I know this is a beer blog, and over the years I feel like I've done a good job sticking to beer. But if readers will allow this indulgence, there is something I need to say about the loss of one of my best friends, my cat Max. He frequently contributed to this blog, though no one would know it because I usually deleted what he typed.
Below is a farewell which I read to him during his final time with me. I'm publishing it for a few reasons. One, because grief makes you do strange things. Two, because I wanted more people to know about this very special cat and what he meant to me. And finally, because, I don't know, maybe others who have gone through this same miserable experience can take something from it.
I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In Memoriam A.H.H.”
I love you, Max, with my whole heart. And I will not ever forget you, no matter how many more days beyond yours that our Maker apportions to me. You’ve been a loyal and loving “child,” friend, companion, and confidant from the moment you and your brother, Sam, chose to adopt me in 2005, on that stressful day when I was moving into a new apartment and Hurricane Katrina was devastating my favorite city. How the two of you decided on a 34-year-old bachelor who had never lived with cats – and knew not a damn thing about how to care for them – is an enduring mystery, as is the identity of the soulless villain who put convenience ahead of consideration when he discarded you like so much refuse by the side of the road.
Steve Purcell’s quirky, anthropomorphic animal detectives, that this was exactly right. And there wasn’t a moment’s doubt as to which one you would be: Max, the more fearless, energetic, and adventuresome of the pair. The name has always suited you, and while I’ve heard “Max” is actually a common name given to cats, there is no chance a single one of the others could have ever out-Maxed you. You are the archetype, the Platonic ideal, the embodiment of all that is Max.