With everything I have going on in my life right now, my friend Libby could tell I was stressed when I sat down with her at the local Starbucks for a cup of coffee and some friendly conversation. When she asked me what was going on, I gave her the Reader’s Digest version so I wouldn’t look like I was stumping for sympathy votes. Sure, the job is rough and hectic with too many long hours, finances are tight, the situation with my roommate is boiling over, and the list goes on. She knows all of this already, so I responded to her question with something akin to "I’m just stressed, tired, have too much going on, need a break, blah blah blah."
She immediately recommended a book, something to take my mind off of my own worries, something that would help put things into perspective.
What book is that, Libby?
P.S. Your Cat Is Dead is the book, and, lucky for me, she just happens to have a copy she can let me borrow.
So I sit down the other evening to read. The book is only about 230 pages long, so I knew I could finish it in one evening. Boy am I glad I did.
Written by James Kirkwood, coauthor of A Chorus Line, the book is an exceptional exploration of life with a darkly humorous twist. The blurb on the front of the paperback version says it all.
“It’s New Year’s Eve. Your best friend died in September, you’ve been robbed twice, your girlfriend is leaving you, you’ve just lost your job… and the only one left to talk to is a gay burglar you’ve got tied up in the kitchen.”
Rest assured that the dark humor doesn’t stop there.
I read through this book in only a few hours and found myself drawn so closely to it that I was almost frightened by it’s apparent application to my own life. Just when you think things can’t get worse, they do.
So I found myself wrapped in this story from stem to stern. Only after I finished it did I realize it was far more than a dark comedy.
Only recently had I reached a place in my own life where I realized that drastic changes were needed. P.S. Your Cat Is Dead was the perfect complement to my own realizations as it ultimately boiled down to someone who must lay aside their former self and take a dramatic, drastic step in a different direction in order to keep from going under — mentally, financially, emotionally, and in many other ways.
After I finished it, I felt justified, vindicated, supported and ultimately satisfied. My recent decision to get my life turned in a different direction — from living arrangements to job to focus to priorities to possessions — suddenly made perfect sense.
I won’t give the details of the story since part of the allure of it is the unbelievable yet very real presentation of life as most of us live it — one catastrophe at a time, wondering when it all ends, wondering where the fun is, hoping we will be allowed to actually live rather than constantly chasing the ethereal dream which we know deep down inside we will never attain.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever thought that it couldn’t possibly get worse. Thanks to Libby, I read it at just the right time in my life — when it would do the most good. It helped me to see that my approach to life hadn’t worked and that it truly was time for a change.
Go find a copy and read it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I sure as hell wasn’t.