An Unfortunate Incident Involving Handcuffs

I’m such a nerd sometimes. 🙂

I genuinely love learning something new about grammar/punctuation. When there is a particular concept that I’ve always just not quite understood the rules of, and then it suddenly clicks after reading up on it some more… that’s such a satisfying feeling!

My “Woe is I” book is one of my favorites. Very helpful and very straight-forward with the explanations. I’ve used it for those times when someone asks me a grammar question that I know the answer to, but I just can’t quite explain it myself.

I think I’ve talked about this before, but I feel that the education system fails us in this regard–I never fully learned the rules for grammar and punctuation in school. I simply learned what was correct via osmosis from reading so much! But this means I rarely know why something is correct, I just know that it is. Perhaps I just learn better via examples or from “doing.” Someone just telling me, “This is right. This is wrong,” over and over just doesn’t seem to do the trick!

I digress!

So I’ve been severely slacking with the daily writing for the October Writing Challenge. But last night I was reading from “Bird by Bird” (which I’m very much enjoying so far, thanks to my wonderfully sweet, thoughtful cousin/best friend who purchased it for me!) and I was suddenly inspired to write about a fairly hilarious memory that popped into my head. …..

Once upon a time, I locked a handcuff around a cat’s neck. My own cat, actually. This was not done when I was a small, silly child. No, I was 16 years old, a junior in high school. What, pray tell, would prompt me to do this? I can’t quite recall now, but I imagine boredom had a lot to do with it.

It is important to note that when I slid the handcuff around said cat’s neck, I was under the impression that the key to kitty’s freedom was nearby in my brother’s room.

For most of our childhood these handcuffs hung around our house. Where they came from, I have no idea. We played cops and robbers with them, or tried locking each other to furniture before running away with the key to torment one another, but either my dad or my brother always had the key. For years and years, we could easily unlock anyone from the handcuffs.

This particular evening, I was sitting in my room, probably watching a movie or something along those lines. Really, I can’t quite recall what I was doing, but it’s obvious I was bored. I certainly didn’t want to hurt Kobe (the featured, unfortunate critter), I imagine I was just curious about how he would react. So I closed the handcuff around his neck, quite loosely, and he didn’t really seem to mind his new neckwear. He was a bit confused, and I’m sure annoyed with my antics, but he mostly just sat there and kind of wiggled his little fuzzy, grey bobtail a bit. I went across the narrow hallway to my brother’s room to retrieve the key.

“Hey where are the handcuff keys?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean? Weren’t they on your dresser?”

“Awhile ago. I think I lost them.”

“Are you serious?! I put the handcuffs on Kobe!”

“What?!” He cracked up. “Why?!”

“I don’t know, I was just dinkin’ around! Crap! Maybe Dad has them.”

We spent the next 10-15 minutes searching for the keys in any spot we could think of. No luck. Mom and Dad weren’t home at the time, but we called Dad to see if he knew where the keys were. He did not.

I can’t quite recall the following chain of events, but I know that my cousin, Daniel, ended up driving out to our house to pick me and the entrapped cat back to his house, to see if my Uncle Jeff could pick the lock somehow. Sitting in his car, holding Kobe in my lap, petting him and holding the handcuffs so they didn’t weigh down his neck, I could barely believe the predicament I’d gotten myself into. Daniel couldn’t stop laughing at me.

Uncle Jeff wasn’t able to pick the lock, and much laughter ensued. He was friends with one of the police officers in town, so he suggested I call over there to see if he was home and if he could help. If you’ve ever had to explain to a complete stranger the idiotic thing you did which defies all logic, you will understand how completely mortified I was in that moment, calling a police officer to see if he was at home so he could try to get a pair of handcuffs off my cat.

He was home, so Daniel and I went to his home where he and his family were just lounging around, enjoying a nice evening together. I’m sure they never could have guessed how their evening would end up. I sat on his couch while he sequestered his dogs to another room, while Kobe meowed and fidgeted, clearly in a tizzy about all of the activity he was experiencing.

Unfortunately, the police officer didn’t have any luck either. No key he had would fit, and he wasn’t sure what to do. Back to Uncle Jeff we went. I was beginning to think we would just have to use some kind of tool to break the metal ring off and hoping that my dad had something that would work and that my cat wouldn’t completely freak out.

Finally, Uncle Jeff was able to pick the lock. I can’t recall what tool he used, but I know that Kobe was finally free. I also knew I would never live down the moment of pure idiocy.

Sometimes years go by without this memory popping into my consciousness. Then something will trigger it and I will bust out laughing to myself all over again thinking, “I freaking handcuffed my cat.”

Lesson learned: do not play with handcuffs unless the key is in viewing range.

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