Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Did you know I have my own Gerbil Story?
‘C’ is for cookie its good enough for me! We’ve all had our first pet and I’m sure we all have very fond stories to go with them. How they were named the funny tricks they did or in my case how blatantly they pegged you as a flaming homosexual.
Let me take you guys back 25 years ago. The year was 1984. The original Terminator: staring Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. BTW I just saw Terminator: Salvation AWESOME!!!
There are two defining moments of moments of my life when I turned 5yrs old in March of ’84. The first is that I decided that I would no longer call my mother Mommie because I was a big boy now. I said “Mom I can’t call you Mommie anymore. I have to call you Mom now cause I’m a big boy!” And till this day the only time I say “Mommie” is if it is followed by “Dearest”. You know what? It’s funny cause its true. Ask anyone who’s met my mother she’s the love child of Fidel Castro and Joan Crawford. And she suffers from Stockholm syndrome and tries to pass it on like it’s a freaking ginger snap. But I digress!
The second right of passage for turning 5 was that I got my first pet. My Aunt Lu got me the cutest cuddliest creature any gay man could want, A GERBIL!
I loved my Gerbil. I named him Cookie Monster after my favorite character on Sesame Street I just wished he was Blue. Now we all know about the perils of gerbil asphyxiation in the gay culture. Urban legend or not, I can honestly say I killed my Cookie Monster within weeks of turning 5, but it’s not what you think. Okay so it was due to a lack of air but not the way you’re thinking.
My Uncle Mike told this little 5 year old “Gerbils loved the water and could swim really well. You should fill up the bathtub and throw him in there. He’ll love it!” (BTW I still hate my Uncle Mike and this is just one reason why) So one Saturday morning I wake up while Joan Castro was still asleep and I decided to give Cookie Monster that bath. I filled up the bathroom sink and gently released CM in the warm water. He flailed around and swam from side to side back and forth with no way to pull himself out of the water. I only filled the sink halfway. After a few minutes he started getting tired and dunking under the water only to start thrashing again, till finally his tired little legs could not tread water anymore.
My five year old mentality had no concept of death or drowning or that I had even put his life in peril. I thought he just fell asleep in the pool. So I scooped him out of the water and placed him on the bathroom rug. I poked him and nudged him attempting to wake him back up but nothing worked. Starting to panic about how I’d explain this to my dictator I grabbed a box of band-aids and tightly suppresses CM to the rug. Then as diplomatically as I could I stirred the beast all while retaining my dignity. “Mom” I said. “Mom, Cookie Monster fell asleep when I gave him a bath.” Finally after a minute or two of nudging she woke up. “What! You gave him a bath? Did he get loose?” not quite following what I was trying to explain to her. (Funny 25 years later and she still doesn’t listen to a word I say!) “No! Look!” I say as I pulled her towards the bathroom.
Now here’s one of Mommie Dearest’s shining moments in my life, so as much as we don’t get along I have to give her credit how she swung into action. “OMG Tommy what did you do! I think he’s dead. You drowned him.” She said to me as she peeled him off the rug. “But can’t you wake him up, Mommy?” (Ha I’m good aren’t I the master manipulator) I say this to her with the most child like manner I can muster. I really don’t know what drowned or dead means at 5 years old but I could tell it wasn’t good, but I think the ‘mommy’ really got on her good side. Before I knew it she was resuscitating CM. pressing his little chest up and down and I think she even blew into his mouth. Before I knew it he was coughing up water and starting to blink his eyes. “HE’S AWAKE!” I squealed. Joan Castro to the rescue.
“You can’t keep CM” was the next thing she said to me. He was dried off and put back in his cage. My Aunt Lu came over the next day and took CM home with her. He lived there with my Aunt and Nana for the rest of his short life. About a year later he got out of his cage and one of my Nana’s cats killed him. So either way I killed him once and the cat got him the second time. Who knew gerbils’ have 2 lives?
Till this day when ever I smell cedar I think of Cookie Monster and wish he would have caused some internal bleeding in my Uncle.