The Key to Starting Self-Improvement

Last night, I engaged in my usual nightly ritual of gorging on fast food, ice cream, and booze for an hour and a half, subsequently followed by sitting on the toilet for a further hour. Normally, I enjoy my time on the “Golden Throne,” but last night was different. I began to feel low, best described as a sense of shame mixed with a sense of hopelessness. These feelings were compounded when I realized my cat Sebastian, the premiere Cat Critic of the greater Los Angeles area, had been sitting in the restroom with me the whole time, gazing at me with his eyes, as if into my soul.

“What?” I snapped at him angrily. He blinked, either out of boredom or disdain, it was hard to tell.

“WHAT?!” I staggered to my feet, pants sloshing around my ankles. “Do you have some lesson to teach me like last time? Some lecture you want to give?!”

Sebastian paused for a long moment so as to increase the impact of his wisdom.

“Turn around,” Sebastian said demurely.

“Wha… What?”

“You heard me. Turn around.”

Slowly, I scooted my naked lower half around, navigating the complications of my stiff, wrinkled trousers by my feet. When I had turned completely around, I realized I was looking in the mirror at a disheleved mess of a person and his beautiful, poised cat.

“Often, the best lessons you can learn come from looking in the mirror,” Sebastian said quietly.

My face was bloated and splotchy, my eyes glassy and dead, my stomach hanging over a flaccid male appendage like a sack of soggy potatoes that even I would turn my nose up at had they been fried and topped with sodium-infused, caloric sauces. I wanted to cry.

“I look awful. I can never recover from this. There is no point – I shouldn’t even try.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Sebastian said. “Yes, you are a pathetic worm, which is sad. But the silver lining is the golden opportunity afforded you by your lowly status. You can only improve, which is a wonderful path on which to venture. True, you will face setbacks, but only once you’re a little farther down the road.”

“I.. can only… improve?” I said, as if to myself.

“For a cat with very clear speech, you often make me feel like I stutter,” Sebastian replied pointedly. “Do you have to repeat everything I say?”

“Repeat… everything?” I said, glassy eyed and gassy.

“Right. You’re clearly brain-damaged. Open the door and let me out.”

I cracked the door a bit to let Sebastian slink out back into the apartment. He turned back and stared at me for one more moment.

“You’re not there yet, but you will be. Let my words sink in.”

We stared at each other a moment longer. Finally, he added:

“And close the door. I don’t like looking at you with no pants.”