Today's Topic:
The Car and the Cats

"Lemon" is the term used for a car that has a lot of inherent defects. I am glad to report that when my wife Sharron purchased her new car, a shiny red Kia Rhondo, it was not a lemon. Instead, it was a pomegranate. You may not have heard this designation used for a car before, so allow me to clarify. A pomegranate is a car that comes from the dealer in good shape, but it attracts problems.

For example, Sharron is now convinced that her car came with an additional feature (unannounced in the owner's manual) known as a rock magnet. This feature causes any natural geologic material, ranging in size from pebbles to boulders, to leap from the roadway, or off the backs of passing trucks, onto the car. Less than two thousand miles into our ownership of the car, a particularly large rock smashed into the top of the Kia leaving a huge dent. Should we ever want to carry a boulder around on top of the car with us, we now have the perfect spot for it.

When a local shop installed the satellite radio in the Kia, they managed to scratch up the dash board, the gear shift, and either side of the stereo console. It was as if the stereo was installed by a cat that had never been de-clawed and that was also incapable of retracting its claws, making it particularly unsuitable for the occupation of satellite radio installer. Yet, somehow, it had managed to get the job, perhaps due to a shortage of qualified labor.

You may be thinking at this point that I have, once again, gone just a tiny bit bonkers. But hear me out, because I think the cats have a lot to do with our car problems.

The main reason I think this is because of an incident that happened when I brought my wife home from knee replacement surgery. This really happened, although, just to warn you, I may take some liberties with my description of what happened afterwards. We got home from the hospital, and I had to move Sharron from the car, to the wheelchair, and into the house: a challenging prospect when she could not bend her knee or place any weight on it. In the process, we left the car door open.

After finally getting Sharron into the house, I returned to the car to find that it reeked of cat pee. A neighborhood cat had leapt up into the car and sprayed the driver's seat. The stain was large and visible. The smell was undeniable.

This was especially regrettable since the best thing about my wife's knee surgery was that I was going to get to drive her car for several days. It was not to be.

Fortunately, we had nothing better to do over the following two weeks than take drugs, do knee exercises, and deal with insurance agents and car dealers. The insurance would pay for the claim, but there was a five hundred dollar deductable. The car dealer would replace the seat but we would discover that it would take them a month and a half to get the parts. The result was that we had to drive my wife's new car around with a black plastic trash bag over the driver's seat.

Not long after, I was at the side of the house when I spotted the neighbor's cat. I trapped in the corner and grabbed it by the scruff of the neck.

"Okay, buddy!" I said. "Was it you, or one of your hairy little buddies that peed on our car?"

"Meow," he said.

I didn't like his attitude. "I'm not messing around here! Tell me which one of you did it? And, while you're at it, did one of you get a job as a car stereo installer?"

"Meow."

"Don't try to avoid the question! Talk to me! You think that car is yours? You want to mark it as your own? You're not making the payments on it! Are you?"

"Meow."

"You and your scruffy little pals owe me five hundred bucks!"

With that, I let him go. He wasn't talking, and I didn't know what else to do. I guess I'll never make it as an interrogator.

But that wasn't all that happened to the Kia. My wife discovered scratches on the door and on the rear hatch. She said it was caused by people in parking lots and that she accidentally made one of the scratches with her keys. I don't believe her. I think it was the cats. As soon as I learn how they are able to throw rocks, I'll have this whole thing figured out.

We pulled into a parking lot the other day and somebody asked us how many miles we'd put on the car. They estimated a hundred thousand.

"No, we just bought it," we explained.

"Oh... Is it a lemon?"

"No, it's a pomegranate."

"Huh?"

"Nevermind."