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Old 03-29-2004, 02:19 PM   #44
daverbee
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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This. Once again from I Am Eating My Husband's Soul:

My Hamster, My Self


My son and I got a hamster a few months ago. Thinking that it would be wrong to keep this creature in isolation, we thought ahead and purchased a palatial Hamster Estate. This included 2 cages, 3 ‘outposts’, a hamster bathroom, a lookout post, and 2 exercise wheels and probably a ¼ mile of tubing to connect everything. After having one hamster for a week, we returned to the pet store to buy him a society.

We brought our hamster along in his mobile outpost. “Can we see if he’ll get along with a couple of these hamsters?” I asked the pimply attendant in the Rodent Room.

“He won’t.” replied our post-puberty host. “Hamsters fight.” He had a rat on his shoulder. It was his best feature.

“We could buy a mate, then. We don’t want him to be alone.”

Rat-lad shrugged. He grabbed a book and read aloud to me,

“Hamsters are solitary creatures with nasty social dispositions. They should be together only for breeding, and even then the results of combining two hamsters can be very unpredictable.”

It was then that I knew, after 20+ years of dating, countless boyfriends and 3 husbands, that at last I had found my soul mate. He cost $1.99. His name is Howard. We both enjoy running, eating fruits and vegetables, being out of drafts, and having our shit in a room separate from our sleeping quarters. Neither of us is inclined to go looking for a dinner party.



I understand Howard in a way that I am not understood by my loved ones. For instance, knowing what I do about hamsters, I do not force Howard to mingle with his own nasty kind, and yet a week does not go by that my husband isn’t trying to ease me into some awful social situation.

“It’s just dinner. I’ll cook! We have a great house for entertaining…They’re my friends.” He will whine, trying everything.

It’s true. Like Howard, we have a large house with many rooms. We have all the best in home entertainment systems. We have more than one living room, more than one room designated for ‘dining’, something I prefer to only do ‘out’.

I have always considered the terms ‘formal dining’ to be in the same family as ‘exploratory surgery’ on the ole I Want To Do It scale. Either way, the enormous oak table that dominates our huge barren dining room is perfect.



His friends are trouble for me. They iron their clothes and laugh at stuff that isn’t really funny; they use the word ‘cute’ to describe things they admire, like talking baby movies or short pink pants. They own ceramic wildlife figurines. Smiling bears... chipmunks too terrible to face. Geese in aprons. Save me, Howard…

I do not blend easily into this sort of society.

It’s a bad situation for everyone. What I lack in social grace and conversation skills, I make up for in furtiveness and sweat glands. Even a simple question like, “What have you been up to?” can trigger a response so awkward or just plain lurid that only an explosion or rectal bleeding can move us past it.



I have the sort of friends who wouldn’t think to invite me to dinner unless there was a darker and more sinister intent. “I need you to keep watch while I break into this guy’s house and get back my Vicodan™.

THEN I’ll buy us pizza!”

Purposeful relationships that provide amusing stories,

“And then, just as Cindy was inside the guy’s house, silhouetted perfectly in the window going through his pants pockets, he walked up and stood beside me on the sidewalk. ‘I think she is having trouble moving on,’ I said, and together we watched her move on to ransacking his dresser drawers. Later we talked about restraining orders over pizza and beer, and how they just didn’t mean much anymore. “Like we had something special,” Cindy snorted.



This story is not one Eric’s friends, not a hamster among them, would enjoy or even understand. Yet, desperate for something, anything, to share, I tell it at our ill-advised dinner “party.”

“She broke into this person’s house? And got caught?”

Yvonne asks, confused as to why this is amusing.

“Yes!” I enthuse, “She always gets caught. Last week she got caught peeking through windows. She was trying to figure out if this guy she liked was attached. He was. His wife screamed when Cindy’s head loomed up into their bedroom window.”

Yvonne and her husband Doug exchange signal looks that they imagine only other pretty, fashionable people can decipher. I want to eat my young in front of them, as I know Howard would.

They leave by 9:00. Eric and I stay up and finish the bottle of wine they brought. Eric likes everyone, he has many comfortable acquaintances. He doesn’t ever feel ill at ease with people, unless they yell, cry real tears over their 2nd bottle of wine and keep talking about loving hamsters more than people. That tends to put him on edge.

Did I mention that Howard stays up all night making unholy racket and then sleeps all day? He is truly my better half...
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