Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | September 5, 2003

Will Gray pull a Mario?

A little more than two years ago we visited the animal shelter and our kids each chose a kitten. Our son fell in love with an orange, tiger-striped, frisky feline and named him Mario – after all, Garfield’s been done, and the critter did recall Nintendo’s Super Mario as he bounced all around the shelter. Our daughter was smitten with a gentle, white kitten who was happy to curl up in her arms and snooze. The kitten with a black tail and a black smudge between his ears was dubbed Oreo.

We took the kittens home, played with them, fed them and grew attached to them. So, when Mario developed a disturbing wheeze and rattle (the vet compared it to the sound a washing machine makes), we paid for x-rays (which revealed a portion of one of his lungs was mysteriously hazy) and drugs and hospitalization and hoped the cat would recover to come home to the boy who loves him. And Mario did.

When Mario developed a urinary tract blockage that triggered another, even more severe lung crisis, we paid for more x-rays, more drugs, catheterization and another hospitalization, and listened to a grim prognosis that prompted visits to Web sites for information on coping with losing a pet. Yet, we still hoped that Mario could find the strength to pull off a second, even more miraculous recovery. And he did.

When Oreo developed mysterious limp attributed to hip joint problems requiring surgery on both legs, we once again bit the fiscal bullet, pulled out the credit card, and popped for surgery and drugs. We’re now hoping Oreo imitates his buddy – pulls a Mario, as it were. The jury’s still out on that one – Oreo’s currently sporting a shaved left rear haunch, a slashing, severe incision, and a disturbing lack of interest in the litter box. And he’s still facing surgery on his right hip.

What bond is it that compels us to pay thousands of dollars to treat these two ailing felines, even though, as my husband points out (with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek), it would be cheaper to get new cats?

Setting aside the fact that they’re beloved members of our family, it’s the right thing to do. We have a commitment and duty to care for these cats, to not abandon them in their time of need.

It makes me think of the recall election.

Sure, it would be entertaining to boot Davis out of office and replace him with a movie star. But would it be the right thing to do? I don’t think so.

We have a duty to the millions of people who took the time and effort to vote last November, and who, in the closest thing a secular democracy has to a sacred act, cast their votes and chose Gray Davis as California’s governor; we have a duty to honor that choice.

Absent high crimes and misdemeanors, it’s irresponsible and undemocratic to remove the duly elected Davis from office. It’s remarkably partisan to blame Davis exclusively for the state’s budget and energy crises. It’s breathtakingly irresponsible to spend millions on an unnecessary recall election when the state is billions in debt. It reeks of poor sportsmanship on the part of Republicans who can’t seem to nominate a palatable candidate for governor to demand a do-over in the gubernatorial election.

I haven’t made up my mind about who I’ll vote for on part two of the Oct. 7 recall ballot. It’s amazing that there are 134 candidates and I’m not thrilled with any of them.

But, even though it’s presently an unpopular choice, I know how I’m voting on the first question on the recall ballot: “Shall Gray Davis be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?” My answer is “No.”

And despite polls’ and pundits’ predictions, I wouldn’t write Davis off just yet. The vet was talking about “letting Mario go” during his second lung crisis, yet the cat’s now bouncing around the house, eating like a teamster and producing inexplicably improved lung x-rays.

It just may be that on Oct. 8, despite being dismissed as “toast” by high-ranking members of his own political party, Gray Davis will be planning the final three years of his second term as California’s governor.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Davis pulls a Mario.



  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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