A Short Discussion on the Meaning of Life.
Present: Catkins, a cat; Douglas, a dog and Mixy, a mouse.
Douglas: Catkins, what’s up? You look even sadder than usual. You haven’t even hissed at me today!
Catkins: Dougie, I’m beyond mere sadness. I have come from the funeral of my esteemed companion, Sheba.
Mixy: Sheba? Who is Sheba?
Catkins: Sheba was my cousin, you ignorant little apology for a quadruped!
Mixy: Oh, well, I can’t be expected to keep track of all your relatives, can I?
Catkins: Oh, what is cat? A frail perishable thing. What is our little life? Is it a glory or a tale told by an idiot? Is it a mellifluous melody or a primeval scream? A gift or a curse? Less than an hour ago I beheld the stiff remains of Sheba; not the faintest miaow came from her thin lips, not the faintest twitch from her whiskers. What is the point of climbing walls or licking my tale any more. All is unprofitable and stale. Oh, all has been stolen away by cruel Death.
Douglas: Come now Catkins, that’s no way to talk. I thought you were a philosopher. Surely you realise that birth and death are part of the great scheme of things?
Catkins: You are no doubt correct to remind me of the eternal verities Dougie and I thank you for it.
Mixy: If you ask me there’s a lot to be said for cheese, girl-mice and song. Live for the moment; that’s what I say.
Catkins: Well, Mixy you are condemned by your own words; I always knew you were shallow.
Mixy: Well, I may be shallow but at least I’m happy. Now where’s that cheese?
Catkins: I put it to you both that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. I mean, Dougie, no offence, but you do live a rather animal existence don’t you; food, sex and sleep! Surely you must realise there’s more to life?
Douglas: I rather resent your arrogant attitude Catkins. I’m happy chasing a stick, or lying asleep in the sun. Look at you moping about. It’s natural to feel sad at the death of a loved one, but if you ask me I always thought you were much too melancholy for your own good. I’ve seen you sitting on the dustbin hardly lifting a paw except to lick it. You just don’t have a life, do you? You’re far too aloof. I recommend wagging your tale at humans and occasionally gazing into their eyes.
Catkins: Give me patience Douglas! That would be beneath my dignity. I can’t do with ingratiating myself with humans like you grovelling dogs. I mean a cat has to be his own person. I have standards to keep up!
Mixy: I don’t know what you’re complaining about. I think you’re a bit of a hypocrite if you ask me. My grandfather told me before the peace treaty that you used to torture mice. And I heard that you personally have welshed on the treaty on numerous occasions!
Douglas: Now Mixy, I think that’s going a bit far. No one is casting aspersions on poor Catkin’s moral character.
Mixy: Well, I’m just saying what I heard in the no 43 bus queue.
Douglas: What were you doing in a bus queue Mixy?
Mixy: Just hopping on a bus for a lift, what do you think dumbo?
Douglas: Alright, no need to be sarcastic. So, Catkins have you broken the treaty?
Catkins: Now, that does it; who needs enemies when I’ve got friends like you! Friends? Not anymore! [begins to walk away in a huff]
Douglas: Where are you going?
Catkins: To see if I can make an amendment to the Peace Treaty to exclude dogs and mice. Then I’m going to finish my memoirs, The Life and Opinions of Tom Cat Catkins, or Cat is the Measure of all Things. Goodbye!
Inspired by The Life and Opinions of Tom Cat Murr by ETA Hoffmann and a certain well-known English playwright and a couple of Ancient Greek philosophers.