I wrote this a while ago as a column for my school newspaper. The teacher thought it was good, but the opinion editor rejected it. She said it was "weird," though I can't for the life of me figure out why she thought that...
For the most part, it’s no longer a surprise to have to step over or walk around whatever dead small animal is lying on the ground in front of the door to the garage. It doesn’t make it any less disgusting. Most recently it was a mouse, I think, though all I saw was the body and I’m mildly concerned that the head is still hiding somewhere in my garage, waiting to ambush me when I go to look for something as innocent as, say, duct tape.
I know it means my cat loves me. She appreciates the fact that I feed her and scratch the back of her neck when she curls up in my lap. They say it’s the thought that counts, but my cat clearly doesn’t understand that, because she still feels the need to bring me morbid demonstrations of her hunting ability.
Small children, even human ones, aren’t so different. In third or fourth grade, for example, the big thing to do on the playground was dig up the clay next to the swings and make things out of it. I made a candleholder one day. Then, when I got home, using the resources at my disposal without rousing suspicion, I painted it with nail polish. I presented it to my mother with an absurd amount of pride. It now sits in the drawer with all the other (real) candleholders not currently on display. I ran across it the other day. It’s hideous. But for some reason, my mother seemed to appreciate it. She even used it until it cracked down the side and threatened to crumble.
I’m not the only one that does this. Everyone’s refrigerator has at one time served as a gallery for childish artwork. None of them is the next Mona Lisa. In fact, most of them are downright gross, but we don’t seem to notice the lack of technique. We only notice the intent behind it, blind to everything but the love and gratitude it represents.
Still, I wish my cat would stop.