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Conversations with my Cat
By James T. Baker

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My Cat Sundae

“James, tell me, why do some humans have hair on their faces and others do not?”  It was my cat Sundae who asked the question.  Sundae can talk, and she is always trying to figure people out.  “All cats have whiskers,” she explained her question.
“Well,” I said, putting down the book I was reading.  Conversations with Sundae take some time.  “There are people can’t grow facial hair.  Women can’t.”
“You’re wrong there,” Sundae said.  “I saw a woman on television, they called her a torch singer, and she had hair on her lip, lots of it.”
“Maybe so, but that’s rare.  Most women don’t have the right hormones.”
“With us cats it makes no difference about gender.  I’m feminine, and I have a very fine set of whiskers.”
“Most becoming,” I said.
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I said.  “But most women can’t grow facial hair, while they keep all of it on top of their heads.  With men it’s the opposite.  They can grow it on their chins, but they don’t have the harmones to keep it on top.”
“That explains your chin and dome,” Sundae said with a malicious grin.
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Sundae nodded.  “But I still don’t understand why human men and women are different that way.”
“Well, when I was a boy I was told in church that man was created in the image of God and woman was created from a rib in man’s side.  So man looks like God. . .”
“And woman looks like a rib.”
“No,” I laughed.
“And God has a beard and is thin on top.”
“I don’t know about that,” I kept on laughing.
Sundae knows when she has touched my funny bone, and she always keeps on clowning. “I’ll bet God likes to watch football too.”
“Sundae, stop it.”  I was breaking up.
“All right,” she said with mock gravity, “why can’t some men grow hair on their chins?”
“Mature men can.  After they’re fifteen or so.”
“What about Bill Clinton and George Bush?  They can’t.  And most of the talk show hosts can’t.”  Sundae watches a lot of television.
“Sure they can.  They just shave it off each morning.  They want people to see their faces clearly.”

“Why?  Except for Bill Clinton, most of them would be better off covering up some of their ugly, the way you do, James.”
“Thanks again,” I said.  “In politics people won’t vote for a man with a beard.  They think you can’t trust a man with facial hair.  He might be hiding something.”
“What about Abe Lincoln?  He was one of the greats.  He freed the slaves.  He was as honest as the day is long.  He had a beard.”
“Not when he was elected.  He grew it afterward.”
“Oh.  Well, what about the talk show hosts?  The ones who don’t have beards, does that mean they shave?”
“Yes.  In most cases.”
“They’re not politicians.  So they shave because they want us to see their good looks?”
“I suppose.”
Sundae looked at me for a long time. “James,” she said at last.  “I’m glad you have that messy beard of yours.”
“You are?  Why?”
“Two reasons.  One, it covers up part of your face, which is good for everyone; and two, I don’t want you to become president or a talk show host.”
“You wouldn’t want to live in the White House or have me talk about you on television?”
“Nope.  I’d rather live here, in my own little stream, and circle in my own water.”
“All right then.”
“I’m glad you’re as ugly as God.”
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