Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Telling Tails

Have you ever seen that episode of The Simpsons where Bart and Lisa meet a mad professor and they can see into the future?

Bart as a teenager with a big belly in development is pretty funny, but the moment that made me hoot with laughter was one of those passing vignettes the show is so good at.

The scene pans over a futurist streetscape and as it reaches a shop hoarding saying "Plastic Surgery", Selma - or it could have been Patty; one of Marge's dreadful sisters, anyway - walks out of the building. She is sporting a fine bushy tail. I shrieked. Mainly because I've always wanted a tail and what a brave new world it would be that had such plastic surgery in it.

I mean, why not! I think a tail would be not only devilishly attractive, but awfully useful. Monkeys use their tails as a fifth limb, but you can also be very expressive with one, as any pet owner knows.

My friend's dog, Ollie, practically takes off wagging his tail when pack members like myself arrive at the house. We often comment that it's a shame we couldn't harness his tail-wagging energy for the national grid.

But it's probably cats that take the language of tails to the highest level. I adore it when a cat stalks into a room with its tail held aloft at a perfect right angle to its butt, anus fully revealed. It's so incredibly snobby and most felines seem to do it when there are visitors. "You may briefly inhabit my sitting room, oh pitiful unknown human. I will allow it. But you must admire me."

My own furry lump, Ellie, conveys irritation very eloquently with tail twitching, developing into full swishing, when I groom her (she finds it very insulting). Once the tail starts to whack slowly from side to side, I know I have only a few seconds before serious injury. Ouch!

One of my favourite Simpson quotes:
Homer: "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?"
Marge: "That's because you were drunk!"

My cats Wilson & Ellie in Nov 2006 waiting at the door to be let out. Their tails are in perfect sync.


HappyOrganist said...

oh that's cute - the cats. ;)

Hybrid J said...

I'm loving this story about your cat's tail. What lively writing! My dog got a docked tail but that little lump still wag like hell. And yes, the tail is a very expressive body part. Thank you for sharing. :)

Des said...

That is a great line from the Simpsons. What a great show.

Christine said...

Well Peggy there's always Halloween for you to do the 'tail' thing! Just teasing. (-:

Debra W said...

How amusing it would be to have a tail! Most of my favorite friends have them! Why not?!?!

What a great post. I truly enjoy your take on life and your wonderful sense of humor. You make me smile! I absolutely adore the picture of your beautiful kitties with their tails in sync! Too precious!

Love and hugs,

McMGrad89 said...

Cute picture of the cats, Peg.

BTW - loving this song: Rights of Man

Marja said...

What an enjoyable post. You are a great writer. I love the simpsons It is well thought through.
I won't be much online anymore I love my new job but work now nearly full time. I don't know how other people do it but managing a job with a family is quite a stunt for me
I wish you well and will visit from time to time when time permits

Chapter Forty said...

I have envied Little Miss as she sports a dress up tail. Personally I'd like a showy peacocks tail.
Thanks for giving me the picture of hundreds of happy dogs wired up to provide the nations newest green energy source.
Excellent stuff.

MrsPeel said...

the cat's tail is a tale indeed...
I like Simpsons, but sometimes get a bit angry as to the sterotyping they do...
I remember being a bit p**d of when they did the episode in Brazil, which showed them as in a jungle, no civilization, which is what (unfortunately) lots of people out there in this world of ours think we are....

but they are funny, I admit.
Just don't watvh as often.

Coming to your blog I always switch my music of, because I know I'm in for a treat :)

Aurora said...

Cats and dogs are very eloquent with their tails!

Poetikat said...

Hi Peggy! I love it when cats do that too, but I'm grateful that we can't! How rude! ha ha.

I like the swirl of a cat-tail; it reminds me of the lemurs of Madagascar.

Mike Smith said...

I went to the doctor recently with hearing problems.
"Can you describe the symptoms to me?" he asked.
"Yes. Homer is a fat yellow lazy bloke and Marge is a skinny woman with big blue hair...."

Mommy2Twinkies-Deb said...

As an animal, and particularly, a cat lover, I LOVE this post!! LOL! A tail. I love it. Thank you for your insights. I love them as always. You always make me smile. Now I have a 1+ year old puppy (Brooklyn) and a 12 year old cat (Scout). Seeing them interact with each other, humans and other animals is always interesting.

Patty said...

Adorable cats. People have many languages. Cats share only one. And they only share what they wish to share with humans. The rest are ancient secrets.

Cozyflier said...

Excellent! Love the picture. I love it when they sit and watch a squirrel outside and the tail starts to go, you can 'see' the cogs in the brain calculating the next move!!!

Roban said...

The picture is so cute of them sitting at the door. I love both dogs and cats and have shared my home with both. We've been dog parents throughout our marriage though.

Have you ever noticed how some dogs are high-waggers and some are low-waggers? Maggie is an all-over all-the-time wagger. Happy dog for sure. Every now and then we imitate her free-wagging ways just to see what it's like. Without the real tail though, we probably look kinda' funny.

Nina P. said...

Hm, a tail... a long one, short one, furry one, bald one... Wag it, tuck it between your legs, point with it, whack someone in the shine with it, clear a short table off with it, dust the floor with it, Say hello with it, or arch a warning.... Hm... a Tail.... maybe not such a bad thing... ((smiles)) I'll have to sit on mine and think a bit more on this... Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P