Sunday, April 06, 2014

So I Bought a Little House Lion...

Taming HouseLions

.....So I bought a little HouseLion.  All my friends had one, it seemed.
HouseLions were popular for a reason.  They were very convenient in going about your daily business.  Having a HouseLion sometimes meant you could get twice as much done, especially if you had a lot of pesky-type errands to accompish.  Girls looked at you with that special look when they found out you had a HouseLion.  If you didn't know what that special look meant, then a HouseLion was totally wasted on the likes of you.
HouseLions were great on transport
     Now, some of you may object, saying that a house is no place for a lion, that cages are not good either, most people would just wash their hands of lions altogether, saying that lions and people should not mix.  Women, in particular, with their typical fears of everything from spiders to cheezy horror films, seemed to regard them with a mixture of terror and awe.  Remember, some of these girls were the same ones who had been eyeing us when they saw us going down the street with our new HouseLion, so this kind of ambivalence was only to be expected.  Guys with HouseLions tended to end up with the kind of women who had the ability to tolerate the HouseLion as part of their life, and the more fanatical scaredycats just went out of their life completely.

Now, the fans of HouseLions insisted that this is not the case, that HouseLions were made for people, and that people just needed to be careful, and there would be no problem.  At first, I guess I was one of the people sitting on the fence of this issue; it seemed to me that there were both safe HouseLions and unsafe HouseLions.  At the time, it seemed like a little HouseLion was going to be safer than a big one, and they were cheaper, so I bought a little one.  In fact, most of my friends were quite happy with their house lions.

HouseLions had all changed our lives, and we were proud of that fact.  So proud, in actuality, that we thought that it made us belong to a defacto brotherhood.  A club of sorts, where HouseLions were welcome to prowl around together , while we  drank and talked and laughed as if there were no tomorrow.  We laughed at all the people without HouseLions as if they were some sort of inferior species, and that we, the lucky ones, could see more clearly than they that a Life without HouseLions was not a life worth living.  Some of us even began wearing what looked like Clubhouse uniforms...

In fact, so zesty was this thirst for membership, that many of us drank deeply of this new, intoxicating idea.  Some of us began to include HouseLions as part of our core identity, as part of who we were as men.  It filled us up and made us into an improved and better man than all the rest.  But of course it did not end there, it never does.  When we saw others in the club get rid of their tiny HouseLions and get larger, sleeker, sexier ones, we envied them and counted the days until we could get our own.  It was considered the ultimate acheivement to wait until someone was leaving town for good, and then to buy their great big HouseLion at a discount.   All of of the HouseLion upsizing was accompanied by a new change of thinking; in fact, it was the tinier HouseLions that were more dangerous and difficult to domesticate; in reality, it was the bigger and more expensive ones who were easy and not really so dangerous.  True, they were bigger, but they just moved slower and so you (probably) had time to avert a disaster in case of the unthinkable happening....
     All of this was really difficult to verify or even discuss properly, partly because the statistics were so unavailable to us, or because it was sort of taboo for us to talk about it when in the presence of HouseLionClub members.  In fact, there didn't seem to be a reason to bring it up because everyone knew it was a really rare occurrence, anyways, and that there were other things more important to talk about, like who the latest HouseLionClub member was, and where he got his HouseLion, and whether it was a good deal or not, and whether it was the right kind of HouseLion for his lifestyle, what his wife thought about the HouseLion in the House, and so on....
     By this time, I was on my third, bigger and better HouseLion, and pretty proud of myself.  All my friends had either gotten bigger and better ones, and were also now higher status in the HouseLionClub, both as a result of their HouseLion status, and also the fact they had been members for so long.  Every now and then someone would drop quietly out, usually because they got married, or had kids, or were doing the usual thing of leaving town for good.  Sometimes people would drop out so quietly, that no one would notice.  We'd be sitting around the HouseLionClub and then someone would say, "Oh, I haven't seen B around with that HouseLion of his for some time now, does anyone know if he's still around?"  These sorts of observations were met with dead silence.  Sometimes, it might have been genuinely because nobody had seen B, but I think a lot of times, we were contemplating the sliver of the possibility that his HouseLion had gotten wild, and had gotten hold of him, and that was so terrible nobody wanted to go there.
     I remember the first time one of the HouseLion club members had his animal turn on him, and it was really something to remember.  Nobody could believe it; he was a strong, stalwart man in the prime of his life, no enemies of anykind, and so no one could believe his HouseLion had gone and done a thing like that.  It just made no sense, and what was worse, the memory of it stuck like a fart in an elevator, for years it was hard to go out in Public with your HouseLion without remembering that this was the same species that had done poor old T in.
Just an abstraction...
     The second time it happened, we all almost laughed it off.  It was a tiny little HouseLion that was responsible, hardly housebroken at all, and so the guy was fairly asking for it.  Sure, it was horrible and all, just not horrible AND senseless like the first, larger and shinier HouseLion had broken with the ranks.  Somehow the second HouseLion incident was easier to swallow, like a chaser at a bar.  The whole incident became abstracted, just as we had gradually come to abstract HouseLions themselves, they were no longer domesticated wild beasts, in fact they were just the idea of doing such a thing.  Most of us couldn't even draw a realistic picture of one if our life depended on it.
     The Third time a HouseLion attacked, it really took the wind out of our sails.  After telling a whole meeting of the elders of the HouseLionClub that I quit, I stormed out of the club and began making plans to get rid of my HouseLion in a humane, but orderly fashion.  The other HouseLionClub members looked at me as if I was Rasputin attempting to strangle the life out of the Czar.  It was simply not good form to renounce membership in the HouseLionClub. People did that quietly; they went away out of town, or they made quiet plans to relinquish their HouseLion on Craigslist, and then conveniently forgot to get another one.  But it wasn't the fact that three is a magic number, or even a number at all, it could have been three thousand.  It was when I received a photo of the incident that it really made me SEE for the first time what an Actual HouseLion looked like from a HouseLion perspective.  All this time I thought the HouseLions had been this separate animal, and only then did I realize that not only did it become part of your identity, it actually ATE you, from the inside out, and then was usually so hungry that it would eat everyone else around you as well.
RIP Lex.