Death to the Singing Kitty

My mom, bless her grandmothering soul, bought Nico a Kitty Cat keyboard that also sings children’s songs, all of which are retooled to be about cats (i.e., instead of “How Much is that Doggy in the Window,” it sings, “How Much is that Kitty in the Window,” and the Twelve Days of Christmas are suddenly all about cats).

When my mom bought this for Nico a year ago, she was clearly too young for it. She couldn’t figure out how to work its many buttons and soon lost interest. And so I thought (read: hoped) that we’d escaped its vicious song cycle. But then the other day we were cleaning out Nico’s closet and I accidentally took out the cat piano from the place where I’d “stored” it.

The next thing I knew, Nico was on the floor with this orange little death machine pounding away at the keys. That part wasn’t so bad. What’s unbearable is the endless cycle of kitty cat songs, all sung by a chorus of tinny-voiced children.

I’m reading The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus right now and sometimes I think he might have had a child with this very piano when he was writing the novel. It’s about an apocalyptic world in which language suddenly becomes toxic. But children are immune to the toxicity and their voices also are somehow extra poisonous. Just hearing them can bring an adult to her knees.

I feel that same way about the cat piano. The only saving grace is that it has an off button and Nico hasn’t learned yet where it is.

In happier news, Marta and I are now married in Texas (and everywhere) thanks to the Supreme Court. Iowa Public Radio interviewed me briefly about the decision. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I assume I sound a little half-crazed. I wasn’t prepared for emotional the decision would be until it came down. I couldn’t stop crying that whole morning (though it also could have been the cat piano). Have a listen if you have some time:

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