Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Rachel's Blog

there are many reasons i love rachel maddow.  her political views are insightful, sharp, and uncompromising, for one thing--okay, the main thing.  but her particular sense of humor is also infused with an unflappable love of life:  she can be cynical and ironic, but it's always clear that she wants the planet to survive because she finds it so much fun.

on yesterday's blog, she posted a piece by one of the people who works on her show, tricia mckinney. i had never heard of mckinney before, but this tells me i would love her.

mckinney had been out walking, and she saw on a milkweed leaf a small monarch caterpillar. [i assume she knows her caterpillars well enough to identify their types, so i'm already impressed as hell]. on the walk back, she saw that the creature had been joined by another one, also a monarch caterpillar.  she took them both home and is keeping them in shoebox, safe from the elements, for the few days it will take them to turn into butterflies.

but she has not found the right names for her short-term pets, and, finding disturbing, she posted a request for suggestions.   there were well over 100 responses when i discovered the post, ranging from laurel and hardy to thelma and louise and, from a shakespearean, the loveliest:  viola and ceasario. another, picking up on the fact that they are being morphed during a hurricane, suggested windy and stormy.

can you imagine any other politico turning her blog over to a colleague for a caterpillar-naming crisis? [and can you understand why some wistful fan suggested keith and rachel for the names?]

my own contribution was woodhull and clalflin, which i have been imagining for years in case i ever again have 2 cats.  which i won't--because of my travels and my asthma, i won't be owning cats again, or any other pets. but i still love the idea.

actually, i once had a pair of pets similar to mckinney's, though much less regal.  years ago, i walked into my bathroom to see 2 moths comfortably settled on my plastic shower curtain. i shook the curtain, and they fluttered a tiny protest but refused to move. i took my shower, which discombobulated them not a bit. and after a few days it was clear that this was their home, in which i was to be tolerated but not welcomed.   so i named them.

this was in my semi-separatist youth, and i called them butch and roland.  it was important that they be male since my cat liebnitz liked nibbling on bugs, and i would be less  upset about it if he ate male moths.  but he didn't, and they stayed around all summer.  i got in the habit of greeting them whenever i came into the bathroom,  and though they never responded, i think they came to like me.

when the weather changed, they vanished.  i missed them. then the next year, they were back.  or so i argued, when my friends insisted otherwise.  these were moths, not homing pigeons, they said contemptuously. and besides, moths have a  short lifespan.  butch and roland were in moth heaven,  eternally munching on celestial wool, they said. moreover, these 2 didn't even look like butch and roland.

that was true; they didn't.  but so what?  people change over time; why shouldn't moths? so butch had been overeating and gaining weight and roland had dyed his wings.  they were entitled.

every year, if i recall rightly, butch and roland came back to my shower curtain, always sporting a new look.  when eventually i moved, they stayed behind, and i haven't seen them since.  but mckinney's tale of her monarch caterpillars brought them back to my mind.  i hope she finds the right name for her pets; i hope she sees them transform, and that they fly back to visit her from time to time.  she is, after all, being a very faithful friend to them.


Jim said...

I woulda suggested Rosenstern and Guildencrantz, but that could have led to them being dead...

karen lindsey said...

someone did suggest r&g. the list is fun to read.actually, the whole thing is.....

Jacob Matthew Barela said...

This put a big smile on my face. Thanks!

karen lindsey said...

you're welcome!