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National Editorials & Columns

Lord of the Ring

Nothing fuels the curiosity of my spastic cat Thumper more than shiny metal objects. Thumper, a Maine coon mongrel, has a profound penchant for pilfering important items from around the household.

Usually these things are common kitty cat eccentricities -- a bread tie here, a milk cap there. The bread might eventually get moldy and the milk is going to quickly turn sour. It ruins my chances of having French toast sometimes, yes, but that’s all it ruins. Life must go on, even in a French toastless world.

Every now and again, when I move the couch to sweep underneath, I will discover feline treasure troves. I’m talking the cat equivalent of cracking into King Tut’s tomb.

Dozens and dozens of pint-sized objects like marbles, dice, lighters, batteries, peppermint candies, Scrabble tiles, balls of tin foil and (as weird as it seems) a remote control for a television that doesn’t exist any longer.

Of all the random playthings Thumper steals or tries to eat, he is mostly interested in my shiny silver wedding ring. To me my wedding represents not only commitment, but also the most money I will ever spend on a piece of jewelry for myself. 

To Thumper the ring is worthless. It only has two redeeming qualities to his limited feline senses: It’s shiny and looks fun to bat around on the ground.

I am a forgetful guy. Honestly, if I wasn’t forgetful then I wouldn’t be finding remote controls under my couch. For this very reason, I rarely take off my wedding ring, and when I do it’s only for two occasions, either I’m playing guitar or banjo or playing violent video games.

The other day I had taken my ring off, rested it on the coffee table and went about the business of computer-animated mayhem. After the oven buzzer kept buzzing I eventually went into the kitchen. I was gone less than 30 seconds, a minute tops.

That’s all it took for Thumper to jealously seize the ring, as depicted below in the following dramatization:

“Must have the precious!” alter-ego Thumper meowed in a raspy voice as he crept closer toward the unattended ring. “We wants it. We needs it.”

“But master is my friend,” normal Thumper protested.

“You don’t have any friends,” Thumper’s alter-ego responded begrudgingly. “Nobody likes you!”

Thumper jumped up on the coffee table and with one furry paw struck the ring with the velocity of a hockey slap shot. I was one room away when I heard the sound.

I distinctly remember hearing a few metal tings, the sound of a coin rolling across the floor and then a secondary attack by that scoundrel Thumper.

It all seemed like it was in slow motion. I remember bellowing, “No-oo-oo,” in such a loud voice that Thumper made like a banana and split. I scoured the floor for an hour to no avail, searching every nook and cranny. I searched and I searched until I became aggravated. I briefly wondered if Thumper had consumed the ring. Where else could it be?

I found Thumper hiding behind the shower curtain, which in theory is a great place for a cat to hide. Except the shower curtain was clear. I quickly deduced that even a moron like Thumper would not eat a piece of men’s jewelry.

Out of options, I decided to recreate the incident in hopes of gathering additional clues to the whereabouts of my ring. I placed a marble on the coffee table where my ring had been, made sure Thumper noticed it, and then left the room to spy.

The good news is the science experiment worked. Based on the trajectory of the marble and the direction it went once it hit the floor I was able to better hone in on my search area. 

Unfortunately, the marble went in the direction of a large heating duct in the floor. After several attempts of blindly reaching into the dark, spider-ridden heating hole, my fingers came across the familiar shape of a ring. 

I had finally found my ring — and about a dozen bread ties.

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