Cats and Dogs and them other Critters

Cats and Dogs and them other Critters | Illustration by Asher J. Klassen

Let me precede the following by stating that I once had a lovely cat named Porsche. I loved her dearly but nowhere near as dearly as my wife and kids.

There! I have said it and I am glad. Despite the likely wrath of the equal love opportunity types – the excessive animal lovers.

The other day a young lady appeared on network television. Her fiancé bid her goodbye forever after she cancelled a vacation with him because her dog needed care at home. Whereupon she promptly let the world know that while she can always find another boyfriend, she’ll never find a dog like this one. Now that is a bit excessive, isn’t it? I mean even for this Age of the Excessive.

Aw, what the heck, I’ve stuck my neck out his far, so why not go all the way? I strongly suspect that many excessive animal lovers find it easier to love silent animals than mates and relatives with opinions.  Of course, I leave out the blind and elderly who depend on dogs and cats for independence and companionship. Still, even in their case of I am not so sure if animals nowadays don’t fill a role filled by humans in earlier times. Before the ME generation and more selfish interests took over.

Can’t help feeling that all those wonderful things which are happening to animals nowadays may be happening at the expense of human relationships. In the U.S., a country that spends 12 billion dollars on foreign aid, three times as much is spent on animals.

Sort of makes you think about our priorities in the affluent West, doesn’t it?


Introduction to Drabek’s Glossas

According to one wag the two signs of old age are:

a. the inability to stay with a thought.

b. the inability to leave that thought.

As a well-established octogenarian, I have been warned of the dangers. In this collection, I have tried to avoid them by limiting myself to one-page essays, which I call glossas. I feel that brevity has become a lost art in this age when so many people live in constant fear of being misunderstood. We tend to explain and explain — God, how we explain! And since our emails often abbreviate only words, not thoughts, I consider this to be a pioneering effort.

My glossas deal with some of the things I feel qualified to comment upon and quite a few I don’t. That too is downright revolutionary, because until now it has been largely assumed that such things as conflict avoidance and pathology should be left to the experts. But let’s be honest about it: that kind of approach has left us with two world wars and something called 9/11. And we’re still without a cure for the common cold.

This volume then breaks entirely new ground in that it explores home remedies. And since the paper’s getting short, let’s begin.

Jan Drabek

Jan Drabek


The octogenarian Jan Drabek has been an ambassador in Africa, Chief of Protocol, author, Vancouver High School teacher, a graduate student in southern India, a radio announcer in Germany, a sailor aboard a US aircraft carrier, and a failed naval aviator trainee.