I have always heard the old saying that “if you do a thing as many as thirteen times it will become a habit.” I have also heard that “you can get used to anything” and I firmly believe that each of these oldies is true. Listen then to the following story about those statements and become convinced that they are true.
Back during World War II we were renting a house in the southern part of San Antonio where the rent had been frozen at $35 a month and the water bill was $1.00 per month no matter how much water you used. With the water bill being so cheap there was no need to be in a hurry about repairing a leaky faucet in the yard. However, one inside the house was a different matter.
After living in this house for a year or more a leak developed in our bathtub faucet. The constant drip of that faucet while quite maddening in the beginning did not overcome my reluctance to replace a washer that would probably take 10 or 15 minutes to repair, provided I could borrow a wrench from a neighbor, and perhaps wind up costing me a penny or two for a washer. So I kept telling my wife and child “I’ll fix it tomorrow.”
Time wore on and I continued to ignore that drip, after thirteen or more days had passed statement No.1 took effect. By then we had became so accustomed to that drip that we did not hear it anymore, or if we did it lulled us to sleep.
Thus, with no more complaints from wife and child, I continued ignoring my duty to repair the leak and lived with a lazy man's outlook “Hell’sfire, it just costs a $1.00 a month so let’er leak.” With this attitude of mind existing,all went well at our house until we had overnight guests from our home town.
After an enjoyable evening of reminiscing while listening to our kids bawl, squall and raise hell in general we put our daughter to bed on the living room couch, gave our guests her room, which was adjacent to the bathroom, and off to bed we went.
The following morning at breakfast I asked my weary looking guests how they slept through the night. My friend turned his bloodshot eyes to me and said “Bill, we just were not able to dance to the cadence of that drummer you have in the bathroom. His beat was always the same, he never changes and he worked on that same drum all night long. It was a constant drip, drip, drip. Bill, I know you have always been a tightwad but why in the living hell don’t you fix that damned leak?”
Friends can sometimes move you to doing things that your family has been unable to do, therefore as a happy ending to this story it could be said that I fixed the dad burned leak and we all lived happily ever after.
But alas...that was not necessarily true. For although I still paid $1.00 a month for my water and my overnight guests were no longer harassed by that worrisome bathroom drummer... my family now had a problem. We found that the silence in our house without that constant drip was so loud that we had trouble going to sleep and I think it was thirteen days before we became accustomed to that thunderous silence.
Now about the CAT:
When she was seven years old my daughter picked up a stray kitten while coming home from school one day. It was jet black and as captivating as most cats are when they are little kittens. Not having allowed her to keep a cat since the age of three when she had killed every kitten we gave her by hugging them to death we gave in to her plea that at the age 7 she would be more protective of this kitten.
I am sure that most all pet owners will agree that the names given their pets are sometimes weird, bizarre and oft times very unusual. With this particular kitten we could not think of a name befitting his nature so we just called it Kitty until my wife found that the kitten had such a fondness for ground meat (hamburger meat) that all she had to do was to call out “ground meat” and that cat would show up ready to eat. (This is similar to Higgins, another of our cats, who was always at our feet as soon as a can of tuna was opened).
Thus it was that this little black kitten was appropriately named “Ground Meat” a name which he carried for the remainder of his life with us on Kirk Place.
Ground Meat!! Now isn’t that one hell of a name for a cat?
And lastly...about the ANTS:
In this particular area of town we had so many ants (of all varieties) living in, on, around and under our homes that I became convinced that they were inhabitants from outer space who had descended upon planet Earth with the prime intention of taking it over. I became so obsessed with this idea that I took it upon myself to help mother Earth out by trying to eradicate all of the ants within my domain.
Since ant poison cost money and since water was so cheap, I foolishly decided to take the same action the Lord had taken to eradicate evil from the earth back in the time of Noah. So I said to my foolish self “Self” I said, “the Lord used water to rid the world of undesirables why can’t you do the same?”
At the time I reached this decision the Lord had in fact let loose upon the south side of San Antonio a “cheap water” maniac who was determined to drown every ant living under his rented property. Thereupon this one of foolish philosophy stuck a water hose into each ant bed and let it run for hour after hour.
At the end of what I assumed to be a reasonable facsimile of a 40 day flood period and having run enough water under the ground to float the ark, I, being the Almighty’s emissary, stopped the water and sat back to observe the effect my floods had wrought. For weeks not an ant appeared and so I declared that the might of the Lord had triumphed again.
But lo, I soon discovered, as did the Lord, that evil again appeared in the world.... for within months the ants spilled forth from the bowels of the earth in such numbers that I was soon convinced once again that they would, in the end, conquer our world.
Once one of the elderly members of our Coffee Club challenged one of my statements by saying “Bill, it is not necessarily true that one can get used to anything in all instances”.OK” said I, “can you give me such an instance?” “Yes” said he and continued by saying “Listen Bill, I had to pick cotton every year from age 6 to age 22 and I’ll be damned if I ever got used to it”.