Forty Years, Forty Posts #31

Today is the second anniversary of our life with Bertie, our gentlemanly tabby cat. We found Bertie at the humane society, and ever since he has inspired us with his grace and good nature. He gets along with everybody, and enjoys the simpler things in life: a bowl of milk, a tumble with Torii, and perhaps a good nap in his favorite box. The favorite box (bag, basket, etc.) changes almost weekly, though he had a particularly long and happy one last spring with a box from Random House. I think he liked the aura of good books.

It would make sense, because Bertie is named for Bertie Wooster, the well-meaning but chaos-prone protagonist of the comic stories and novels by P. G. Wodehouse, which also feature the capable valet Jeeves (who has always been a valet, mind you, and not a butler). I first read Mr. Wodehouse at the recommendation of a 70-ish year old Texan who, for reasons that are still not clear, was a regular on a local (Minneapolis-St Paul area) message board. I didn’t have much in common with this old coot from Texas except a mutual love for good books, but books are a good aid to fellowship.

I now consider Wodehouse my favorite writer. There are few profundities in Jeeves and Wooster, and the world is decidedly apolitical, but marvelously funny and rich and timeless. Wodehouse made the world a better place not by scornful critique of the status quo, but by simply being good natured and charming and consistently excellent.

Bertie the cat, for his part, does the same.

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