the musings of a cynical optimist

Posts tagged ‘pets’

Great Expectations. An apology to my hamster.

Every so often when I think about what a great person I’ve become, I think about this asinine personal development exercise a lot of my like minded friends do.  

I’m hazy on the details but basically you call everyone you’ve ever been a piece of shit to, you acknowledge and apologize for being a piece of shit. Everyone gets closure and you move on with your lives. Clean slate.

I will NEVER do this. I’ve gotten away with some pretty impressive schemes and I have too much pride to out myself. Besides, does that girl from grade 9 really need to be reminded of the fake diary entry I wrote in her agenda about masterbating over that guy from the basketball team? (It was a prank gone wrong). Live and let live I say.  

But what if you do want to come clean and that person, or hamster as the case may be, is looong gone. Which leads me to the tale of the best hamster ever.   

My first hamster was Gibble. Gibble bit me a lot. Gibble chewed through the cage. I could only play with the hamster in the bathroom because my mom accurately believed them to be disgusting little rodents. So Gibble found a hole under the bathroom cupboard and ran away to chew the drywall. I cried while my mom dragged me to brownies, and my dad begrudgingly disassembled the entire bathroom to capture Gibble.

Two events led to my disappointment with Gibble. She didn’t have balls. That’s right. I wanted a boy hamster. I also only liked male singers. I blame the media for making me such a sexist child.  

Second, Gibble didn’t talk. Did anyone ever tell you if you believed in something enough it would happen? If your parents did a half decent job, they probably raised a hopeful, optimistic child.  That’s what I was until Gibble. I held Gibble against her will. I repeated simple words and phrases waiting for her to repeat them back in the hopes that I could teach her to talk so we could be best friends. Keep in mind that virtually all kids shows feature talking animals so it seemed realistic that with enough practice, Gibble could be fluent.  

Eventually I gave up. Soon after, Gibble died. I cried all night as my mom patiently comforted me. 

Nothing eases the pain of losing a pet like getting a new one. So a few weeks later we got Karmel. Named after my favorite chocolate bar Caramilk – kinda. I can’t tell you much about Karmel. He was a boy. He was a beautiful gray long haired hamster. He got food and water and the odd time i’d play with him or feed him something weird. I think he lived for a few years. Then we got a dog. We let the dog play with him once. That was a little sketchy.

Like his life, Karmel’s death was a non-event. Like most of our hamsters, he was put in the freezer to await a summer burial in the garden.

So here it is. Let it be known that I am sorry for torturing Gibble with speech lessons.  But mostly, i’m sorry for not giving Karmel the love he deserved. My expectations were slightly unreasonable and it wasn’t your fault. You were a great hamster – even if you couldn’t talk. 

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