by Jack Swenson

            I worry.

            I worry about our cats. Our cats are old. Do cats, too, live longer these days? Used to be fifteen was the outer limits.

            I'm not worried about terrorists. I worry about politicians. I think they are far more dangerous to the health and well being of the average American.

             I am worried about the state of the nation. I worry about oil spills, climate change, corporate greed. I'm worried about the upcoming election. How can you not worry when a significant portion of the electorate goes around with tea bags hanging from their hats?

            Recently I got an e-mail from a friend who is worried about her husband who has been having chest pain. He won't see a doctor. She says her imagination runs wild at night, but during the day she can calm herself and talk herself into waiting for news and not inventing it.

            That sounds like a good idea. Watch. Wait and see.

            I turned on the television last night, and one of the networks had a segment about a girl with no nose. She had done something she wasn't supposed to do, and the local authorities had mutilated her because in that part of the world, that was the punishment for what she did.

            People. Human beings. What a piece of work! And we are supposedly a higher order, superior to animals.

            I am coming to the conclusion that the human being is the lowest form of animal there is.

            People hunt ducks for sport. Put farm animals ticketed for the grocery stores in cages where they can't move.

            People lie, cheat, and steal. Make a mess of the oceans and the good, green earth.

Can the end of world come soon enough?

            My wife takes one look at my fat lower lip and the scowl on my face and starts to laugh. “What's the matter with you?” she asks.

            I tell her nothing and everything.

            She tells me to give our cat Spot his medicine. He's on steroids to beef him up. He's an old cat.

            I sit there with old Spot on my lap and squirt the medicine down his throat. He laps it up. I grin. I comb him, and he purrs.

            “Mr. Muscles,” I say. “Everything's okay in your world, isn't it?