As we near the end of the Pet Peeves series, Hedy Wood introduces us to Jackson, a blue-eyed bad boy, and Nellie, another grunt curatorial intern.
I met up with Nellie and retired bad boy Jackson Pawluck at their place, and I have to admit, I was so taken with the apartment, it hardly registered how thoroughly Jackson was ignoring me. It is a beautiful apartment. It really made my apartment look like a bunker in a ghetto… the windows! The light! The fireplace!!!! But, professional that I am, I tried mightily to stop staring at the claw foot bathtub, and focus on the interview at hand.
Now, Nellie had told me about Jackson’s badass past and his history of aggression. I mean, he’s basically under house arrest these days and not allowed to go outside due to the damage he does to other cats. Apparently, he would chase them across the street in an attempt to get them hit by cars!! You can imagine how tentatively I was rattling the treat bag, I was expecting to be assaulted by a snarling mass of aggressive cat fury.
The thing is, Jackson really is retired these days. At 15, he’s a senior cat. It was easy enough to see this when he finally emerged from under the bed wearing the cat equivalent of old brown slippers and a white cardigan with little pill-y balls on it. (See pictures.) He also has a couple of habits that made me wonder if his hearing is going a bit. He did not respond at all to the treat bag rattling, and he had a tendency to YELL when he was talking. Before he emerged from his napping area in the bedroom, I could have sworn he was hollering about “not wanting to meet any more goddamn PEOPLE, because what is the POINT of them?!” But of course, I could be wrong… And he did greet me in a friendly enough fashion.
Me: Hi there Jackson, treat?
Jackson: HELLO. YES, I’LL HAVE ONE, JUST HAVE TO BE CAREFUL OF MY TEETH!
Me: Oh, of course, we all do really…
Jackson: CRUNCH CRUNCH
Me: So, I hear you’ve got a bit of a reputation as a badass? Bit of a brawler? You can tell me anything you know, this is a completely non-judgemental environment right here.
Jackson: HA! If I did ever beat anyone up, and I’m not saying that I did, they certainly would have deserved it. Allegedly, of course… ANY MORE OF THOSE TREATS? They are a lot better than I thought they’d be.
Me: Yes, yes. Oh, I hear you’ve also been known to attack people as well. Do you have anything to add to that?
Jackson: BALONEY!! PROVE IT!!
Hey, those treats are making me thirsty, get Nellie to turn on the bathroom sink, will ya? I don’t like drinking out of that CAT FOUNTAIN! Whose idea was that thing anyway?! It’s so SILLY.
Me: Well, Jackson, of course, I have no proof whatsoever that you attacked other cats. I just met you and you seem a lot less cranky than most of my friends….
So, tell me, it’s my job to discover if you are having any problems at all, living here, in this beautiful apartment that is so much better than my place. Any problems with Nellie at all? Or her mum?
Jackson: I do not have a single problem! Everything here is just peachy keen, Nellie is wonderful. However, I fail to see why the pate cat food is doled out in such skimpy portions. Cats in retirement need to keep their strength up! And, frankly, since I’ve given up my alleged brawling, eating is one of my main pleasures… you look pretty old, so I’m sure you can understand… got any more of those treats on you?
Me: Of course.
Jackson: You want to know what else I think?
Me: That’s why I’m here…
Jackson: Any couch or chair is ALWAYS improved by a bit of cat scratching! That’s where I do some of my best artwork… I think people are just too uptight about keeping things in the same condition they bought them in…
I began to realize that anyone that ages and matures is bound to have a lot of opinions. Jackson is no exception to this rule. Over the course of our brief visit, I heard his take on many subjects before he returned to his nappy area.
This is some of what he had to say.
First, and foremost, any violence done by him to other cats or humans is ALLEGED. Period.
Also, why did Nellie have to go to university for FIVE years?! Too long, and STUPID.
Paté cat food is far superior to that chunky stuff.
And, last but not least, why do they plant large trees on top of buildings? Stupid!
Jackson followed all this up with the quintessential cat complaint, where is the FOOD?
Me: Well, now Jackson, you look quite well-fed, what exactly is your complaint about the food?
Jackson: Well, girly, WHERE is it?! Don’t you try to tell me that I’ve already eaten a bowl of cat food today! Or that I may or may not have short term memory loss! Bananas! You think I’m standing by that food bowl yelling for absolutely no reason? Phooey! Don’t sass me.
I hated to leave that lovely apartment, I really did. But I had begun to fear that Jackson might return to his bad boy ways, and I was slightly worried he might chuck a slipper at my head…
Me: Jackson, this has been great, but I’d better get back to my own cat now. Would you like a treat for the road?
Jackson: Yeah, yeah, I could use a bit of a nap now anyway… don’t forget to talk to Nellie about leaving the bathroom sink running for me. I’m not standing in there screaming for my health ya know…
Me: Of course, great to meet you… I’ll tell my cat Blackberry you said hi…
Jackson: Why the hell would you do that? I don’t like talking to strangers… you shoo now! Don’t make me take off this slipper!!