I have a great imagination. In fact, Nurse Judy, my wild alter ego, often accuses me of living in fantasy land. This is a huge joke to me, for if it wasn’t for my imagination, Nurse Judy would probably not exist. I would be so grounded in reality, I wouldn’t have time for an alter ego, and of course, no ability to write about her exploits in my column.
This imagination is what has given fodder for my books as well as my column. It is also what helped me achieve all those outstanding teacher and administrator awards. Now that I have joined a theater group, it helps me become another person for a role and also helps me write scripts.
Nurse Judy had better quit making fun of me, because she may very well be biting the hand that feeds her. I explain all this to her.
“You must mean ‘the hand that fed her’” she says slyly. “You don’t make enough money now to feed a squirrel.”
I think about this. Since the pandemic, I haven’t sold many books. I haven’t been asked to speak anywhere. My scriptwriting isn’t paid work. I don’t have much money coming in and I don’t dare spend what I have because the future is so uncertain.
“It isn’t all about money,” I say. “I get a lot of enjoyment from the things my imagination produces.”
“Do you get a lot of enjoyment dressing up like a cat for that monologue you wrote about a cat? I saw you yesterday as you got ready for the dress rehearsal. You looked like a dork. Was that fun?”
“Yes, it was. My imagination led me to a great adventure,” I say defensively.
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
“As I drove to the rehearsal site, people were smiling at me as they drove by. They liked my whiskers, ears, and bright pink nose. They waved at me and I waved back.”
“That was an adventure?” she asks skeptically.
“Yes, it was, because as I waved back I almost hit a mailbox. That made me think about what if I had an accident. What if the EMTs came and pulled this big cat with the long black tail out of the car?” I explain to Nurse Judy. “Would they take me to a veterinary hospital? Would I be sent away because I wasn’t wearing a rabies tag? I was wearing a collar but it had no ID. Would I be put up for adoption? It was a very scary adventure for a short while, but I didn’t have an accident so I got out of that adventure and went to rehearsal?”
“So that is what you call a big adventure? You’re pathetic,” she scoffs.
“It isn’t over. On the way home, I forgot about my costume and I stopped at the grocery store. I put on my pandemic mask and went in. The cart scrubber looked at me and asked if I was going to a costume party. I replied in the negative and told her that I just stopped by to pick up some cat food. This sent her into paroxysms of laughter and she scuttled off to whisper to the clerks I couldn’t understand why picking up some tuna for Beebe was so funny.”
“So you spent the whole time not knowing you were dressed as a cat?” Nurse Judy asked.
“Not the whole time,” I said. “My tail got caught in the sliding freezer door and I realized what was going on.”
“Did you leave then?” she asks.
“No that’s when the real fun began. My imagination kicked in and I had a ball. I meowed loudly at the fish counter. I purred when I spotted the rows of cream. I began to feel like a cat burglar and would hide in an aisle and jump out gently swatting an unsuspecting shopper passing by. If they seemed disgruntled, I’d hiss at them. It was great fun until the manager arrived and asked if I had found what I needed. My cat food and I were quickly checked out and I pussy-footed to the car. When the cart boy came by, I twitched my tail to let him know I wasn’t
going to put up with anything from him. Then I drove home but I’d had a great day all because of my imagination.”
Nurse Judy looked at me shaking her head. “You’re crazy,” she said.
“No, I’m not,” I said, “but with my great imagination I can be if you’d like.”
“No thank you,” she said quickly and for the rest of the week, the two of them – Nurse Judy and Beebe – hid whenever I came near. I don’t know what that was all about.