When we're lucky, we receive signs from the cosmos that we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are meant to do.
For instance, there are reasons why I did not join the armed forces or become an emergency responder-type person in my post-adolescent, pre-middle age days.
Sure, I have my issues with taking orders (let's just leave it at that) and I have a problem with the whole running into action thing (if the running is farther than 50 yards and the action is longer than 10, 15 minutes tops, I'm played out, go on without me).
However, the single-most important problem is the reality that even if a person is willing to take the needed action in an emergency, it doesn't mean that person is actually going to be good at it, or effective. Therein lies my problem.
In a shoot-out I would somehow manage to wander into the path of a speeding bullet. In a warehouse fire I would trip over, and spill, a can of gas. If someone tossed what looked like two babies from a collapsing building, I would manage to catch the one that turned out to be a doll.
I know that I am "gifted" in this way. (Don't make me say cursed.)
To be reminded of this recently, all I needed to do was try to rescue one little cat.
The new, half-wild shop cat and I had been flirting with each other for about a week, and he'd finally gotten brave enough for petting. About four days into our new relationship, I trooped up the non-OSHA-compliant stairs to the loft in our shop for a little sit-down time with the cat. As of that point, referred to only as new-cat.
I called "kitty-kitty-kitty," and he answered "mow," as per our courtship ritual, but this time the sound came from a different place than it had been since we had started meeting like this.
After an extensive process of stuff moving, equipment gathering and trooping up and down the life-threatening stairs, I located new-cat inside the shop's wall.
In fact, I stared down through a 6-inch hole at him from the loft-level while he reached beseechingly toward me from 8 feet away on ground-floor level — plaintively calling to me in his quirky little "mow."
After much investigation, a consultation with my husband, who knows the shop better, and continued successful navigation of the death-stairs, it was determined that new-cat could make his way out of the wall through a hole that, we were reasonably sure, was cut there just for the purpose of kitty retrieval.
But the next morning new-cat was still in there, "mowing" at me from the same spot ... inside the wall.
A woman of action, I mounted a full-scale rescue like a true action hero
Macgyver-like, I scoured the shop for items to jerryrig into a lifesaving device, and soon found myself lowering a ridged hose, a.k.a. a flexible cat ladder, from the loft through the hole to his location and securing the top end to a heavy chair with the stray ends of a vehicle wiring harness.
Satisfied with my lifesaving solution, I sat back on my haunches to wait for new-cat to climb to safety where I would welcome him with a comforting lap and pets ... instead, I looked up and saw new-cat rubbing extravagantly against the shelf next to me, "mowing" happily.
Apparently, new-cat didn't need rescuing at all. While I was mounting a rescue, he just jumped out of the hole in the wall and came to say "hey."
Despite proving to be more a Keystone Kops buffoon than a Macgyver hero, I still find comfort seeing that I am supposed to be right here in the humor column business.
(Still, he could've waited until I left before cat-laughing at me at http://viewnorth40.wordpress.com.)