Today I feel like really celebrating my Gen X-ness. Not sure why...normally I feel more Xennial than anything, but today I just feel super in-touch with being born in the 70s. I keep thinking about that stretch in the mid 1990s when marketing & creative production really missed us...like the movie "Airheads." You ever really think about that movie?
You had this whole sort of scramble where music and movie producers 1) were still kind of thinking that arena rock was where it was at and 2) slowly kind of seeing this "grunge" thing or IDK what now?!? and finally 3) failing to grasp that hip hop was becoming more popular across nearly all audiences...and so you wind up with "Airheads," a movie about two early Gen-Xers (and one late boomer, Steve Buscemi) dressed like backup dancers at an Alice in Chains concert holding up a radio station to get their cock-rock music played on-air.
And then there was the video game "Revolution X," A game tied in with I shit you not the band Aerosmith who had just released "Get a Grip" and found unprecedented commercial success...surely this was a band with their finger on the pulse! But I think if we'd tracked these things at the time we would have seen that it was mostly boomers buying that album. As a result, watching Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and...those other guys all sort of pop up in a grimy dystopian rail-shooter in which you had to rescue peroxide-haired bikini babes while a faceless voice imitating Public Enemy's Professor Grif told us that "Revolution X is in effect!" seemed off-brand for everyone involved.
So really I don't think Gen X got main-stream entertainment that really reflected its values until Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is one of the reasons i keep re-watching that series. Joss Whedon's problematic woman-hatin' feminism aside, it's generally a show about people who are unprepared, under-equipped, and under-supported trying to do a job they don't want to do when they would clearly rather be smoking cloves and listening to Mazzy Star in their bedrooms. Before Buffy, we made do with MST3K and The Ben Stiller show on pirated betamax cassettes.
And that's where I'm at today - staring out a window in Miami, dressed like Seinfeld, thinking about Seattle, and both confused and excited by the Internet. In other words, I feel pretty trapped in 1994. Send Snackwells and Crystal Pepsi.
Very sad to say goodbye to my perfect magical cat-boy today, Mickey the Cat.
Mickey (Mickey Mickopolis Von Mickelstein the Third, Esquire), came to me about 17 years ago. I'm pretty sure it was 2002. I was sitting on the front porch with drinking cold green grenades of my beloved cat's namesake: Mickey's fine malt liquor.
This was back in Detroit at 5026 Commonwealth, my much-beloved Detroit headquarters where I lived just before and during my undergrad at Wayne State. I lived there with the Sinister Ninj aand Hoo-barth at the time, and at first I was all like *grrrr no pets because grrr* but then came that warm summer night on the stoop, and along came Mickey.
Mickey was following the big neighborhood tomcat who all the neighbors had years ago very imaginatively named "Big Tom." Mickey was sort of an apprentice wild cat, I suppose, but they say that cats choose their owners, and Mickey chose to hang out with me and Mike up on the porch. I tried to give him some sort of food or *something* but the best I could do was a little lump of cheese, which he didn't eat...but he appreciated the gesture and so he moved in with us.
Everyone in the house was surprised to see that apparently my grinch-heart had grown three sizes that day, and I announced that we had a cat. Amy took him to get vaccinated and snipped, I bought a litter box, food, and all the rest, and there we were.
We were soon joined by Jemmons - this becomes a significant story point later. Amandabadon also moved in with us, but that's less germane to the story. The lot of us lived pretty happily together in the house from 2002 until 2006. Mickey enjoyed being an indoor-outdoor cat, sometimes without us knowing. We kept the windows open in the summer because we had no AC, and one of the windows had no screen. He would sneak out onto the porch roof, jump down, cat around, and then be waiting for us by the front door first thing in the morning.
He did typical cat stuff like tear ass around the apartment in the middle of the night. He was an absolute terror to mice and birds (which would find their way into the basement and attic, respectively). He also liked to climb up on the big tall wooden doors, where he would get stuck and yell for us to help him down. He was brave enough to climb all the way up there, but too chicken to jump down.
Fast forward to 2006 - I graduated from Wayne and went to UNLV for my MFA. Jon took Mickey with him, and (along with Bridget) t ook amazing, excellent care of him for about the next decade. I was out in Vegas, and couldn't have a cat - then I moved back and just couldn't quite get my situation together enough to have a place of my own and to keep a cat. Jon and Bridget were happy to take care of him, so it went.
Then, in 2017,he was back with me. Bridget and Jon had a baby, and Mickey is basically an enormous baby himself and needs tons of attention, so we were reunited. The rest of the story is pretty well documented on my facebook, Instagram, and all the rest: he lived with me at The Struggle in Dearborn Heights (thanks Christos Michalakis), he stayed with us at Ambrosha's mom's place (Thanks Julie Pallazola), and then he moved down to Florida with us.
Ultimately, old age had its way. I knew back in Detroit that he had kidney disease - a common malady among cats, and for some reason, domestic longhairs especially. We made sure to give him as much happiness as we could knowing that this day was coming.
Six months ago Mickey had a serious health issue - his kidneys were essentially beginning to fail. We changed him over to a specially formulated prescription diet, and he perked back up some, but he became increasingly lethargic. He developed arthritis, and was clearly starting to feel pain. He stopped grooming himself and spent most of his time in his cat bed, venturing out to eat & drink, and to occasionally socialize for scratches and pets.
This last week, he had another episode. I had talked to my vet after the first one and decided that, if the severe issue recurred, then we would make the necessary pallative arrangements. It was a very, very hard decision, but it would be selfish to keep him any longer.
The veterinarian gave us potent pain medication to manage his symptoms. We gave him lots of food and all the sink drinks he could handle. Today, we fed him his favorites: roasted chicken and canned tuna. We took him for a leashed walk outside, and then we went to the vet's office.
In the end, he had a very good, long life. He was well-loved, and brought a lot of joy to everyone who met him. I will miss him forever, because he was my sweet dear perfect magical cat-boy.
Goodnight, Mickey the Cat.