I used to have a cat that was the laziest creature this side of a ring-tailed sloth. He could hardly be bothered to move from the living room to the backyard, never mind hunting down a rodent in the garden. His attitude was, “Please. That shit is beneath me.” And at first, we thought something was wrong with him; we questioned his general malaise and lethargy. But after several trips to the vet and the gauntlet of tests, they came to a conclusion: The cat was simply lazy as shit. He wasn’t compelled to do anything, so why should he?
Being an advocacy of laziness and an animal lover in general, I was like, “Right on, kid. Do your thing.” However, my girlfriend would spend a certain amount of time every day trying to engage him in physical activity. Would he chase a rolling ball? Nuh-uh. Jump up on the counter if coaxed by a long, thin moving object? No chance. Up and down from the bed was the extent of his gymnastic aspirations. The only thing she could get him to do was this idiosyncratic, half-assed, limp, idle pawing at a ball of yarn that she would imploringly force upon him: “Come on, Chimpy! Catch the string! It’s coming to get you!” My girlfriend was cute as a button, by the way. And she meant well.
But the very best part of the whole ruse was in pestering the cat, of course, and I’ve never forgotten the look on his face, as he lay flush on his side, vaguely lifting his paw to swat at the yarn, having a second thought, and quitting in mid-paw stroke. He would look over at me and I could hear him thinking out loud, with a genuine scowl on his mug, “Can you please do something about this, dude? This chick is killing me with the ball of yarn gag.” It was the deepest and most real definition of ennui I had ever seen or felt – until now.