Thursday, May 19, 2011

Never Assume

One of my father’s favorite pronouncements was: “never assume.”

Throughout my childhood, my teen years, my college years and, yes, even later, he reminded me of the folly of assuming something would be one way just because it had been that way before … or a person was one type just because he or she was tall or short or black or white.

Yet still, just yesterday, I assumed.

When I came downstairs for breakfast, I noticed two books on the living room floor. And a gap in the shelf under the living room window.

I have two cats: one charcoal gray (Guinness) and one cream with pale orange accents (Herbie). Herbie is the mellow one, the snuggler, the one who sleeps most of the time, the one who loves everyone. Guinness is the neurotic one, the mischief-maker, the one who steals cat toys and Herbie’s food and who runs away whenever a stranger enters the house.

Naturally, I assumed that Guinness had knocked the books off the shelf.

I muttered a general reprimand and proceeded to make breakfast. Afterward, when I was cleaning up the kitchen, I heard a sound that I could not identify. It seemed to come from the living room. I dried my hands and walked in the direction of the sound.

Another book had fallen on the floor. And deep in the shadows of the bookcase a pale, cream-colored face peered out, wide-eyed and innocent.

Herbie did it.

Dad was right (damn it). Never assume.

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