Saturday, April 1st, 2023 10:15:05

Of Dog And Cat Contestants

Updated: May 17, 2014 3:11 pm



IF the world is going to the dogs, it stands to reason that America, being a part of that world, is also going there. So Satiricus is generally less than surprised to read occasional reports of dogs getting elected mayors of some small American towns. And as variety is the spice of American life, there has also been a cat as mayor. Still, a keen contest between electioneering animals of various species (except the human species) that was recently reported made Satiricus sit up and take notice.

This election took place in a small US town called Divide, and it was contested by half a dozen dogs, a cat, and even a donkey. Well, now, what do you know? Satiricus has known about absolute asses contesting elections in India, but he had no idea Indian asses and American donkeys were equally committed to democracy. But he does know that a candidate cannot win an election without a good election agent who can highlight the said candidate’s winning qualities. Fortunately for Pa Kettle, the bloodhound who won, he had an excellent campaign manager in his owner, Janet Bennet. Although her campaign failed to emulate the excellent Indian example and claim that her dog’s opponents would divide Divide into bits and pieces, or that they would fan the flames of hatred between cats and dogs, she did give the clarion call—”Vote Bloodhound or Bust!” Explaining to the local media why he was the best candidate to govern the town, she said, “He is the only candidate that has a last name and a birth certificate.” Well, now, there could not be any better credentials.

But most importantly, what was his election-time promise? Did he promise the moon, as is expected in India?

Well, he did not promise the moon, but he did promise the next best thing—Janet Bennet declared that on being voted into power her dog’s first order of business would be to “allow all dogs in Divide a chance for seconds, no questions asked”. Ah, that was the winning ticket—that mouth-̵watering and vote-catching promise. That was the success key of Kettle the Conquering Canine.

But why did the other dogs and non-dog candidates lose? Apparently they lacked something electorally essential. Maybe the dogs among them could not qualify for being called “kutte ka bachcha”, as was someone recently called in India. Maybe the cat did not know how to mew as piteously as Manmohan Singh mewed every time the Chinese dragon growled, and maybe the donkey that was defeated was not assinine enough.

Anyway, an election is fun, whether among Indian humans or American animals, so this report should not have spoiled the fun by wretchedly revealing that all this was a show in which every “voter” contributed a dollar as charity for the local animal shelter.

Moody Cars

SATIRICUS does not have a car, because he does not need one. But honestly speaking that is not the real reason why there is no car to be seen anywhere near him. Really speaking it is not a question of whether Satiricus needs a car, it is a question of whether a car needs Satiricus. What if a car is too disgusted with his dim wit to drive him? Satiricus is not joking. For now there is a car that can be as moody as the man driving it. French car manufacturer Peugeot has brought out a new car that has a reactive paint, that is, a paint that reacts to its driver’s mood—happy or sad or anything in between. This sounds so good, but Satiricus is suspicious. As of now, the car’s mood will match the driver’s, but what happens if there is a mismatch? What if the driver feels sorrowful but the car feels joyful? What if the car is not in emotional agreement with the driver but begs to differ?

This could well happen if, for instance, a car driving its owner from here to there sees an ice ̵ cream shop. Again Satiricus is not joking. For only the other day Satiricus read in the science and technology section of some paper that “ice ̵ cream can fuel cars”. It said scientists have identified a new bio-catalyst which can manipulate hydrocarbon chemicals found in ice ̵ cream into ready-to̵-use fuel in cars. See? Satiricus likes ice-cream, then why not his car—if he had one?

Fortunately, it would all depend on the car’s mood. Unfortunately, that mood may not match the mood of driver Satiricus. And this is far from impossible.

For now, there are cars that stop at red lights by themselves, car that “converse” with other cars on the road, and even cars that drive themselves. Would Satiricus drive such a car? More likely, such a car would drive him crazy.

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