Anyways, he forced me to watch a video [youtube] about a woman who trained her cat, Tessa, to eat at the dinner table using a fork.
My first impression upon hearing about the video is that anyone with the spare time and dedication to teach a cat to eat using a fork could learn three languages and cure cancer in that time.
Says the owner, "on a scale of one to ten [she] would rate [Tessa's] table manners as probably a seven or an eight."
It's not a good feeling to think that a cat has better table manners than some of my extended family.
Why did she do it? "It all started when Faye Murrell's kids left home, and she was left with only her husband, Bill, for company during mealtime."
TERRIBLE. It takes a CAT to make dinner alone with this lady's husband bearable? This guy must feel like shit. Notice the dead silence on his part during the scene where Faye and Bill walk together.
"For several months, Faye worked closely with Tessa, using a technique that she's not sharing with anyone."
"I'd like to say it's a family secret."
I think know Faye's secret. It's a combination of successive approximations, insane levels of patience (or boredom, or zealous greed - take your pick), velcro, and veritable cruelty to animals. That scene with the "handwashing?" That's not handwashing; it's punishment for refusing to eat with a fork. I'm going to try that on my children.
Child abuse aside, the video quickly zooms in on a can of sardines in the fridge, as if they hold the key to Tessa's training program. No amount of sardines alone could do that, as delicious as they are - especially in mustard sauce. Poor Tessa is forced to go against every instinct she has, just to eat. Then again, we humans are pretty good at doing the opposite of what comes naturally to us as a race. Just look at the classic American dream. Natural instincts never compelled anyone to shamelessly exploit pets for money, and no, the desire to succeed by getting rich is not an instinct; it's a weak social construct. The desires to live and fuck are instincts. Though, if you'd like to be more bold, and a little bit less cynical, you might find "wearing clothing" a more apt analogy to training your cat to eat with a fork. Naked feels so good.
At least Tessa eats well: "[Faye] taught her to eat the most expensive food on the market."
Faye also taught the cat to eat noodles with chopsticks, and proudly explains that "[she] thought it would be a good gesture, since [they] were going to Korea."
I'm not sure whether that good gesture, if truly earnest, is something entirely practical and sane; or perhaps if Faye has absolutely forgotten that her cat is inhuman, and that Korean cats probably eat cat food.
The narrator explains it thus: "now, when Tessa has a yen for noodles, she chows down... using chopsticks." I've replayed this a few times, and I'm not sure if he actually said "yen." If so, what the hell? Does "yen" mean something relating to appetite in Korean, or is the narrator referring to the japanese currency? If the latter is the case, kudos to the producers for writing the script with the first asian sounding word that came to mind. This is an awesome and clever move, especially with the accompanying sound byte of a gong being sounded.
Tessa also eats ice cream. I'm unsure of what to say here, except that eating ice cream with my cat could be a terrific bonding experience, and possibly a little bit unhealthy for my cat.
Any ulterior motives that were glaringly obvious before are nearly stated outright when Faye proposes that "Tess's table manners have opened up a whole new future."
And what sort of future awaits this miracle cat, excepting a questionable death linked to a certain jealous and neglected husband, or a liberation attempt by PETA?
Faye elaborates. "Tess has dreams. She would like to meet Tiger Woods, and David Duval. She would like to have a meal with Oprah Winfrey, and she would like to be a movie star."
The clip ends here, but I'm sure the action continues. This is the part where Bill cancels their subscription to The Golf Channel. Understandable, considering the insecure state she's probably left him in upon abandonment for sake of a cat. It's pretty obvious that the aforementioned list of Tessa's aspirations is basically a showcase of Faye's celebrity crushes, fantasy TV appearance, and greed typified. I hardly feel that needs to be stated, but hell if it's way too hard to wrap my head around the whole thing.
There's a parallel here that serves as both a wonderful example of life imitating art, and as a testament to the magnitudes in which Thomas Hardy kicks ass. Mr. and Mrs. D'urberville, with
Meanwhile, Faye d'Tampa, with ambitions of wealth and... well, just wealth, fucks up her cat.