Licking Lightbulbs

Licking Lightbulbs

06-13-2022 Blog 170 Licking Lightbulbs


Malachi Maxwell is, by far, the most mentally challenged animal we’ve ever owned. He makes up for it by having a heart that’s, by far, the purest.

I blame his lack of brain function on the rough start he had as a kitten—abandoned, abused, malnourished, and nearly died three times before we finally brought him into the house:

  1. Hammock net mishap
  2. Fell out of tree
  3. Fell out of tree again

While his two sisters thrived and succeeded at anything they put their little paws to, poor Malachi would lay to the side and just watch. By the time he would muster up enough gumption to try the activity the girls were involved with, he’d forget what to do, become clumsy, get his toes stuck in the carpet/tree bark/my clothes, and go back to watching.

We adopted him. He was so needy, I’d tuck him into an old purse, sling it around my neck and keep him close while I worked lest he try any of the following:

  1. Fall off the table
  2. Fall off the desk
  3. Fall off the bookcase
  4. Fall off the cat tree
  5. Fall off…

Somehow, this poor boy didn’t get the memo that cats are to land on their feet. He never relaxed into the fall—he’d full-on panic and “keep” falling, hitting every object/protrusion/item he could on the way down. Like watching a Looney Tune goof in slow motion.

As he grew, he tried to damage himself further:

  1. Head stuck in reusable shopping bag handles
  2. Head stuck in Walmart sacks
  3. Whole body stuck in the box springs
  4. Concussion on oven door that I slammed shut a mere microsecond before he tried to leap into the 400-degree oven
  5. Toes from all feet stuck in carpet, in epic Twister board fashion

He also has things that he “can’t even.”

He “can’t even” with strange men.

He “can’t even” with dingers, buzzers, or alarms (in real life or on the television).

He “can’t even” when I’m not in sight.

During these times, the poor guy runs away, or—my favorite—sits down, throws his eyes toward the ceiling, and rolls his head back and forth. When I say he “can’t even,” he really can’t.

But his newest way to damage himself and curl my toes has to do with lightbulbs. One of his favorite spots is above my desk atop the bookcase. He rests there while I work or write. And, as you can see from the photo, there’s a nice, bright lamp. It gives off gentle heat, and for the longest time, he’d just lay close to it.

Until recently.

When he started licking the lightbulb.

I can’t even.

When my kids were young, I’d utter sentences like:

  1. Don’t hammer yo-yo halves to the shed floor.
  2. Why are you crying? There’s nothing to cry about.
  3. Don’t drive the lawnmower up the side of the house.
  4. Don’t bite her.
  5. I don’t care if he’s staring at you.
  6. Who stinks?
  7. Barbie Dolls aren’t toilet wands.
  8. I don’t mess up your favorite things, why must you mess up mine?
  9. Why did you microwave my pad of blue Post-It Notes?
  10. Don’t fall asleep while I’m at the grocery store or he’ll microwave my blue Post-It Notes.
  11. It hurts because you’ve cut off your entire thumb tip.

(Okay, some of those weren’t directed at my children; some of those were pleas to the Hubs…)

Now, I find myself uttering similar phrases to our kitties:

  1. Don’t bite her.
  2. Why are you gagging? There’s nothing to gag about.
  3. What are you staring at?
  4. Who’s biting the banana butts?
  5. Who stinks?
  6. Don’t put your head in Walmart sacks.
  7. Don’t lay on the stove.
  8. Why are you crying?
  9. Put your toes back in.
  10. I don’t puke on your favorite things, why must you puke on mine?

And my latest plea?

  1. Please, oh, please, Malachi Maxwell. Don’t lick lightbulbs.

And it’s not just the one near the top of the bookcase that he’s after.

He’s after the lamp on the end table.

He’s after my reading light near my bed.

Basically, if it glows, he wants to lick it.

I’ll scold him. Move him away from the temptation. Turn off the bulbs. He wants to lick them so badly that when I stop him from doing so, he “can’t even” and rolls his head and eyes at me.

I don’t know why he wants to lick lightbulbs. Maybe he’s trying to catch a clue or a hint, or an idea…

Hey, wait a minute.

Perhaps that’s the answer to the current writer’s block.

Perhaps a nice taste of illumination would grease my imagination gears enough that Little Miss Muse can start working her magic…

“If you start licking lightbulbs, I’ll have you committed. It’ll be the first time a Muse has gone to court to win guardianship over their author, but, if you lick lightbulbs, I bet the judge would grant it to me.”  Little Miss, reading over my shoulder as I type this, is disappointed in me. “Would you like a roommate or are we springing for a private padded room?”

Before I can snark back at her, she pulls out her firecracker and bejeweled Zippo lighter and adds, “I’ve got all the ideas you’ll ever need, lady.”

I glace up at the bookcase where Malachi has assumed the position, head over the glow of the lamp, mouth opening…

Oh, the drama.

I can’t even.

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