It's serious work we do most of the time, and serious issues we deal with it. Too much serious isn't good for a person, I don't think.
This is a piece I wrote in the summer of 2010, shortly after stepping down as President of CWA 4730. I was feeling fairly jolly at the time and felt lighthearted article was in order. Three years later the story is still relevant and, I hope, still amusing. It was originally published in in the September 2010 issue of Solidarity Now!
Feline Local 2010
I thought the cats would be glad that I had more free time at home. They were, sort of. It turns out that while I had been busy running a union, they had formed their own union. This came as a great surprise to me. I thought they were a happy group of cats. Sure, they had a few rules to live by, but my wife and I run a pretty lenient home. I knew their nearly constant demand for attention and open doors went unmet, but other than that, I didn’t see what the problem was.
They presented their demands in the form of a dead rabbit. Having long lived with cats, I have learned to read the entrails of their kill and after much divination saw that it was an extensive list. Constant rotation and a wide selection of foods; a cat door on every door of the house; permission to bring live toys into the house; it went on and on. I knew cats were a needy bunch, but this amazed me.
I thought about this and conferred with my wife while the cats milled around the food dishes and waited. They clearly wanted a response now. Hops, the oldest and Queen of the Castle, screamed periodically at us. After much discussion, making them wait as long as we thought we could without a literal pissing match, we decide to play hard ball. I reminded them that we provide free room and board including wifi. I also pointed out that Indiana law allows me to be very, very mean to them and get by with no more than a fine.
They were not impressed. They pointed out that the house had been infested with mice when we moved in, and now they are never seen and seldom heard. They also noted all the chipmunks and moles that would be tearing up our gardens and yard, if not for their hard work. This message was delivered, to emphasize the point, in the entrails of a mouse. Their point: they earned their keep and then some, and felt their demands were only reasonable requests for a humane home environment.
I was again shocked, but felt we had to negotiate. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t easy, but we worked it out. They got some things they wanted, and we got some promises on leaving the birds alone, and we both came out of it reasonably happy. I will say however, for the record, that I will never, ever grant the right to sleep on my face.
Am I thrilled the cats have a union now? Not really, but I recognize the right and can work with them in good faith. If they will as well, we can have a long and healthy relationship.