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December 5, 2011

The Petriarch

The incident remains my most disgusting betrayal to this day, a permanent stain on an otherwise unsullied history of loyalty. An accounting professional had come to deliver a sermon of boredom to a class of deeply disinterested tax men. The only part I recall being awake for came at the only moment the speaker engaged the audience. He asked a question: what is your email address? The inquiry was fielded by a few souls hoping to shake their arms and vocal chords from a coma.


The exact responses from the sitting dead I forget, but the accountant's response I remember. "Too unprofessional. Those email addresses are simply too unprofessional. When you include emails on resumes, when you correspond with clients you want your address to reflect a professionals tone." I considered my internet handle at that time, cpt.climps@gmail, and sized it up as being just that, too unprofessional. An email named after a cat was no title for a briefcase-carrying, button-shirt wearing, client-shmoozing, serious to the core businessman. I wanted money and success, and if I had to leave behind cpt.climps in the process, so be it. Sdv.hansen@gmail thus was born, becoming my principal hub for all things adult. Meanwhile cpt.climps@gmail was demoted to friends and spam only.

The cat which inspired that address is dead now. On Thanksgiving he was as spry as MJ on the dance floor. Six days later a shot to the leg finished off the body that had quit on Climps' soul. I may cry that Climps is gone, but am proud of his legend, which at this point exceeds even my own and reads like the history of a traveling lifeguard: saved two lives, pooped in the sand, renowned in multiple continents.

While Climps performed many memorable works and wonders, his absence sparks a gratitude for the small tasks he completed as well. Besides being a chick magnet, conversation piece, and general cat-about-town, Climps was most importantly an inspirer. His swagger gave me confidence, and his untamed whiskers showed me I too could go without shaving, even if it did make me look Mexican. In his ten year history he never took a single bath, a feat Nathan Ballard drew strength from when he went one week without showering in order to woo his wife. In his last days he lost over 20% of his body weight, leaving a testimony that despite being aged, obesity can be reversed, fatness defeated. And for years every time I submitted a resume, communicated via email, named a Fantasy Football team, or registered to become an online member of a website, the username of climps rode with me.

Until I became embarrassed. Until I valued job prospects, money and professionalism more than the loyal pet who used two of his lives to twice save my own.

By eliminating cpt.climps as my principal username and email I didn't just betray Climps the cat, but another of my inspirers as well, the great Henry Jones Jr. The man who touched the Holy Grail and rid Peru of aliens also had a pet of consequence in his life, a dog named Indiana. Somewhere in Jones' early years that dog won his heart, or vice versa, and a critical moment of decision arose - to carry on with his own name, or pay honor by taking on the name of his beloved pet.

We know what happened that day. Indiana eventually became so loyal to his adopted name that instances in which his father referred to him as Junior were followed by Indy's rage-filled obliteration of Nazis.

A man who was unashamed of his pet

I've always wished I were Indiana Jones. Wanted to be a professor. Wanted a fedora. Wanted Sean Connerey for a dad. But when faced with the one chance to be like Indy, I muffed it.

I apologize to the great archeologist, for not following in his footsteps. I apologize to my employers, for tricking them into thinking I'm a professional. And I apologize to Climps, for valuing his name less than my own. Since his death I've attempted tributes in all the normal fashions: I dug the grave, I recited a poem, I wrote this blog. But the final nod to Climps came only when I restored my email to its true order earlier this very afternoon. And so if you wish to express your condolences, expound on your favorite memory of Climps or simply leave a few words to be read at his weekly commemoration (every Thursday night from 7 to 7:30), drop me a line. I'm confident you'll know where to send it to.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear the news. I remember the day I took my cat in 3 years ago was one of my hardest days. Saying goodbye is tough, and the void lingers, but Climps will for sure be remembered.

  2. And I was so insensitive during the pets podcast ... I just didn't know the pain until recently.

  3. It is quite tough indeed, but your pet is something you will never forget. Consider this an internet hug to you from me. Mmmphhffp.