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On Sunday I was overcome with a sense of irony as I tossed the empty trash bag box into a trash bag.

During work hours on Monday one of my employees asked me if it was frustrating to have to answer so many questions each day. I explained to her that it was a lot like being on a game show… without the fancy cars or cash prizes.

After passing an accident on the road on Tuesday I remembered back to 2008 when I unintentionally did a heroic deed and stopped a criminal as he fled from the police in his vehicle. I used my car to stop his escape. I felt good about myself until I also remembered that that was pretty much the end of my car.

While cleaning the litter box on Wednesday I realized that if one day, cats suddenly developed the ability to speak, they could blackmail the world with all that they’ve seen.

Thursday afternoon, after witnessing my girlfriend and her brother exchange friendly jabs, I remembered that my older sister used to joke and say that our parents liked her better since she came first. I would argue that since they had me four years later, they obviously wanted a do-over.

On Friday a friend pointed out that if snarky comments were the currency of the world, then I would be a millionaire.

While vacationing on Saturday I was asked by numerous beach-goers if I was an albino. I had to explain to them that I wasn’t… and that I was just really that pale. They became red with embarrassment and I became jealous by their sudden flush of color.

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Blogger, Paige Ray recently read and reviewed my humor book, Musings on Minutiae and awarded it a perfect 10 out of 10!

“The wit and sarcasm teamed up with the humorous cynicism of the author makes this compilation of life experience stories a must have for any library.”

Head on over to her website to enjoy this review and many others!

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A big thanks to Paige for taking the time to read and write about my silly book where I spend a good 15 pages making jokes about my cats that they will never be able to read because their brains are the size of walnuts.

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A few weeks ago, I came to a realization about myself. Like most great epiphanies, this one occurred while on the toilet, and what I recognized was that in almost twenty-six years of living, I had never attempted to grow facial hair of any kind. This may not be the sort of things that normal people ponder while on the john, but to each their own. When I asked myself why I had never pursued such a hair-growing feat, I had to acknowledge that it was most likely because I’ve never been a fan of beards, goatees, or mustaches. It wasn’t the hair itself that I had a problem with rather the people who were attached to the facial hair that I really disliked. As I traced my memory banks I noted that with just a few exceptions, almost everyone I’ve ever hated in my life has had facial hair of some kind.

Back in high school, there were guys who were already shaving. Some had probably even been doing so since middle school and while they were at their homes removing hair from their backs and discovering their new found muscles, I was at my home singing show tunes in the shower. I was a soprano. The guys who were already shaving their whiskers were the same ones that wanted to pick on me at every opportunity and make my life difficult. A side effect of the testosterone that made them grow the mustache also granted them an uncanny ability to seek out and destroy anyone weaker than themselves, so I can see how facial hair, utter terror, and misery are all connected in my brain.

The day my epiphany I woke up and gave my razor the cold shoulder though I’m not exactly sure what sparked the idea to see what my face was capable of. Maybe it was just one of those whims, or maybe it was an early morning bout of man pride. Most likely it was to bother my girlfriend who swore that if I ever grew a beard she would stop talking to me and maybe I wanted to see if she’d put her money where her mouth is.

Above all other talents that I hold, I’m able to grow hair like it’s nobody’s business. I keep my hairstylists phone number on speed dial because if I don’t visit her every six weeks then I’m mistaken for a homeless person while out and about. One the positive side, I make a lot of money in spare change, but my dignity takes a hit. In fact, during my youth, whenever my hair would get too long, my mother would subtly hint that I needed a trim by admitting to me that, “it looks like nobody loves you.” This only caused my impressionable mind to believe that anyone with long hair was not currently being loved by anyone anywhere in the world. My hair grows so quickly that often times, after I get it cut and step onto the sidewalk outside the salon, I could turn around and walk right back in and easy have enough hair for another round. While in a hair salon, you often times see one employee dedicated solely to roaming the room with a broom and dustpan, sweeping up the sheared curls of the patrons. Normally she waits to clean up until the guest has left, but I’ve had these people visit my area four or five times during one sitting. They look genuinely concerned that the stylist and I might die in an avalanche of hair if they don’t act quickly. After paying the bill and tipping the stylist, I often wonder if I should also tip the broom gal as well.

Though the top of my head may grow quickly, the rest of my face is a different story. I have one sideburn that shares the gene that makes the hair grow as quickly as rabbits reproduce while the other side is lazy and must be coaxed into growing with sweet words of encouragement. I gave myself two weeks to grow the beard (i.e. the length of time it took until my girlfriend threatened to leave) to see what I was capable of. By the end of the first week I was the proud owner of a thin mustache though the beard itself wasn’t coming in evenly. It was as though while I’d slept, someone had casually spread beard-seed across my face; missing the majority of places you’d want it to grow. There was a little patch of fur here and a little patch there, but nothing that could be mistaken as a beard. From a distance, my face just looked slightly dirty.

Midway through the second week, I couldn’t help but notice that the hair itself had stopped growing and was beginning to curl. Because this was my first foray into the world of facial hair, I lacked the proper tools for self grooming, so my beard status had officially switched over from “scruffy” to “quite unkempt.” I was soon hit with “the itch” and the majority of my days were spent walking around scratching furiously at my neck. People will joke that when you grow a beard, you’ll start finding food crumbs in it from previous meals. While I was excited at the prospect of this happening, always welcoming a light snack, the only thing that I ever found in its depths was the gray hair from one of my felines, which I then started attracting regularly like some kind of magnet. I would wake up in the mornings and panic when I looked in the mirror, thinking that my beard had gone gray prematurely. I then had to spend precious minutes combing it out, which after I finished, provided a pile of cat hair nearly equal in size to the cat itself.

By the end of the second week, I was starting to get used to the new addition. I was no longer scratching at my face, though most likely because it was completely raw and untouchable, and the feeling of something continuously attached to my lower lip no longer distracted me from simple tasks. This sensation had proven to be quite a hurdle earlier in the process when on several occasions I had woken up in the middle of the night and made the assumption that there were bugs attacking my face. I had also acted accordingly, repeatedly slapping myself silly.

The day before I had planned to shave the hair off (i.e. the day my girlfriend demanded that I “lose it, or lose her”) something happened that made me change the way I felt about my face. I had been on the cusp of extending the experiment for another week but while eating lunch that day, I attempted to rescue a bit of mayonnaise from my upper lip, and I accidentally licked my mustache. The problem wasn’t that I had touched the tip of my tongue to the prickly hair, but rather once I had done it, I couldn’t stop. It was a whole new experience for me, as mind-blowing as the first time I kissed a girl, but much less pleasant. Now scared that I would begin developing a nasty habit of what I dubbed “’stache-licking,” I was in full agreement with my girlfriend that the beard was pure evil and needed to go. The following night we waved goodbye as the hair was systematically shaven from my face.

Some day down the line, I’ll sure that I’ll give beard growing another try, but until then, I’ve got an overactive sideburn to deal with.

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As has been told in previous tales, my girlfriend and I have two female cats. Cat #1 has been around since 2005, and Cat #2 came on the scene a year or so later. They lived in small apartments together and even survived several moves to new homes without killing each other. They weren’t the types of felines that you see on the sickeningly adorable calendars that cuddle together as they sleep. It was more of a sleep with one eye open relationship that they shared. Four months ago they were split apart when my girlfriend moved to her own apartment in order to be closer to her job, taking Cat #2 with her. Cat #1 stayed with me, and suddenly they were each happier than they’d been in years. We often wondered and discussed what would happen if they ever had to live under the same roof again.

Yesterday, they were reunited.
Today, the world is still reeling from this catastrophe.

Just eight hours ago my girlfriend got on a plane to go to Germany for her job and I had volunteered to take care of Cat #2 in my home while she was away. Moments after this reunification took place I knew that it was in my best interest to keep a diary for the next week in order to detail the carnage.

DAY ONE – Sunday

Today, Cat #2 was brought over in the typical pet taxi fashion. I had just experienced a forty-five minute car ride with her continuously hollering off beat to the music that was playing so I was ready for some peace and quiet. I didn’t make it more than two feet in the door of my apartment when the creatures made eye contact with one another. Cat #1 began to hiss and showed fangs that up until now, I had thought only existed in vampire movies. The cat carrier began to shake violently as though a wounded rhinoceros was being held captive within. When the carrier was opened, Cat #2 bolted from her plastic prison while Cat #1 was immediately locked away in the bedroom for the season. I headed out the apartment door to get the remaining luggage from the car and Cat #2 bolted out behind me, and decided to head for the hills. She ran towards the parking lot, but due to excess body fat and a full fur coat, paired with the pressures of a rather unintelligent animal experiencing sheer panic and terror, she didn’t make it far before realizing that she had no idea where she was going in the first place. Thank goodness cats don’t have GPS devices or she may have made it all the way to Reno before I caught up with her.

The rest of the day was spent watching the two cats throw icy glares back and forth while listening to a series of guttural growling, hissing, and spitting. It was a lot like watching teenage girls interact during my high school years. Cat #1 didn’t sleep in the bed that night as usual. She stayed stationed on the computer desk, fully alert and ready to protect her home from the intruder. I assume that she was expecting some sort of sneak attack that never came. To make up for this, she took out her aggression on my Venetian window blinds. May they rest in peace.

DAY TWO – Monday

I awoke this morning to the dulcet tones of two felines attempting to rip the hides off of each other. My girlfriend slept soundly through this racket while I risked life and limb to separate the animals. I crept quietly into the bathroom to get ready for the trip to the airport and Cat #1 entered behind me, completing her usual morning routine of getting in my way. Without warning, Cat #2 also wandered in to join the party. Suddenly realizing that they were mere inches from one another, both cats jumped in shock and attempted to turn themselves inside out. Cat #2 fled the room while Cat #1 fled into a wall. Eventually we headed to the airport and the whole trip I silently prayed that I would not return to the apartment to find a cat corpse. I didn’t think I had it in me to host a cat funeral before the day was over.

During my lunch break I went home only to find cat vomit all over the floor with the five o’clock news playing in the background. I had left the television on in an attempt to distract them from trying to murder each other, hoping that the mundane daytime television would put them to sleep like it always does with me. While cleaning up the mess, I wondered what had caused the illness. Part of me figured that Cat #1 was so stressed out by the invader that she couldn’t keep her food down while another part of me suspected that maybe the Tyra Banks show had come on the television while I was away.

Upon returning home from work, it was another night of scowling and hissing on their part while I attempted to decompress for the day. I tried brushing Cat #1 to bring her stress levels down a bit, but the more I caressed her, the angrier she appeared to get. I quickly gave up on that mission and headed into another room. On my way out, the brush clattered to floor behind me. I wondered if maybe Cat #1 had thrown it at me as payback for inconveniencing her usual routine of sleeping and shedding all over my clothes. Even if she had tossed it, I probably just would have been impressed since she doesn’t have thumbs.

DAY THREE – Tuesday

Imagine my delight when I woke this morning to the sound of my alarm clocking instead of the howls of feral felines. I felt refreshed and hoped that whatever had cat drama had existed the night prior had been put solved in a civil manner that involved a lot of licking. I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom for a shower. Like usual, I pulled open the cupboard below the sink to grab a towel and was greeted with a flurry of claws and spittle as Cat #1 lunged towards my face. At some point during the night, she had created herself a bunker within the cabinet in order to hide from the intruder cat. Having clearly activated the defense system that she had put into place, I reflexively slammed the door closed and heard the thump of her body smacking into the wooden barrier that now stood between us.

Shower complete, I headed into the kitchen for some coffee. Cat #2 sat nonchalantly on the couch. She glanced over at me and gave a look as if to say “when is that Cat in the cabinet just going to get over it?” I silently commiserated with her while heading out the door to work.

Upon my return home tonight I found the floor covered in a fluffy gray substance that looked an awful lot like cat hair, but I’m not one to jump to conclusions. Cat #1 is mostly gray in color and the sheer amount of fluff that now covered the living room floor led me to consider the possibility that she had recently exploded in that general area. After a quick walk around and finding the cats hiding out on polar opposite sides of the apartment I returned to the living area to ponder today’s mess.

I sat down on the couch to think a moment and soon realized that what I was staring at weren’t actually the remains of an animal or the scene of a recent brawl, but rather the remains of the throw pillow that would normally be situated beside me. I began to wonder the costs I would incur from having to eventually replace the majority of my household items. Seeing the mangled mass of fabric and stuffing also made me fear for what they might do to me in my sleep.

DAY FOUR – Wednesday

This morning was a peaceful one. Due to the peacefulness I experience upon waking, I suspected that the civil unrest might have ended. I only thought this way because it was the first time that I had been awake for more than thirty seconds without a feline making an attempt on my life. Cat #2 was noisily bathing herself on the kitchen floor while Cat #1 was once again hidden away in her cabinet bunker, possibly building a small nuclear arsenal.

When I arrived home from work, I found that Cat #1 had relocated and was now sitting atop the refrigerator glaring across the desolate plane that is my apartment. Her eyes met mine and shared a look that told me she was now staging a sit-in until the interloper was forced to leave. I attempted to give her a return look that would explain that sitting very still in one place is pretty much her normal day-to-day activity and thus I couldn’t take her threat seriously. She never moved, so I’m not sure if the message got across, but then again, how would ever I know?

DAY FIVE – Thursday

The events of this morning led me to believe that perhaps the cats had finally settled their differences and had bonded together to fight the common enemy holding them captive: me. At some point during their late night scheming session, it was decided that some sort of chemical warfare was the best way to combat me.

Both cats have made a hobby out of heavily shedding their fur. They shed when they’re hungry, they shed when they’re bored, and they shed whenever they are within radius of whatever I am eating or drinking. I hadn’t been awake for five minutes when I realized that both the entire bed and myself were covered in a pelt of cat hair. This fluffy yet durable substance acted like a primitive net, making it difficult for me to get out of the bed.

After escaping their trap before they could do horrible, four-toed deeds to me, I noticed that the cat dander in the air was downright palpable. With every breath, I inhaled more of their bio-weapon and soon I was down on my hands and knees gasping for air. I was able to crawl over to the air purifier in the corner and switched it on, cranking it up to the highest setting. I then did what any other allergy sufferer would do and tore off the filter apparatus on the back and attempted to stick my head inside of it in hopes that it would suck the tiny spore attackers from my body. In the minutes following the vacuuming of my lungs I went to work pulling individual cat hairs from my nose and mouth region. What I removed from my nasal cavity alone created a furry ball of hair roughly the size of another housecat.

I moved towards the porch door in an attempt to flee to fresher air not noticing the minefield of feline excrement that paved the way. After one squishy step I realized that they had bested me yet again and it was becoming apparent that they had the upper hand in this war. I fled toward the shower to cleanse myself of the defeat and began to barricade the bathroom door behind me with random toiletries. It appeared that I was no longer the master of the house.

DAY SIX – Friday

As quick as they were to lash out at one another, they were even quicker to bond together when one of them had the epiphany that if they both meowed simultaneously then their food bowls would fill up twice as fast. This synchronized hollering also worked to get them fresh water, treats, a clean litter box, and table scraps. When I disappointed them they were quick to squeal and scratch and bite. The only way to soothe the savages was to brush them, however they were not happy with the fact that I only owned one grooming tool. This got me a set of claw marks on my forearm. As the racket went on, following me around the apartment I wore myself out attempting to please them. It was becoming increasingly obvious that these cats now owned my soul.

DAY SEVEN – Saturday

After a sleepless night full of meowing and thunderous purring I decided that the best way to deal with the cats was simply to not be at home. I looked for any reason to be away from my apartment. After inviting myself to my best friends’ nieces birthday for some cake and games (I’d never met that side of the family before) and becoming a third wheel on another friends first date to catch a movie (he probably won’t be seeing her again), I began to tire and soon returned to my apartment to find my entertainment center slightly askew, the ceiling high bookcase knocked over, and the contents of both cats stomachs greeting me. I realized that my girlfriend’s flight was about to come in, so as quickly as I’d arrived, I took off for the airport hoping that one cat might figure out how to turn on the gas stove and another might figure out how to light a match, and the problem might just kind of take care of itself.

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Weston Locher, a writer from Orlando, Florida and author of Musings on Minutiae humor blog earned an Honorable Mention in the most recent “America’s Funniest Humor!” Writing Contest held by HumorPress.com.

For his accomplishment, Locher has earned publication in HumorPress.com’s online humor showcase. His entry, “Spray Bottles: Punishing Cats Since 1947″ is about his girlfriend’s tactic for punishing their cats and what happens when the author ends up on the wrong end of this disciplinary action.

“Spray Bottles: Punishing Cats Since 1947″ will be featured in the current showcase through mid-December, after which new results from the bi-monthly contest will be posted.

Other writing awards and recognitions earned by Locher include having the majority of his columns printed out by his parents and hung on their refrigerator.

Click here to see the published column.

HumorPress.com is one of the Internet’s highest-ranking humor contest sites, with opportunities for writers specializing in humor and those with real-life humorous anecdotes to share.

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