I wish I had a tail

My cat and dog are superior to me in so many ways. 

I wish I could jump, climb and run like they can.  

I wish I could purr, growl, bark, scratch and nip with little needle teeth.

I wish I could ignore people when I felt like it. My face would be as blank as a stone statue, especially when people cooed and ooed over me.

If I had their talents, I’d leap over the picket fence in a single bound to greet people and dogs I liked. If anybody passed by that I didn’t care to speak to, I’d bark and lunge so loudly, they would cross the street.

I would jump to the top of the bathroom counter, where it is warm, and ignore anyone who ran inside and outside all night long calling for me.

Sometimes a gal just wants to be alone, so rarely, but oh, so importantly, I’d crawl into such a secret hiding place — perhaps up behind a dresser and into a drawer — that newspaper ads and fliers would be posted begging for my return.

The hair on my head would bristle and stand straight up when I became agitated. I would throw up effortlessly, just for entertainment.  When alarmed, I would arch my back more elegantly than the Gateway in St. Louis. Cross me, and I would silently bare my teeth. Sometimes, I would hiss.

Unless I really liked you, and then I would lick your face when we met. I would always sniff you to know — truthfully — where you’d been and who you’d been with.

Once in awhile, I would languish and be rushed to the doctor for expensive tests that revealed that everything was A-OK. Attention is such a good medication. Especially on weekends or holidays.

Sometimes, I would sneer at my supper bowl and stand motionless until it was refilled with something more appealing.

I would know how to combine righteous selfishness with comfort, claiming the biggest and best part of the bed. 

If you offended me, I would glare at you through slits for eyes, emoting malice sharp enough to slice salami. 

Clarity of communication would be my goal. I would simply yowl when I wanted attention and puddle on things I didn’t like. That would be so much simpler than writing discreetly worded memos and sharp emails. If I could rub my face against objects I wanted for my own, I wouldn’t have to use a credit card.

I would turn my ears — together or singularly — in every direction to pick up sounds and vibes. I would hear things like music in the wind. I would smell secrets in the grass.

If I had whiskers, I could find my way in the dark without stepping on toys and swearing. I’d never bump into tables or trip over rugs.

Mostly, I would glory in my tail, an appendage humans no longer have. I would revel in my tail for clear, nonverbal communication. All I’d have to do is wag it, and people would call me cute and smart.

My tail would wag briskly when I was happy, lower when I was sad or frightened or ill, thrash back and forth when I was angry, curl upward when I felt friendly, wrap around me when I napped safely, point up like a dune buggy antenna when I was feeling really excited (or about to spray) and stick straight out (with my ears flattened) when I was about to attack.

Oh, boy, if I were a scorpion, or a lizard, or a monkey, or a bird, or a fish, or a kangaroo, I’d have a tail with even mightier powers.

When I was an embryo I had a tail, so I understand, but it was absorbed into my body and now I only have a tailbone, or coccyx, which is attached to my sacrum. Even that is inferior to a tail, thanks to bouts of bursitis. 

I wouldn’t worry about tricky grammar or techie gadgets, if only I had a tail.

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Connie Cronley is the author of four books, commentator for public radio 89.5 FM and a columnist for TulsaPeople.

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