Mr. Cameron’s Larry

Big news. The British Prime Minister’s cat, Larry, was spotted recently posing with a dangling rodent at the door of 10 Downing Street, thus fulfilling the destiny for which he had been chosen many months before. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, had hoped that his new cat Larry would contend with the mouse problem in his residence, which leads to a number of questions: why was Larry posted outside to get mice? Who cares about outdoor mice? Does the Prime Minister have a silo in need of protection? You wouldn’t see the royal family getting all het up about outdoor mice, unless there was some way they could breed tiny beagles to send after them. You can take one look at Queen Elizabeth and you can tell she isn’t going to fall apart if a mouse runs over her pumps. Not her daughter Anne, either. Prince Charles, maybe. And the second question: who the hell is David Cameron? Didn’t they just have another Prime Minister? I thought I knew this stuff. As an American, I’m not expected to keep up. I don’t even have to pass a civics test on my own country. But I did make an effort, and for extra credit I even learned the correct pronunciation of his name in his native tongue, thanks to the BBC broadcasts on public radio: Tony Bleah. Now all of a sudden we need a David Cameron? Can’t anything stay the same for five minutes? It’s as bad as Canada. Canada once had a perfectly good prime minister, or premier, or prefect, or whatever they call them: Pierre Trudeau. Sure, that was a hundred years ago, but what’s the point of swapping them out all the time? They’ve got a new one now, and none of my northern friends are happy with him, which troubles me. How hard can it be? It’s Canada. Keep the snow plowed, take regular reports from the Moose Registry and the Maple Ministry, and the rest of it you can phone in.

Anyway, Larry the cat finally came up with a mouse after six months on duty. I guess if you absolutely must put your cat outdoors, and I hope none of you do, it’s just as well he’s a crappy hunter. I could have predicted he wouldn’t have been an all-star. It’s the name. My first cat’s name was also Larry. And Larry was no mouser. She was a pretty good mother, though. No, she didn’t have kittens, but she could take down moths like nobody’s business, as long as they kept beaning themselves on the light bulb and she had all night to do it. And like any good Mother, she’d eat the moths, which must have been like snacking on a tiny dryer sheet.

She was darn near hopeless with mice. I’ve got nothing against mice as a species but I’d rather they stayed outdoors. Unfortunately, we do get a share of them inside during the winter, and they particularly like to hang out in the dishwasher. Our dishwasher mice, our maggot pies, and our flair for expressive gastric disturbances have all done a fine job of thinning out our chronic guest infestations, but we still have the mice. When I’d discover a mouse in the dishwasher, I’d get Larry over to have a look. She was all over it. One mouse confined to a two-foot box and Larry still couldn’t nab it.

What she would do was lock her nose onto the last place she saw a mouse, say, behind the refrigerator, and then there was no unlocking her. Mice could roar by her butt like they were on the way to the Sturgis Rally and she would not remove her nose from the refrigerator. Pull her away and try to fling her in the direction of an actual mobile mouse and she’d hit the floor and snap back to her previous position like she was spring-loaded. People aren’t any different. Tell a bunch of people that some immigrant or a union guy is making off with all the money they deserved to have themselves, and they’ll snap their noses right behind that refrigerator looking for the straw man for years on end, all the while the fat cats are siphoning off their jobs and their pensions and their benefits right behind their backs.

My Larry had patio privileges as an old lady.

So what I’m saying is, Larry is not a good name for a cat, if you want it to be a mouser.

I guess what happens in other places that are not America is you have a parliamentary system, and you get to vote for an entire gang, and then the gang gets in office and its leader gets to be Prime Minister. That’s also the system we have in our house. Dave and I can vote as hard as we want, but we’re outnumbered by the mice. The mice always win. Their prime minister can do a pirouette for a half hour on the flatware rack, but his term is safe.