Dear Imaginary Cat That I Keep Metaphorically Skinning

Dear Imaginary Cat That I Keep Metaphorically Skinning,

First off, Cat, let me say that I don't know where any of this got started. I realize that's no excuse, but I want you to know that I've been thinking through this a lot, and that this is more than an apology- it's a commitment to change.

My parents used to skin you; I know that. I'm not sure when I picked up the habit myself, but it was probably well before I became a teenager. Just a little at first, of course. A little skinning here, maybe a quick skin there. At first I just used it with intimates; only the people I was closest to. Gradually the circle widened; I started skinning in front of acquaintances and finally, even complete strangers.

My parents weren't particularly keen on violence to animals in general (which I realize is no consolation to you- poor, tortured cat). We had cats as pets, which we did not skin. My dad had even wanted to be a veterinarian when he grew up. We did go hunting, though. I shot a deer and a few other animals. One of my friends as a teenager killed a lot of cats. I'm not sure what his problem was, but even he wasn't sick enough to skin any of them.

I don't feel like a monster. I'm well into my twenties now, so I'm fairly confident that the pattern of animal victimization (imaginary cat skinning, mostly) running through my childhood isn't going to manifest itself into twisted, psychopathic, serial-killer tendencies towards humans as an adult.

I guess it just got to be normal after a while. I've been exposed to it ever since I was a baby. I was blind to it. as hard as it is to believe, wrenching the skin off of a defenseless, metaphorical animal just didn't seem like a big deal. It never occurred to me how much metaphorical pain I was inflicting on you. And for that, I am more sorry than you could possibly know. My blindness, my calloused indifference to the suffering of a fellow (albeit hyperdimensional) living creature; it still keeps me up at night.

Now that I see it, now that I realize what it actually is that I have been doing all these years and how it affected you; the incredible anguish caused by that  frivolous turn of phrase, the unimaginable pain caused by my thoughtless words, I just can't believe what I did and I don't know how to apologize enough, or how to make it right, or even if I can make it right.

I'm going to do whatever it takes. I'm going to try different things. Just yesterday I imagined you a ball of yarn. I now frequently use the phrase, "there's more than one way to give a cat a tuna-fish sandwich."

I also hope you enjoyed that scratching-post/carpet-covered-cat-playhouse. By the way, there's a little something extra stowed away in one of the hollowed-out playhouse legs. Hint: it rhymes with Catmip. Just remember to keep that shit on the DL, and if an imaginary officer of the law stops you- you don't remember where you go it.

Point being, I'm going to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to make this as right as I can. And if imaginary houses and drugs aren't cutting it, I'll imagine you sexy she-cat playmates, make-believe private jets and pretend Meow Mix (which I'm told you guys are so crazy for, you have a song about it).

Maybe you have imaginary metaphysical needs. I'll imagine you peace of mind, orderly thoughts, satisfaction with the material things you already possess, a complete acceptance of your metaphorical mortality, and inner tranquility. One way or the other, I'm going to make this up to you. Whether it's lavish imaginary gifts, or metaphorical Marcus Aurelius. After all, there's more than one way to skin a ca... carrot.

Sebastian Braff


Dear Imaginary Carrot That I Keep Metaphorically Skinning,

I guess this all started when I wrote a letter to the imaginary cat. You were doing your own thing, growing in the warm metaphorical soil, when suddenly I took an imaginary peeler and.....................................................


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