I used to have a cat named Rubin, who I loved like he was my child. No really, my first husband and I actually thought of him as our child when making decisions for him, such as: “well, since Rubin won’t require a college education, we can take a small percentage of what we would have spent on college and put it towards his expensive vet bills.” My mother fully supported this idea, of a cat as her grandchild.
Rubin was also quirky. If he followed you into the office in order to “supervise” your work, happened to fall asleep on the job and wake up to find you gone, he would yowl uncontrollably until you returned to him. A friend house-sitting once snickered when I warned her of this behavior. When I called a few days into my vacation, she told me, “I totally didn’t believe you about Rubin but you were not kidding!” “I know,” I replied.
My quirky cat had abandonment issues. When Bill and I lived in Minneapolis, we were like many newlyweds: starting out our new life together with overwhelming debt (from the wedding and moving cross-country.) Because of this, I worked three jobs while Bill worked ungodly hours as a post-doc at the University of Minnesota. My mother was concerned about (her cat-grandchild) Rubin’s mental health with his parents being absent from the home so much. She decided to purchase a motion activated, singing fish to help fill his long, lonely hours. You might recall this trendy toy from the turn of century: it looked like a trophy fish but once activated, it would lift its head off the mounting and start singing this wonderfully obnoxious song.
“Give me back that filet-o-fish.
Give me that fish.
Give me back that filet-o-fish.
Give me that fish.
What if it were you hanging up on this wall?
If it were you in that sandwich,
you wouldn’t be laughing at all.”
Since everything old is new again, McDonalds has brought back the singing fish in a new ad campaign. The last several mornings I have been awoken to the radio spot via my alarm clock, waking me to the thought of the silliness that was openly supported in my family and the love I have for my Momma and Rubin, who have both since passed.