Thursday, August 17, 2006

Life according to Sheba

Doritos, Fritos, Brand X? Doritos. If one thing’s certain, it’s that quality counts. There are reasons why some things cost more than others. Taste, for one. You get what you pay for.

Not that I know about paying for anything. I’m just a rabbit, but I’m a smart rabbit, a very smart rabbit, and I love to eat. The guy who feeds me does a pretty good job of filling my dish: Oxbow Hay premium timothy pellets, Oxbow Hay premium orchard grass, Green Giant carrots, Lays potato chips, Dole bananas, Planters dry-roasted peanuts, organic flax seed, organic broccoli, wild alfalfa, papaya, filtered water. Hey, I can’t complain.

It wasn’t always this way. When I was young I was caged like a prisoner, allowed out only to have my fur combed, and none too gently, I might add. The food was generic, cheap and yucky. There were no rubs, no caresses, no lullabies, no kisses on the nose, and certainly no treats. My friends and I called it the Blue River Gulag. If not for our luxuriant hair—we’re Angoras, you know—we’d have long ago been cut to pieces and fried up like chicken.

Then this guy showed up. In he walks, goofy look on his face as if he’s out shopping but isn’t fully aware of what it is he’s shopping for. Like always when strangers enter the hut, the others crouch down to make themselves less conspicuous. I usually do, too, but not this time. There’s something about this guy that looks—lost. I’m not sure there’s another word for it, at least not in rabbit language. I put my front paws up high on the cage and stare at him with my big brown bunny eyes, looking all inquisitive and cuddly, and innocent, too, and when he sees me he makes a beeline toward me.

Gotcha, I thought.

A girl’s got to play hard to get, so when he reached in to get me I retreated to the back of the cage and made him practically crawl in to get me. Being handled has bad connotations for us rabbits—there’s that comb, you know—so I wasn’t too sure about this until he started rubbing my head. I love being rubbed on the head. He carried me outside and I saw for the first time the world. It was so big it scared me, but he didn’t seem bothered so I tried to relax.

And then he put me back in the cage and left, and the door closed and the others laughed at me and I wondered if maybe I’d played too hard to get.

Weeks went by with the dread routine of being fed and combed and left alone. My thoughts were dark as I recalled his touch, how he cradled me and wrapped his entire hand around my head and stroked back to sooth my ears, and how he whispered to me, how he showed me another world I never knew existed. How he left.

My world was a wire cage in an unheated building. At night the monsters outside sang their eerie songs and I huddled in a corner and prayed for dawn.

One afternoon I heard the door creak open and he was there. My joy was unbounded! I thumped the cage so hard it rattled the foundation. He picked me up and whispered how beautiful I was and as we went out into the world I said goodbye! goodbye! to my friends.

Now, a lot has changed since then. I’m a different rabbit, for one. Who knew I had royalty in me? I’m a Queen and expect to be treated as such. Free run of the place, rubs, snacks, gourmet food—it doesn’t get much better than this. I don’t even have to get combed anymore unless I want to. Well, sort of. Some things never change.

The guy who feeds me is always saying the world outside is going to hell in a handbasket. I’m not sure what that means but he never seems happy when he says it. When he sits next to me on the floor and rubs me he always seems so content, and the other day he said to the girl that if everybody in the world had a rabbit there would be no more wars or fighting. I liked it when he said it. It made me feel more important.

It also got me thinking. What is life? How can we find happiness? What is truly important? From my perspective, it’s fairly easy, but I thought I’d pass along some insights from what I’ve learned so far.

Nothing is real unless it’s first nudged with a nose. Twice.

Everything is better when we’re all together.

Rabbit lives are short. Eat well, eat lots, and don’t worry about your figure.

It’s always time for a snack.

Brand names taste best.

Share and share alike.

Show your appreciation.

A clean cage is nice but let’s not get neurotic about it.

Everybody needs a little exercise but always follow it with a nap.

Standing on your hind legs will get you a treat every time.

Pay attention.

Don’t expect too much, but always be grateful for what you get.

If you’re happy, dance.

Snacks are great, but a rub is better.

Life is beautiful.

I hope this helps. I just heard a potato chip bag open and I’ve got to check it out.

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