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Three Reasons You’d Better Prep for a Crazy Cat Lady Explosion

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The Mayans’ powers of prognostication may or may not bear fruit this December, but there is still another apocalypse looming – the rise of the Crazy Cat Lady (CCL). For now, their power is limited to gathering in an orderly and humorous society, and to racking up a few million likes on YouTube.  But don’t be fooled!  We’re fated for a CCL explosion over the next few decades.  You probably have questions like “How can I identify a CCL?” and “Why should I be worried about a looming tuna shortage?” Read on for exclusive and comprehensive analysis of this impending disaster.

1. More and more of us are living alone.

Forget the traditional idea of domestic bliss, the young marrieds with their 2.5 adorable offspring. The narcissistic age ushered in by Facebook and Twitter means that we’re just not as good playing with others as we used to be. According to the marketing firm Euromonitor International, the number of people living alone has tripled since the 1950s. The same report claims that 18 million American women choose to make sure the toilet seat remains down. (About 14 million American males opt for a one-man habitat.) Solo living is good news if you’re not great at sharing the remote, but it’s bad news if you’re intent on maintaining a prime set of social skills. Why do so many people choose to be a singleton? Young people are especially adept at using technology to build and maintain social networks. Which leads to…

2. We’re as good (or better) at being social with our pets than with each other.

Need proof? Do you “staff” a Facebook page for your pet? If so, you’re in good company. Pet insurance specialists PetPlan claim that one in ten pets, if they could talk, would claim access to a Facebook or Twitter account, despite the lack of opposable thumbs required for typing on mobile devices. Half of us humans post or tweet about our pets regularly. The adventures of Mittens and Fido have drastically driven up page views (and revenue) for social networking sites. A dog named Boo boasts over 4.7 million followers on Facebook; Sockington the cat Tweets his wit and wisdom to 1.4 million humans daily. Think you’d have to be crazy to follow an animal on social media? Then you’ll love number three:

3. Cats are systematically implementing a plan to drive us clinically insane.

A Czech Republic scientist has been trying to warn us that a little critter called Toxioplasmosis gondii, a parasite common to both humans and felines, can infect us with almost no physical symptoms. Instead, this single-celled Protozoan it lies in wait, fundamentally altering the biochemistry of the human brain, and causing depression, suicides, schizophrenia, and other forms of erratic human behavior. Result? More cat-human relationships, and more online cat sites. It resembles a plot from a B-grade sci-fi movie: zombified humans slavishly catering to their kitty’s every whim.

The original feline host? Unaffected.

Perhaps it’s time to consider investing in Tidy Cat.

Written by Jen Szymanski

August 29, 2012 at 6:38 am

Simplicity is Complicated

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I have a sign that hangs over the the entranceway between my living room and my unused front door hallway. It bears a single word, written in grainy, faux-antique, Shaker-esque capitals:


Written that way, it’s almost a command, and a pervasive one.

Should I volunteer to…?


Do I really need to clean out…?


Should I try to…?


Over the years, well-meaning family members have presented me with knick-knacks of various sorts inscribed with the same word. I appreciate their intention, but am a little bemused at how I’m supposed to reconcile the thought with the object. (I have issues with Real Simple magazine, for the same reason, as well as the craft show mavens burdened with baskets full of handmade curiosities emblazoned with the same word.)

Me, smug? Never. Me with my fairly Spartan furnishings (okay, that’s because I hate to dust.) Me, with my faint scorn for parents who stuff their kids‘ after school time with activity after activity? Never.


At night, when I’m waiting for sleep, thinking about the day, trying to untangle the knots in my thoughts to make straight the path for Morpheus, (as we used to say) – what then? When I do the battle with the mundane anxieties of “Am I?” Am I a good mom? Writer? Friend? Daughter? Wife? Have I been honest today? Acted with integrity? I often end my days as far away from simplicity as I can get.

I have a great love for the song “Simple Gifts.” The tune is well known – the lyrics, not as much so. Believing as I do, that all things are genetic, I like the think that I love it so well because of some latent Shaker bit of DNA, passed down from some hoary ancestor, who lived simply not because they wanted to, but because they had to. My favorite bit is:

“When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed.”

I also, of course, hate this part. Because it states so succinctly the hard part of simplicity. The easy part is to say I don’t need that thing, or to bask in feeling good about myself and my house when I donate things to charity. Sure, it unclutters my life. But the lyrics are demanding a little more. They ask that I do the thing that I am really, really terrible at, yet something that’s so important, that even in my mind it bears a capital: Accept.

Accept that giving up happens sometimes.

Accept letting go.

Accept who others are as well as who I am.


Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me. Better not get rid of that sign just yet.

Written by Jen Szymanski

January 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

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