The Therapy Sessions

On Henny Youngman, Romeo & Nighttime Crying

Rolling in on a suitcase.

TP: Hey, Little Man. Sorry we got snowed out last week.

LM: Aw, probably just as well, doc. Gave me time to cool down.

TP: Something happen?

LM: Nothing huge, just the usual petty annoyances that’ve been ramping up lately, thanks to my increasing presence on social media. You might have noticed the picture mom recently posted of me catching Z’s on my custom-made suitcase bed?

TP: No, I think I missed that, Little. What’s a suitcase bed?

LM: Good question, doc. This lady mom knows takes suitcases—you know, the classic old cool-looking kind—and fits ‘em out as customized beds for dogs and cats. Pretty comfy, I must say. Mine’s become one of my go-to afternoon nap faves.

TP: Sounds different. Creative.

LM: Yeh. I don’t know how she came up with that idea, but I’ve got a great follow-up for her.

TP: What’s that?

LM: Well, you know how all the new suitcases have the collapsible handle and wheels?

TP: Sure. Very popular.

LM: Well, imagine custom-fitting some of those bad boys.

TP: Be kind of bumpy for sleeping, wouldn’t it.

LM: Nah, it’s not just about sleeping doc. I’m talkin’ transportation. Say, for example, it’s time to go to the vet for a check-up, but I’m in mid-snooze mode. Dad could just slide that handle out, give the old snoozemobile a wee bit of a tilt, and off we go. Probably need a convertible top of some sort. You know, like they have on those things parents attach to bicycles for their runny-nosed little imps.

TP: Sounds like a sedan chair for pets, Little.

LM: Yes, it does, doc. And who better to get the royal treatment than the kings and queens of the house!

TP: OK, so anyway, what’s this have to do with social media annoyances.

LM: Right, almost forgot. Here’s the thing, doc. This social media stuff seems to be turning everyone into Henny Youngman.

TP: I remember him. The King of the One-Liners! “Take my wife–please.” He was always riffin’ on his wife. How about…”My wife was at the beauty shop for two hours. And that was just for the estimate.” (Laughs) Funny guy.

LM: Settle down, doc. Stick to bein’ the straight man.

TP: OK, but humor’s a good thing, Little. It’s healthy to laugh at one’s self now and then.

LM: How about laughing at me, doc. How healthy is that?

TP: What do you mean?

LM: Take that suitcase bed snapshot my mom posted on Facebook. “Suitcase bed?” one of dad’s old buddies writes. “That would be like putting Chris Christie on a cot. Think Little needs an upgrade to an ocean voyage trunk.” Bada-boom. Then one of mom’s friends chips in—something about “all that picture needs is for Little to have a pint of Chunky Monkey and a spoon.”

TP: Cute.

LM: You think? That same chippie saw my picture sitting on top of one of those cat toys that whips around, supposedly making cats go nuts chasing after it. Of course, once I planted my considerableness on it, there wasn’t anything left to chase. That prompted Miss Henny Youngman to post: “Maybe you should attach a ham sandwich to it.” Haha. Stop. I’m gettin’ a cramp laughing so hard.

TP: Poking fun can be the sincerest form of flattery, Little Man.

LM: Hmm. Turns out this Henny Youngman babe is some famous cop’s mother…maybe she’s just trying to relieve the stress of worrying about her little Barney Fife out there on the mean streets of Mayberry.

TP: Moving on. What else you got, Little.

LM: OK. Then there’s my mom’s weekly posting about some orange ball of fur named Romeo. Well, actually, the cat’s name is The Colonel—something to do with him havin’ a buddy named Elvis. You know, the Colonel was Elvis’…

TP: I know…Elvis Presley’s manager.

LM: Bingo. You’re quite up on pop culture, doc. Anyhow…mom calls him Romeo because he just LOVES to crawl into her lap. Even ignores his dinner to be with her. (Now right there, you know this kid’s got his priorities confused.)

TP: What is he—a neighborhood stray?

LM: Nah, he’s in some halfway house waitin’ to be fostered. Mom goes over there each week to help out.

TP: If she’s so in love, how come she doesn’t just bring him home?

LM: Doc! Get a grip on yourself, man. We’ve been through this before. Remember Curly?

TP: Sure. How’s he doing?

LM: Well, he’s still out at the Tomato Thrower’s menagerie.

TP: Tomato Thrower? Oh, Miss Genny.

LM: Right, the chief rabble-rouser herself. Anyway, about Curly. I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling the little twerp’s pretty much running that place these days. My guess? He eventually realized the wisdom of my solo-is-the-way-to-go ways. But, sadly for him, that ship has long since sailed at Camp Tomato.

TP: So back to Romeo.

LM: Yeh, well, this Romeo kid’s got some sort of medical issue that could be transferred to another cat if they happened to scratch one another.

TP: Which she worries could happen if she brought Romeo, er, The Colonel, back to your house, and you went into “gunslinger-bursting-through-the saloon-door-to-wreak-havoc” mode, like you did with Curly.

LM: Basically, yes.

TP: Anything else up?

LM: Well, under the heading, “This Just In,” I see a note right before coming over here that mom sent to dad, telling him to check out an article she found, titled—get this—“Nighttime Crying: Why Cats Do It & How To Prevent It.”

TP: Uh-huh. I have heard about your middle of the night wake-up calls.

LM: You see this is why I like you, doc. You at least use the correct terminology. “Wake-up call” versus “crying.” I’m a grown man of a cat. An exceptionally good-looking grown man of a cat, at that! “Crying?” Please!

TP: But you will acknowledge that you do, uh, let’s say, encourage your dad to get up in the middle of the night to…visit the kitchen with you?

LM: First of all, doc, it’s like 5 am, hardly the middle of the night. Dad used to get up that time every morning when he was working. I’m trying to keep the old boy from turning into a retired, aging slug.

TP: I’m sure he’d appreciate hearing that.

LM: Second, mom and dad have trained me to be a grazer. They don’t feed me three squares-a-day in three squares. They spread ‘em throughout the day, which…by the way…is what a lot of these personal trainer-types recommend.

TP: Yes, it’s true. A lot of people do believe it’s better to eat six or seven small meals spread throughout the day, rather than three large ones.

LM: OK. We’re on the same page. But here’s the clincher, doc. Do you know what time these two—my mom and dad, that is—go to bed?

TP: No idea.

LM: It goes like this. By 8:30, they’re wrapping things up downstairs, or in their offices or wherever, and heading up to the bedroom. By 9, they’re tucked in, reading or watching TV, so by 10 (and I mean 10 at the latest), these two are asleep. Do the math, doc. That means by 5 am, I haven’t eaten for, what, eight or nine hours?

TP: So you feel justified in your, uh, early morning wake-up calls.

LM: Ever the good soldier, doc. That’s me.