around, swimming glory. I kept expecting him to mention a long list of parasites he’d found, but finally, he gave her a clean result from that exam, and I realized that, yeah, of course, even parasite-free crap is teeming with life. Of course it is. But if you never think about it, the fact probably doesn’t cross your mind.
Something to consider, next time you take a dump, though. I won’t think worse of you if you feel the urge to cry out, “It’s aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!” in your best Dr. Frankenstein voice. But try not to laugh evilly, or you might end up in a padded cell.