The Owl and the Pussycat:: An Anti-trauma

Unk here, with a weird story to tell you. The Kindertrauma Castle is empty today because we’re all at a reception type party celebrating the fact that your Aunt John and I got hitched in New York a couple weeks ago. I wish you all could be there with us; although your endurance of eighties pop music would surely be tested. We had some trouble trying to decide what image to put on our invitations. It took me a bit but then I thought of the perfect thing. When I was a kid I loved the poem “The Owl and the Pussycat.” It’s about these two unlikely creatures teaming up, jumping on a boat and getting married. Something about it always had a calming effect on me. In fact, as a kid when the kindertraumas came a calling, I often imagined my bed was that peaceful pea green boat. To be honest, even when I was much older I’d still think of it when things got dark and shaky. The perfect image for the invitation would be an illustration of that poem. It’s corny and romantic, but I have vowed to cultivate those things. The world sucks without them and I have to compensate for others.

I made no attempt to track down the precise image from the book from my youth, and if it crossed my mind to try, it did so fleetingly. The poem is surely found in a zillion kids’ books, so tracking it down would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. We found a suitable image of the owl and the pussycat in their boat from a random book and we slapped it on the invites and then, because we were not through being the type of people I used to want to kill, when we got our rings made, we gaily (I’m using that word’s every possible connotation) engraved one with “owl” and one with “pussycat.” I know, it’s a bit much but it seemed right and feel free to roll your eyes.

Anyway the other day I was walking about town, just burning off energy because the weekend ahead is big and I dread any kind of anticipation. I passed by a used bookstore I frequently walk by and I noticed something new. Out front there was a box with a sign over it that read, “Books good for one last read! 39 cents or 3 for a dollar.” It was the book pound, damaged merchandise’s last stop before being put to sleep in a garbage bin. Hanging out on the top of the heap doing everything but whistling, was the book from my childhood, “The Golden Treasury of Poetry” and even though I had not seen it since I was as a kid, I recognized it at once. Paging through it was like lancing a cist full of memories and, sure enough, there was the page I was looking for; the poem that has meant so much to me over the years and has been pushed to the forefront of my mind these past weeks. The price of the book happened to be exactly what I could afford. I was almost nervous buying it. The binding was broken but I had just bought clear packing tape the day before.

Walking home with that book in my hand I felt something I had not felt enough in my life and certainly not in a long time; that there was something bigger going on right beyond the page I was drawn on. Trees were throwing orange leaves on me like they cared and the wind dutifully swept litter out of my path. Once inside my house, I had the craziest idea. What if I opened the book and my name was inside? What if it actually was my exact same book from when I was a kid? It wasn’t possible. I eased open the book and no, it didn’t have my name inside. That would have been bonkers. Instead, in blue ink someone, somewhere, at some time had written, “ Generous gift of Unk.”

The higher power and me have not been on speaking terms for a while. It’s kind of like when you lose a friend because you hear they’re saying shit about you behind your back from unreliable sources with questionable agendas. I can’t prove God exists but I can prove that he, she or most likely “it” knows exactly the perfect gift to send to a gay wedding. (No, pal, I don’t mind paying 39 cents to pick up the package. I totally get that the winning $12 Powerball ticket you threw at Aunt John more than covers the tab.) From now on I will no longer give a second thought to what anyone, no matter their costume, pretends to know. I’m not interested in their convenient misinterpretations of what they thought was written or said before they were born. For now on I’m only listening to what comes right out of the horse’s mouth. Screw the middleman, go-betweens are for amateurs. As you read this I’m at a wedding party with at least one guest I had not planned on inviting. Shit! That reminds me! I forgot to put “Like a Prayer” on the wedding playlist! Consider that remedied.

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9 years ago

This is so beautiful, Unk. You made my heart melt. I’m so happy for both of you. Have a wonderful day. 🙂

9 years ago

i’ve been a visitor to your site for a long time. i’ve even been tempted to unearth some of those foggy childhood movie traumas i’ve incurred but this is the first time i’ve written. i send my sincerest congratulations to you and your partner and wish you nothing but a long, loving partnership. there can be no greater joy than having a witness to your life.

9 years ago

Wow! That is amazing! Congratulations guys. 🙂

Amanda By Night
Amanda By Night(@amanda-by-night)
9 years ago

Is this one of the most beautiful stories I have ever heard?


I give you my warmest congratulations and I wish I could be there to celebrate with you!

Ben S
Ben S(@eyesofbens)
9 years ago

This is one of my favorite Kinder Trauma posts ever–it brought a tear to my eye (which is about as tearful as they get!) So many congratulations to you and Aunt John.

9 years ago

Excellent story. I’m so glad you shared it.

9 years ago

What a wonderful, gorgeous testament to love and the universe. Thank you for sharing it!

9 years ago

Gratz guys – sending you my best.

Great post. I’m reeling at the inscription. How many ‘Unk’s can there be out there? You trumped those lottery winners with this one. Remarkable.

Dylan Donnie-Duke
Dylan Donnie-Duke(@dylan-donnie-duke)
9 years ago

Easily my favorite post on this site.
Corny and romantic are too often in short supply. When the furnace of sappy sentiment cools, this will be a sad world to live in. Please keep feeding its fire with all of the mawkish tender you can.
Congrats to you both!

9 years ago

Wonderful story, my dear! I am so happy for you both!

9 years ago

Unk, this is absolutely beautiful. And so are you and Aunt John.

From almost the time I started blogging, I considered Kindertrauma a model and inspiration to look up to, and was fortunate enough to also consider you and Aunt John two of my best blogging friends. I still cherish the hope that perhaps one day I will get to meet you both, and we can spend an evening talking about 70s made-for-TV movies and the weird things adults do.

In the meantime, my heartiest congratulations to both of you, and sincere wishes for many, many years of happiness. Judging from what you’ve built together here, you guys are more than perfect together. 🙂

All my best wishes always,
The Vicar

9 years ago

Congratulations to you, Unkle Lancifer and Aunt John! As for that particular dedication in that particular book falling into your hands, I’d consider it creepy in the way that is an example of an unofficial credo of mine: Just because it’s creepy, doesn’t mean that it’s bad.

9 years ago

Just a gorgeous story. True magic. Much love to the two misters from the sister at Peirce.

9 years ago

Wishing you both a long and happy marriage!

9 years ago

I registered an account just to say how happy I am for you (in a non-mental stalker way!). Love and kisses to the pair of you for the rest of time x