Category Archives: Humor with an h


Afflicted with what could only be described as a camera obsessive compulsive disorder, I shoot anything in sight. Obsessively. Compulsively. Anything. My only saving grace (and perhaps downfall too) is my reluctance to carry around the four pounds of equipment necessary to take a picture… But recently, to my friends’ greatest dismay, I discovered the camera on my iPhone. A few ounces that unleashed the OCD beast in me. I blame it on Steve Jobs.


The iPhone now accompanies me every day on my bike ride and makes me stop every five minutes to take pictures of ducks (no offense Jason). It totally breaks my cycling momentum.


It went with me to the Nasher Sculpture Center where I photographed my friends Robby and Greg, very Abbey Roadishy.


It came out of my pocket at the Dallas Museum of Art, and I did not even get caught. Hee, Hee!


Greg and Robby had to pose for me under the water because I do not take no for an answer. By solidarity, I stayed under the water too because that’s just the kind of person I am. Kind, that is.


When my friend Dorin bribed me with a Happy Meal to operate as her bodyguard during a Craig’s list transaction, I downloaded an app called CameraBag and played with it in the car. Incidentally, Dorin asked me to post a good picture to balance this embarrassing selection, so I’m sending you back to a post I had written about her previously, bless her little heart.


The app is quite fun and allows you to alter your image in the phone: you have a choice of infrared, Helga, fisheye, 1962, etc. The image format is greatly reduced but it’s entertaining.

Dorin berated me for taking photographs instead of being social and making conversation with her. I reminded her I was there as her bodyguard, not as her entertainer, and that she had not provided the promised Happy Meal yet, and why the hell not? I feel pretty sure I cannot  exercise my guarde du corps duties to their full potential on an empty stomach.

I’m leaving you with a picture of my mantel which seems to have taken a turn for the worse lately. I’m going to need a second fireplace soon.


I think my iPhone addiction is now in its declining phase. I’m planning to reserve its use for car accident, stupid pictures of Monsieur Shinn at Starbucks, and blackmail opportunities. It was iPhun while it lasted, but I’m iPhinished.

I fell in love with the pig…

And the lazy bastard had to open a store. I have decided a long time ago that I was much more talented at encouraging (harassing) others to promote themselves than to do it for myself. I’m not even trying anymore and I ran out of business cards four months ago. I’m pathetic.

When I saw a drawing of a planet with a pig Cochon and a little man foraging for truffles on the blog of Sir planetross, I told him I wanted a pig shirt. Much prodding ensued.

“Get off the couch and go work on these drawings. Canadians will still be playing hockey tomorrow!”

“Don’t let Kelly Pettit‘s idea of a good time interfere with your work!”

“Do you think graphics for tee-shirts grow in rice fields?!”  (Monsieur planetross lives in Japan in the middle of mountains, hot water springs where men bathe all naked and a lot of rice fields)

Et voila le travail! The store is now officially opened!!!

logo2-copyA difficult delivery (breech if you will) but a full line of tee-shirts, mugs, and other stuff too

We had our fair share of artistic differences. When planetross sent me this graphic:


I questioned his good judgment. Would people ever buy a shirt with a little boy who peed his pants (even if they weren’t his)? Apparently yes. Monsieur Shinn was the first one to say he totally wanted one! So I caved in.


And I got my pig shirt too!

e-dylan-and-cochon-21The “cochon tres tres chic” line looks adorable on wee kids.


Even our President decided that the inspirational messages on the shirts were quite appropriate for the campaign trail:

aobamasouthcarolina“Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is just the entrance to a lighted tunnel.”

The shirts transcend time…

keaton007Buster Keaton sporting his favorite Kelly Pettit Unplugged shirt.

Many famous actors are hopping on the bandwagon (or whatever that expression is) and are adopting planetross’ sense of fashion (I’d never thought I’d say that in a million years, trust me!)

marlon0061Marlon Brando and his special optimism method acting in Streetcar Named Desire”

All the graphics are declined in women’s, men’s, children’s tee shirts, mugs and mouse pads (except for the “coffee mugging” line which is only for mugs and therefore not really a line to be exact.)

canuck_cochon_mug-p168167015538446546tr4i_380“cochon pour le bacon” shows planetross’ patriotic fiber (the man is a Canuck)

mental_mousepad-p144145075472766376cb7z_525-copyWhy buy a regular boring mouse pad when you could buy a beauty like this one?

Also, the lines are quite sporty as evidenced by this shot taken at some kind of golf event.

woods008Generally I’m not one much in favor of red and yellow together but I think it works rather well here.

In summary, it’s all in good fun, the items make splendid gifts, and please go buy something otherwise the boy will never get off his lazy bum again and he will tell me “I told you so” ad nauseam, and I’ll have to eat crow for months at the time, and you would not want that for me now, would you?

Dallas, Ton Univers Impitoyaaaaable…

Consider the following as a visit to Downtown Dallas without having to brave traffic, leave the comfort of your orthopedic chair, mess with a legion of one-way streets, and hurry back to your parking meter before the cop nabs you. I strongly suspect that the parking meters are secretly electronically monitored by the police otherwise how would you explain the number of tickets I have gotten in the past for running just a few minutes late? A sixth sense? I don’t think so.


Texans are not particularly environment-friendly. SUVs and pick-up trucks abound in the streets of Dallas. My single friends who own monstrous gas guzzlers generally justify themselves by alleging the vehicles are very practical to move “stuff.” Right. Like that one time they bought a ficus tree.


The Comerica Bank Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Dallas with 60 stories. It used to be the Bank One Center. The bank recently completed the sale of $2.25 billion of preferred stock as part of $700 billion government rescue package.


The Majestic Theater opened its doors in 1921! Mae West and Houdini performed in the venue. I saw Rob Decker performing “Defending the Caveman” there. Men are hunters. Women are gatherers. What about Sarah Palin then?


Dallas may appear somewhat impersonal.


Its charm resides in the details… and low expectations.


The red Pegasus, logo of the Magnolia Petroleum Company, predecessor to Mobil Oil, has throned over Dallas since 1934. As part of the Dallas Millennium Celebration, the sign was restored (translate rebuilt for $600,000) and relit on December 31st, 1999 at midnight.

bdowntown_051As I am taking a picture of the modern sculpture, a guard comes rushing out of the building and prohibits me from photographing the statue. Interesting! The reasoning behind the ban is that I could very well be a terrorist. Okayyyy. But if I stand on the sidewalk across the street, then I can photograph the building without any problem. That makes so much sense! Furthermore, does the sidewalk belong to the building or the city? I would surmise the city therefore how can I be prohibited from taking a photograph if I stand on public property?


Glass and steel


Oldish buildings

bdowntown_062-copyThe “Old Red” Courthouse built in the 1890s represents well the romanesque style of the period. Today it houses a Museum dedicated to Dallas County. I think the City should have kept it as a courthouse with little jails in the dark turrets to deter crime.


The 1946 Greyhound Station which I like very very much.


The usual flurry of downtown activity


One of the rare sign of life on the street and she wasn’t staying either.


My favorite reason to go downtown


Typical Dallas scenery: the marriage of kind of old with really new

Voila. I hope you realize the extent of my sacrifice. To add to this heavy burden, the letter “a” on my keyboard has gone kaput and I’m typing this by pasting all the as. Is there a nerd that might indicate what to do about all the as? When your name is Nathalie and you live in Dallas, you need your as!

A Distinguished Affair… Not so much!

The last time Hunang and James hosted a dinner affair, the conversation had degenerated to lows rarely attained in the annals of parties. Hunang claimed not to understand what had happened. He had laid the finest China on a delicate tablecloth . After all, one must hold oneself to certain standards when heirloom porcelain adorns a table.

This time around, things would be different. Breaking with tradition, Hunang and James decided to prepare dinner at Miss T. and Brandon’s house. Perhaps a change of venue would elevate the debate to finer subjects such as philosophy or literature.

The table was beautiful

The dog had been confined to the yard.

Hunang was cooking up a storm in the kitchen

Bill stole Dorin’s sweater but he did not mean to.

In the living room, the guests were discussing very mundanely former living arrangements. Bill explained that he had lived at the Ritz… The Oram Ritz that is, an 8 unit residence in a beat up Dallas neighborhood. Cory asked him if there was a doorman and Bill told us about the feral cat doorman which was not very effective as far as concierges go. We then proceeded to the table. It seemed things would be different this time.

The subject of the Olympics was brought up, how male and female swimmers looked exactly the same in their suits and huge Matrix goggles and how they would kick our asses all the same whatever they were. We wondered if the regular gymnasts were making fun of the trampoline folks. The consensus was that they undoubtedly were.

Miss T. explained that she was mind-boggled by the amount of tiny countries that participated to the Olympics and wished she could have crashed the opening ceremony parade by representing a bogus nation. The Oompa-Loompa Overseas Territories. She imagined herself marching proudly in her striped candy red and white sport uniform.

You could see that Brandon, Miss T.’s husband, was perhaps not 100% convinced that the evening was heading towards loftier horizons. He was scratching his head. Da wife was feelin’ pretty feisty…

Dorin and Angela broke into an impromptu rap.

Bill talked about Fergie from the Black-eyed Pees, how she always spelled something in every song and… how she had peed herself once during a concert.

Oh dear! Singers peeing themselves! The party had officially broken.

Cory knew it. 15 minutes into the dinner and a point of no return had already been reached.

Love me some Pucca

Meanwhile Miss T. has gone into a Pucca delirium… Joined by Bill.

Love me some Pucca too

Cory discovers that he shares a birthday with Angela on September 12th, and inexplicably breaks into a celebration dance.

Bill attempts a Madonna.

Bill’s Madonna sends Miss T. over the edge.

That’s when Angela decides to sing the entire “I Like Big Butts” song. Kudos sista’!

Miss T. is very amused. Brandon hangs in there.

Bill decidedly breaks the jovial mood to tell us about the father he never knew growing up. He tells us about the time he visited him in Waco in February 2003, the second time they had ever met. As Bill prepared to leave, his dad hugged him and whispered to his ear that he had put a little something in the trunk for him. How thoughtful!

Bill drove home feeling he was building a foundation with his old man and loving it. He was so emotional he was crying. It was raining. He suddenly remembered about his father’s gift and, curious, pulled off the road. He slowly opened the trunk. In the middle of the compartment: a VHS tape. A Girls Gone Wild tape. A previously viewed Girls Gone Wild Tape… Have I mentioned Bill plays for the other team?

And just like that, when we thought we were safe, we weren’t.

That’s when we notice Brandon’s absence.

Brandon is gone to the store to buy raspberries for the cheesecake. “I don’t know what happened. They are the same raspberries that have been on the list since 11 am this morning!” Miss T. explains with a tiny point of gentle exasperation in the voice. She further explains that there will be no cheesecake for anyone until Bryan does the Beyonce. I think that Bryan likes to be begged because it is always such a big ordeal of huge proportions to make him do it.

We must liquor him up. The tequila is brought to the table. Things are getting serious. We all want Miss T.’s made from scratch cheesecake and if we have to carry the man to the dance floor, we will.

The man drinks up but needs further assistance. We send in Angela to lure him to shake his booty.

“You’re a fine woman! Back that ass up! From the East side to the West side!”

Finally! “Come on Bryan! Drop it like it’s hot!”

Holla atcha boys!

Bill: “You will look back at this with affection.”

Bryan: ” Do you have a scrapbook of regrets too?”

Bill explains that Cory and Leon are his oldest friends… In terms of long he has known them AND how old they are. He said he would have been sad to leave them behind but that he almost had to when he was laid off years ago. He had briefly entertained moving to Asheville, North Carolina. Hearing the news, his mother had said: “Oh no, you don’t want to live there. It has been eaten up by the queers and the Wiccans!”

Bill’s mother seems pretty high maintenance. He had failed to call her for a week and she left him the following message on his phone: “I don’t know where you are. I don’t know what you’re doing or who you’re with. Don’t call me. I’ll call you.” I guess that showed him!

Brandon has come back with the precious raspberries. Beyonce out of the way, we are all waiting for the dessert.

Orgasm on a Plate

Bill: “Well, don’t these raspberries just MAKE the dessert?”

Cory: “Ooh they taste as if they had just been bought!”

On our end of the table things are going pretty well.

On the other side, things seems more China appropriate.

They are probably discussing philosophy or literature.

On our side of the table, Bill blows into Oscar’s nose.

Angela is singing “Big Butts” to Oscar.

Bill pretends Cory is Oscar

Bryan shows love to Angela

Cory is dancing

Miss T. is dancing AND singing

Dorin and Oscar are smooching on the couch

Angela is booty-dancing Leon in the kitchen

James and Hunang wonder where they went wrong once again.

After all, the evening has just started…

note: in the course of the evening, 7.5 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of champagne, 1/2 bottle of tequila, 1/2 bottle of scotch, 1/2 bottle of Crown, and and unknown amount of vodka were consumed (but not by me.)

note deux: you know you are pushing the blogging envelope when you show up at a party with a camera, paper and a pen.

note trois: some names have been changed to preserve the anonymity of above-referenced drunks.

note quatre: some comments have been censored.

note cinq: after this post, my next venture will be my “World through the Eyes of planetross” that emanated through a Single for a Reason challenge (I’m not quite through preparing for this because the man thinks not like a regular human being.) I will then switch to a one photograph a day format in order to cope with my workload and fight the blogging addiction which is totally eating my clock.

note six: I hope they’ll forgive me.

note sept: no animals were injured in the making of this blog.

The Kid Was Hot Last Night

Last night, I was a very important person. That’s what my badge said and I’ll stick to it.

It all started a little earlier that afternoon when my friend Dorin, the rock nerd, sent me a cryptic email: “Would you like to stay up late tonight?” I was of course immediately suspicious. If I said yes, I would have to go along with whatever she had in mind. The alternative being to stay home writing posts for your selfish entertainment, I agreed. Dorin invited me to see Loverboy play at The Glass Cactus. Sweeeet!

I think Dorin is Canadian. She is not but she would make a mighty fine Canuck. She has known the members of Loverboy for ten years and never misses a show. I, on the other hand, while owning the ultimate Canadian survival kit, did not know anything about the band besides the tidbits imparted by her here and there.

They are very popular in North America, but as far as I know, never quite made it across the Atlantic. I briefly had had sushi with the drummer Matt Frenette and the sound engineer, Jerry Wong, last year, but had never heard them play before.

What was also completely hilarious was the fact that last month, planetross and I discovered that we both knew Jerry. What are the odds?

When Dorin and I arrived at The Cactus, we were given the kind of passes that open all the doors! My kind of pass!

After a few Mojitos that cost the equivalent of the skin of my bottom (yo, Glass Cactus! $10 for a midget Mojito might work in New York, but you sit in Grapevine, Texas, give me a break!), the concert started.

I was a little concerned about being able to make my way to the front of the stage to take photographs, but Dorin told me to just shove my pass in people’s face and scream at them. So that’s what I did and it was successful.

The Man himself, Mike Reno who left his hair band home, thank goodness.

Bass player, Spider Sinnaeve

On drums, Matt Frenette

Doug Johnson on Keyboard

Very photogenic Paul Dean on guitar

Out of sight, Jerry Wong, sound engineer, grey eminence

Matt Frenette loves to make crazy faces when he plays

It’s very entertaining.

Paul and Spider being compadres

Mike Reno, hamming it up just for me! The power of the Pass!

Doug Johnson who briefly left the band but just could not stay away

Mike Reno who should not play with bleach when he does the laundry

Paul Dean, totally feeling it

Spider being very cool

The Kid is Hot Tonight

After a few encores and a ton of autographs, the members of the band wrap it up. The music switches to Kanye West’s Gold Digger (which is the song I used to play every morning at the clinic before opening to rally the troops.) I turn my attention to the people on the dance floor.

Do I really need to comment on this very religious person? I did not think so.

A couple feeling rather amorous. On Gold Digger?!?

It is time to go backstage to eat the food of the musicians and go get all the secret information about planetross.

Jerry on a box. He is in a band called “Broken condom Babies”, the best band name ever.

Dorin and Jerry. The song “Dorin” from the Old 97’s is named after her, which is quite an achievement.

This is Bob. Bonjour Bob! Bob is the drum tech. He is VERY nice.

Finally after all the gear is loaded, I manage to get Jerry Wong’s attention for five minutes and grill him about planetross. Jerry had spent two weeks at his house in Japan when he played some concerts with Kelly Pettit and Jerry was very willing to dispense enthusiastic information about food he ate with them. Apparently, the 7-11 close to the house of Cheese sells the most delicious sandwiches called Nikuman. After imparting this absolutely vital piece of information, Jerry seems more preoccupied with talking to Bob than spilling the beans about our fellow blogger.

In the end, I really have not learned much about planetross. Just that a wanker apparently he is not, and also that he had a lawnmower that looked like a toy (which is really quite surprising, really!), but now he has an improved model which cuts a inch of grass wider than the former one. I wanted dirt. I got grass. The story of my life.

On the long drive back to Dallas, Dorin and I get Happy Meals. It is late but I am still feeling quite perky.

A few hours later, the alarm rings in a perfect rendition of For whom The Bell Tolls. I understand about “workin’ for the week-end”, but I really need “a hair of the dog.” None will be had. I wanted to comment on Pat Coakley’s post about photography, but I have not been able to put two ideas together all day long. Honestly, at 2 pm, I called it quits and went back to bed.

Dorin is not a very good influence on me. I should hang out with her more.

Kidney Transplant Slacker Gets Wings

In 2003, Matt received the gift of a spanking new kidney from his sister. In a rather upsetting turn of event, he began developing health issues about six months ago. Instead of opting to lead a productive life just like everybody else, Matt stopped working and started swelling. Inexplicably.

During his leave of absence, he got laid off… It was his pharmacist who indirectly informed him of his dismissal. The company had forgotten to tell him. Oops. And so he continued to leisurely swell…

Last week, Matt flew to St. Louis for a test to determine the cause of the problem, got a nice catheter into the artery right by the neck, enjoyed the company of a lovely white trash mythomaniac roomate, then went home without any answers.

He is my favorite kidney recipient EVER even though he is a total slacker who posts only once every blue moon and is at constant risk of being yanked out of my blogroll for failure to get with the program.

Matt enjoys going to Hooters. He alleges it’s all about their Hot Wings. I believe this is tantamount to saying you buy Playboy for the articles but who would I be to contradict a swollen kidney recipient?

Instead I decided to be pro-active in my support and drove to the local Hooters. I explained the need for Hot Wings photographs, and the girls were only too happy to help out. So Matt, here is to you:









Brittany and Heather


Voila mon petit Matt. I’ve done my share to help the nephrology cause. I hope these mere wings inspired you and helped dickrease your swelling 😉 Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.

note to my clients: This random act of kindness was all my idea but the content of this post was entirely devised by my evil alter ego nataliewithnoh.

double note: To all of you who access my blog by searching the terms “nathalie boobs”, I have updated the tags for variation; you may now submit “nathalie gazongas” for your pleasure.

triple note to planetross: I’ve decided my emulation of you should start by the tail end of things.

phlanetrosswithanh is me but improved, Dammit!

Not my habit to post anything without photographs but I have just read something that made me contort with laughters. Responding to a challenge from artist extraordinaire Pat Coakley, crazy whimsical planetross saw the world through my eyes. Unlike me, the man does not need glasses. He got me pat down. What do you do with yourself for the rest of your life when the person emulating you is funnier than you are? You go curl up in a little corner and you shrivel to death.

Check out his “Numata Festival 2008: phlanetrosswithanh!” and if you are unfamiliar with the blog, I suggest you spend time reading previous posts. The man is a breath of fresh air… and an absolute goof ball.

Not all Photos Belong in the Family Album

People are supposed to learn from their mistakes. I don’t.

Once, I photographed a gorgeous male model without realizing his fly was wide open, a tribute to my purity if I may say. One might think that, considering the disastrous experience, I would make a conscious effort to check out these things before the beginning of a session… but call it whatever you will, manners perhaps, I can’t bring myself to cast a prolonged stare on my subject’s crotch.

My hard drives are full of images which never make it to the family albums of my clients. These are some of the reasons:

Charlotte and her stallion. I did not notice a thing until I saw the images on my computer screen. I had to photoshop the offensive member out of all the portraits. By the time I was done, I had had enough equine intimacy to last me a lifetime and the bad boy got castrated.

Nothing makes a guy more uncomfortable than being asked to get closer to his friend for a photograph. He first looks at you with incredulity: “You want me tooo… er, really?” When he realizes you are dead serious, he obtemperates resignedly, contorting his body in all kinds of ways not to make body contact with his buddy. Both men have a frozen look on their faces. Disconnected. Unusable.

The subject escapes.

The child suddenly feels compelled to emulate Bill Murray.

Tears? Not for the family album. When I look at my own childhood photographs, It seems as if I never cried. Always cheerful, always smiling.

I think it’s a ploy. Parents engage in a concerted effort not to leave traces behind. Then, much later, when confronted with their sullen teenager, they can always evoke the happier times when their brood’s sole emotion appeared to be one of complete content. “What happened to you? You used to be such a jovial little kid!”

The Boozer. No matter how artistic the image, if it involves a bottle of alcohol and a rather enthusiastic little child, it just never makes the cut.

When your clients get arrested for disorderly conduct, chances are they will not want to be reminded of the sad turn of event. Ok, ok, this one was a pretend arrest. The cop got called for noise disturbance and I asked him to arrest my client for giggles.

The case of the “oeil qui dit merde a l’autre.” Parents frown upon including photographs of cross-eyed children in the album.

Slightly deranged expressions. The above photograph represents the typical look of a child asked to open his eyes a little more. I generally keep these to myself.

Little Jeanne expressing herself will remain in my archives.

So will Joanna and her Freedom Fry.

Meet Gladys, Mr. Shinn’s 89 year-old mother-in-law. Mr. Shinn had decided to re-do a bathroom in his house, just days before the arrival of out-of-town guests. Complete obliteration.

The last time Mr. Shinn had taken upon himself to renovate a room, the project had lasted 18 excruciating months. Threats of imminent divorce proceedings had finally brought the project to completion. I thought the surprise portrait of Gladys, Belle of New Orleans, should be taken in the brand new area of contention. In the end, the Shinns opted for a much more traditional portrait.

Ah family portraits! This one was never an option.

Neither was this one.

The first shot. Never quite makes it to the mantle.

Ultimately, I am guilty too. This photograph represents my nephew expressing his ardent love for his girlfriend, and I chose not to include it in my mother’s 75th birthday surprise album. I guess I’m not a romantic after all. Bitterness is a terrible thing.

Mr. Shinn Takes me to an Obama Rally

My client Mr. Shinn calls me on my cell, rudely interrupting my nap time on a St. Croix beach. He has the voice of someone left on the continent, someone desperately in need of a vacaycay. Stressed out. Edgy. Caffeinated.

“Yo, Nat, What are you doing Saturday morning?”

“Oh Mr. Shinn, I don’t know. Probably getting the sleep I have not been able to find on this island.”

“No you are not. I am taking you to an Obama rally.”

“For real?” I reply slightly incredulous. I knew the senator was scheduled to speak in Dallas on Thursday while I was still on the island (our secretaries must have not communicated efficiently in regard to our respective schedules), but I had no idea about Saturday’s speaking engagement.

I am a politics nut. I work from home and listens to MSNBC all day long. Right, left, center, center right, center left, I’m all ears. With certain limits though. I do not indulge in commentators who advocate the use of little loofah things in the shower nor do I pay any attention to commentators who must subject to random drug testing. An Obama rally? I was stoked (the expression is a remnant of too much X Games watching.)

Saturday morning, Mr. Shinn picks me up at Starbucks and drives me downtown to City Hall. I look like Tintin the reporter. I’m equipped. Recorder? Check. Camera? Check. Chicken lens? Check. Uber Sport lens? Check.

Approaching the area, I am surprised at the lack of traffic, the lack of security, the abundance of parking spots, and a subdued crowd of ten lost souls on the plaza.

I landed at 2 am that same morning, have had three hours of sleep tops, and it does not look as if Mr. Obama and I are going to have a conversation over tea and crumpets any time soon. Mr. Shinn looks rather sheepish. He goes to investigate.

THERE IS AN OBAMA RALLY! Except… Sans Monsieur Obama. The speech he gave Thursday night will now be replayed on loudspeakers in-its-entirety. Wooptifriggindoo!

I look at Mr. Shinn. I look at the beautiful Henry Moore sculptures on the plaza. The man owes me. I point a vengeful finger:

“Mr. Shinn, go love Henry!”

Mr. Shinn took me to an Obama rally and all I got was this lousy photograph.

Beauty Fades – Ugly Lasts Forever

Long before Amelie’s traveling gnome, and long before Phoebe Buffay’s Smelly Cat, there was… an object of rare distinction which kept a handful of Dallasites entertained all throughout the nineties.

Once upon a time I fulfilled the duties of Petit Big Cheese at an animal hospital. I got to be the Cheese which suited my Napoleonic complex to a T, and I got to enforce Big Big Cheese’s unpopular policies which felt singularly against nature. Neither here, nor there. My management philosophy incorporated a good deal of prank components. I believed that keeping the troops silly entertained once in a while fostered camaraderie and generated a better climate in the work place.

Mr. A, a patron of the practice, seemed to all like a man of irreproachable taste. Always dressed impeccably and exuding sophistication, he simply exemplified class. Sadly, his beloved kitty succumbed to cancer despite our best efforts.

A week after the cat’s tragic demise, Mr. A. showed up at the practice bearing a gift for the Big Big Cheese. She unwrapped the beautiful silk paper, opened the box, delicately removed the soft tissue papers and came face to face with this:

Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat

Big Big Cheese paused. Was Mr. A. playing a trick on her or was he actually serious? She opted for erring on the side of caution and thanked him profusely for his beautiful present. He told her that the cat’s green glass eyes reminded him of those of his belated cat. Unthinkable acts originate from unbearable grief.

Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat lived at the hospital for years. We re-gifted it amongst ourselves at each birthday. By the time another celebration came about, we would have completely forgotten about the ugly beast and were always surprised when we opened the box.

Nothing could instantly relax the atmosphere of a stressful day as well as Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat.

A nurse who had a bad day would monitor the boarding webcam and suddenly the yellow cat would appear out of nowhere.

Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat would get x-rayed and the film would be left on the viewing box of an exam room just before a doctor stepped in with a client.

We would find him in the cage of the dog that barked incessantly and the unnerving situation would be instantly diffused.

He would help with difficult feline pre-anesthesia procedures.

Our electrician contractor even caught him once fornicating with Piglet in the wiring closet.

After 9/11, Ugly Yellow Cat morphed into an extremely patriotic creature and began to exhibit disturbing anti-Old Europe sentiments.

I decided to take it home to Belgium for Christmas. I figured it would be interesting to see how many people I could convince to pose with the ugliest yellow plastic cat that ever existed. At the airport, he posed with the shoe shiner.

He also posed with the National Guard which was a bit of a tour de force, don’t you think?

Once in the plane, he had to meet the captain. I don’t think that right after 9/11, Ugly Yellow Plastic Cats were supposed to visit the cockpit, so I’ve somewhat concealed the identity of the aviator in the photograph.

Brussels unfortunately did not do much for Yellow Ugly Plastic Cat. The snow and gloomy gray skies bore on his soul like a ton of bricks.

We emigrated to the Island of Porquerolles in the south of France, and in the sun Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat thrived.

We went to the Vigiles, and he posed one last time with the Mediterranean sea as backdrop, before heading to Nice to catch our plane back to Freedom land.

All good things must come to an end. Back at the hospital, Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat became a bit of a nuisance. Big Big Cheese thought we spent way too much time fooling around with it. The straw that broke the Cheese’s rind happened a day where stress was at its peak, and, out of sheer hysteria, we dangled the poor Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat in front of Big Big Cheese’s surveillance monitor.


The statuette was retired to a drawer. Years later, when I left the practice, I could not help but catnap Ugly Yellow Plastic Cat. I get attached to uglicious objects. Today, he happily resides on my mantel with white glow-in-the-dark gnome. It is a lovely conversation piece.

While my last wishes do not include internment with the plastic monstrosity, Ugly Plastic Yellow Cat remains a prized possession. A symbol of a decade of fun in a tensed work environment. There were many other pranks along the years including a male stripper I hired to pose as a deranged new client of very very conservative Big Big Cheese. I don’t think he would have fitted on my mantel quite as nicely though.