The Editor’s Desk: It’s catapalooza time

Watching neighbourhood cats coexist peacefully is a reminder that humans can do the same

A few odds and ends, as March comes in — not quite like a lion, but not a lamb either. A lambion?

Speaking of animals, I recently wrote of a couple of visitors to our back deck: one a cat who’s a regular, the other a raccoon who has not (yet) made a reappearance. Word seems to have got out, however, that our deck is the place to be, because the other day I glanced outside and saw that three cats were sitting there, maintaining a delicate detente.

Our two cats were at the patio door looking out, so for a few minutes it was catapalooza at the Roden household. We were only one cat short of a hockey team, and judging by the meltdown the Canucks recently had against Columbus — blowing a two goal lead with eight minutes to go in the third and losing 5–3 — the cats might have done a better job. They wouldn’t been much good at scoring goals or defending the net, but they would probably have caused enough mayhem to allow the Canucks to limp through the rest of the game with their lead intact.

I haven’t been to a Canucks game for years; the last time I went, someone a few rows above lost control of (or threw) a plate of nachos, which landed too close for comfort. The ticket prices were through the roof then, so I dread to think about what even a seat in the nosebleeds would cost these days. For a fraction of the price I was able to go to a Kamloops Blazers game last November, where the team took care of business with a decisive 10–1 win over Seattle.

To say the crowd was appreciative would be an understatement. I was momentarily disconcerted when the game started and there was no play-by-play commentary, and while some people in the crowd were clearly watching the game live while listening to it on their devices, I just sat back and enjoyed the action. Despite (or perhaps because of) the lopsided result in the Blazers’ favour, a fun time was had by all, and no one had to sell the family silver to be there.

I had to keep reminding myself that many of the players on the ice were still in high school, balancing schoolwork with a demanding practice and game schedule that would by itself tax most people considerably older than them. I don’t know what you were doing at age 16 or 17, but I know that I certainly wasn’t facing anything like that kind of pressure. When I hear any of these young men interviewed I’m consistently amazed by their maturity and thoughtfulness. They have a lot on their young shoulders, within the relatively friendly and small environment of Kamloops. What must the pressure be like on young people who are in the news internationally?

I thought of this the other day when I saw a heartening picture: 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg alongside 22-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who was only 15 when she was shot in the head by the Taliban in retribution for her activism in supporting young girls’ right to an education. Agree or disagree with them, both young women have stood up for what they believe in, often in the face of opposition that ranges from disdain to death threats.

The picture — and the strength of purpose on display — brought to mind a Eurythmics song, with its stirring refrain “Sisters are doin’ it for themselves / Standin’ on their own two feet / And ringin’ on their own bells.” Dishearteningly, however, the photo came at the same time that a cartoon appearing to depict Thunberg being sexually assaulted, and bearing the logo of an Alberta oil company, was being widely circulated.

Apart from being disgusting in its implications, the cartoon is a sure sign that some people really need to take a deep breath, calm down, and think about what they’re doing. If it helps, I have a soothing picture of several cats coexisting in peace and harmony I can send them.

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