I really need to learn how to monitor what comes out of my mouth.
In most people, it seems like the pathway between their brain and their mouth is a small, narrow tube with several filters and checkpoints along the way.
I was not born with a small, narrow tube.
I was not born with filters or checkpoints.
I have a gigantic, 8-lane highway with no speed limit. Thoughts zoom past each other at hundreds of miles per hour, all jostling and crowding each other in an attempt to come out of my mouth first.
I am known for many things.
Tact and delicacy are not among them.
The other day I was having dinner with a couple of friends.
Actually, since I might as well be honest, I called up my friends and basically begged them to invite me to dinner. Even though they already had dinner plans with several couples I’ve never met, they still invited me over.
How dumb of them. They ought to know better by now.
I managed to keep my foot out of my mouth for most of the evening. I made bland, polite conversation with people, and laughed in all the right places.
That is, until dinner.
As the table conversation ebbed and flowed, eventually the topic turned to the pets. After a few funny stories, the conversation took a more depressing turn. Apparently, one of the couples at the table have a beloved pet rabbit. Apparently, this rabbit is one o fthose house-trained bunnies that runs around and has the use of the entire house and does his business in a litter box. And apparently, their pet bunny is the rabbit version of Houdini.
Unfortunately, no matter how they tried to keep him in the house, Mr. Nibbles kept escaping. The couple would leave for work and every day,without fail, they come home to find their beloved pet rabbit grazing in their front yard. After a couple of weeks of sleuthing, they finally found the bunny’s escape route.
High-fiving each other, they plugged the hole up tightly, and all was well.
That is, until about a week later, when they came home to find the bunny, YET AGAIN, laying on their lawn. Unfortunately, Mr. Nibbles wasn’t doing so well. They’re not sure what happened (car? Cat? Jump from a high window?), but somehow the Mr. Nibbles had become partially paralyzed. Although he seemed to be in no discomfort, Mr. Nibbles’ back end no longer works. He drags himself around the house with his little bunny paws, back end trailing uselessly behind him.
Except for me.
“If he’s paralyzed, how is he using the bathroom?” I asked in a chipper, your-poor-paralyzed-bunny-doesn’t-bother-me tone of voice. “How is he able to make it into the litter box if he can only drag himself by his front legs?”
Mr. Owner answered sadly, “He can’t make it. Poor Mr. Nibbles tries, but he can’t make it over the edge. It’s sad. We have to bathe him daily now.”
The entire table made sad noises, murmuring sympathy. Poor, poor, poor Mr. Nibbles. Poor Mr. Nibbles owners.
Except for me.
“So he’s got no bladder control? He’s just going whenever he feels like it, all over your house now? You guys aren’t keeping him in a cage? Rabbit pee is really hard to get out.” I shook my head somberly, taking a big bite of food. Poor, poor Mr. Carpet.
Mr. Owner’s mouth tightened slightly. “He can’t help himself. He’s paralyzed. We have to carry him to food and water, or he’d die.” He heaved a big sigh, and pushed his food away. Obviously Mr. Nibbles’ predicament was ruining his appetite. He reached over and grabbed his wife’s hand in a show of support. “We did some research, and we’re thinking of building him a little cart.”
From around the table, there was a general murmuring of positive support.
“We think it’s really going to help. We’ve done the research, and all we would need to do is build a tiny little sling for his back end. With the wheels, Mr. Nibbles could pull himself around the house, just like the old days.” He and his wife shared a quavering smile.
The murmuring around the table grew in volume. Oh, yes. Yes. What a wonderful idea. How heartwarming. You know, someone had even seen a documentary about a poor, paralyzed Chihuahua who had lived many, happy years with a wheelchair sling of his very own. How sweet. How caring. What a lovely idea. What a lucky rabbit, Mr. Nibbles was.
And somewhere, in the middle of all that positive affirmation, my brain vomited out another random thought. Obediently, my mouth began to flap.
“You know, if you did that, you could probably find him a home on Craigslist. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would want a paralyzed rabbit with a cart. It’s got that whole tug-at-the-heartstrings aspect to it. Just take some cute photos of him wheeling himself around and you’d have tons of people calling. Heck, you could even sell him for a decent chunk of money, recoup the cart costs and get yourselves a healthy rabbit.”
From around the table there was a stunned silence, which gave me a disastrous few seconds to think up the real clincher:
“Heh. Just make sure you don’t sell him to any homes that have cats. Heh-heh. Meals on Wheels. Heh. Heh.”
I looked up from the steak I’d been cutting to find myself on the receiving end of 8 identical stares of disgust.
Oh. Hmmm. Maybe I should have kept that last part to myself?
Stupid brain. Stupid mouth. Stupid lack of tact. This is why I don’t leave the house anymore. I can’t be trusted in polite society.