They’re probably going to revoke my bachelor’s degree for this. But what the hell! Who needs a bachelor’s degree anyway? (That’s not a rhetorical question. After fifteen years in the work force, I’d really like to know.)
I’m going tell it anyway because I need something to write about and honestly, it will feel good to get it off my chest.
I owe my bachelor’s degree to a tuxedo cat. And he wasn’t even a smart tuxedo cat. He slept in the sink and ate his own whiskers.
His name was Mickey. Yes, like Mickey Mouse except, not a mouse, a cat. We named him that because we weren’t allowed to have cats in the dorm and my roommate’s name was Nicki. We thought for sure a name like Frisky or Garfield would be a dead giveaway if anyone heard us call his name. But Mickey sounded just like Nicki. It was the perfect cover-up. Except when we yelled things like:
Mickey! Stop eating your whiskers.
Mickey!! Stop drinking the toilet water.
Mickey!!! You pooped in my shoe again.
Poor Nicki got a lot of strange looks that year.
Most of my college years are a blur. Probably because my brain was pickled in Milwaukee’s Best beer and Jell-O shots made with so much Popov vodka they couldn’t solidify. In fact, a Jell-O shot is where my story begins.
Actually it was more like ten or twelve Jell-O shots followed by a few a games of beer pong and a whole lot of swearing to god that, “this is definitely my last drink. I have an 8 am test tomorrow that I absolutely cannot miss.”
I woke up at 10 am with a sock stuck to my face and a partially chewed Ritz cracker in my mouth. I was just about to fall back to sleep when—Holy Shit! My test!
I ran through a litany of my best excuses:
My hair caught fire.
My car caught fire.
My hair caught fire in my car.
I slept on the roof so I couldn’t hear my alarm go off.
I had an emergency appendectomy.
My dog had an emergency appendectomy. Fuck! There’s no dog.
Then suddenly: Yes! That’s it! The cat!
He was sleeping soundly under the bed so I did what any hung over, panicked stricken college kid with a moderate to severe allergy to pet dander would do—I picked him up and rubbed his furry little body all over my face. He squirmed. I rubbed. He scratched. I rubbed harder. He nearly strangled me with my own hair. I put him down. He won. But I knew it was just enough for my brilliant, evil, potentially life-threatening plan to work.
I started to count.
By the time I reached 10 my face had exploded into a puffy mess of itchy, red hives. My eyes swelled. My bronchial tubes tightened. My roommates were horrified.
I booked across campus and busted into my professor’s office.
“Oh my god!” I panted. “I’m so sorry that I missed class this morning! I was up all night with a terrible allergic reaction to something.”
“Jesus,” he said and took a few steps back. “Are you ok? Can I call a doctor?”
“No. I’ll be fine. But the test! What should I do about the test?”
“Don’t worry about it,” he assured me. “You can make it up. Just go home and get some rest.”
The following week, I took the test and got a solid low B. I was so proud.
So what’s the moral of the story? Find what you’re allergic to and use it to your advantage.
Oh and PETA, cat lovers and anyone out there without a sense of humor: Rest assured that no animal was harmed during this production. In fact, Mickey greeted me with a big lovey, cuddly purr when I walked in. But I quickly slammed the door in his face. I was allergic to that stupid cat! Remember?