Imagine that scene in Rocky. You know which scene I mean — the training one. Dancing, prancing, skipping and shadow boxing, the famous fanfare perfectly punctuating and accentuating each of our hero’s moves. Only it’s not a a boxer, and it’s not a punch bag. It’s not Stallone — it’s Eric, our runty-but-lovable blind cat training for his big day — the day that will soon be upon us — the day when he will choose a competition winner.

Though blind and old, Eric still wakes up every morning and attacks the world with gusto! Since I told him about the competition on Friday he’s eaten almost nothing and hardly slept. Every time I go down to the living room, he’s there, pacing around, practicing his paper-sitting skills. He can hear the page-turning of my book from 60 paces. At night, when I’m in bed reading, he comes scurrying upstairs, flying headlong into my bedroom door. Thunk. I should probably sleep with my door open…

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Being blind, he doesn’t even have to give up when the sun sets. When other cats are moseying on home for dinner, strolling through the cool, evening air, Eric is still there, pacing, choosing the right piece of paper to chew.

The problem is, despite his passion to please, and nail his first ever ‘job’, he’s simply not very good at it. In fact, he’s just fallen asleep between a pink and white piece of paper.

I’m going to set some basic ground rules, to make sure the decision-making process is fair and just. I also need some redundancies in place, in case he fails to choose a winner.

The Rules

  1. Eric will fast for 24 hours before the event. To heighten his senses, Eric will not be fed for the day preceding the event itself.
  2. Eric will be kept in solitary confinement for 24 hours before the event. Again, to improve his sensory response, Eric will be kept in a small, locked shoebox before the event begins. To pick the right winner, Eric will need to be truly honed in to his sense of touch: his whiskers and the pads of his feet. His sense of smell and taste will be heightened.
  3. All entries will be no larger than 10cm square. Some particularly enterprising individuals have sent me entire essays detailing why Eric should choose them. I’m impressed, but it goes against the spirit of the thing, damnit! I’ll just print it out in a tiny font, double-sided.
  4. Gnawing will be accepted. If Eric fails to sit on a piece of paper, gnawing a piece of paper will also constitute a ‘victory’ for that competition entry.
  5. Sit or shit, it doesn’t matter. After much thinking, I’ve decided that defecation would also constitute ‘conscious cognitive choice’ as far as picking a victor. You all know how picky cats are about where they do their business, so if Eric poops on your paper, you’re a winner!
  6. If sitting, shitting and masticating fails… In the event that Eric fails to choose a winner (by falling asleep, for example — sleep doesn’t count, it must be a rational, coherent choice by Eric — not apathy!), the comment closest to Eric will win.

I think that just about covers it. May the best man or woman win (and go and enter the competition, if you haven’t already — it’s a quick and easy way to score free web hosting!)

Oh, and because I just love to indulge the few of you (OK, the majority of you) that just dig cat photos, here’s Eric relaxing after today’s rather grueling trial run.

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Sebastian

I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.

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