Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pumpkin and Mensa

My cat Pumpkin is a great cat.  He will not, however, be invited to join the Mensa society.  I love the guy and will miss him when the sad day comes when he has to leave us.  But a member of the IQ elite he is not.

My m.o. in the morning involves walking sleepily down the stairs and opening the door that bars Pumpkin from dancing up the stairs and spending the night on our heads.  When I do open the door to the upstairs in the morning, the Pump wants to do one thing. And that is get out of Dodge. He waits for me to open the front door to go get the newspaper.  As soon as I do, Pumpkin darts out and does whatever cats do when they bolt.

This happens every morning unless it is raining. When there is precipitation the routine changes.  I open the front door and he takes a step out and turns around immediately heading back into the dry house.  I go get the paper.

You might figure that Pumpkin's aversion to rain reflects intelligence.  Yet what happens when I return with the paper is that Pumpkin runs to the slider that separates the back of the house from an exposed deck.  And there he waits for me to open the slider.  Pumpkin does not get that if it is raining in the front of the house it is probably raining in the back of the house as well.  He goes through the slider when I go through the now familiar dance. When he gets wet on the deck and jumps back in, he proceeds to the remaining exit--a side door that leads to the driveway.  Again, he waits for me to open the door.  Only when he has determined that it is raining in the front, back and side of the house does he give up and go to where we keep the cat food.  If he can't play, he figures, he might as well eat.

When I first noticed this behavior I thought that I did not get the brightest of cats.  It still crosses my mind that for a guy who certainly knows where the food is, litter box is, and where a morsel of tuna fish might be hanging around near the sink, he should be swift enough to realize that when it rains in the front, it is wet in the back too.

But the other day I started to think about Pumpkin's behavior and comparing it with humans.  It was then that I thought that perhaps even those in Mensa societies exhibit the same tendencies.

How often do we attempt to do something, are categorically blocked, but then try another approach to see if an alternative route will get us where we want to go.  And when it is no go with plan B, how often do we try again with a different maneuver.  Unlike my cat who after he has tried all three doors gives up, some of us will start again at the front of the house to see if maybe the pot of gold is attainable despite being aware on some level that it is not going to happen.

There is something to be said for perseverance.  I must have received 200 rejection letters before I got a publisher who wanted to produce one of my books.  So, if I had decided after a few "doors" to give up I would have lost an opportunity to get my wisdom--such as it is--out there.  If one really believes in some dream and it is not impossible, then one should keep at it.  But in some situations we  have to be wise enough to accept the facts that if it is raining in the front it is raining in the back.  

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