Dreaming of Riley's life

Published 12:23 am Monday, January 12, 2009

By Staff
On a recent walk through my dining room on my way to the kitchen, I happened to see our lazy cat stretching from the nap I had just disturbed. As she yawned and curled back up in her spot, I commented about her living the life of Riley.
I couldn't imagine why I said she was “living the life of Riley,” but I did and it got me thinking about the origin of that phrase.
I'm not sure exactly how I knew the phrase I had just used fit what I saw from my cat, but I did. I knew that when someone is said to be living the life of Riley, it means they've got it pretty good.
From what I already knew, if one is said to be living in such a way, it means they are not worried about anything - no job worries, no financial worries, no family worries - pretty much worry free and living a very easy and comfortable life.
When I checked my sources, I found out my idea on the phrase was pretty much on target. According to Wikipedia's on-line encyclopedia, the expression, “Living the life of Riley,” suggests an ideal life of prosperity and contentment, possibly living on someone else's money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or gold digging aspect, it instead implies that someone is kept or advantaged.
Yep, that's my cat. She is certainly kept and advantaged.
Every morning when I wake up, she is lying on the foot of the bed and rises only when I make a move to get up. She stretches and yawns and tries to get my attention. Before I can take two steps away from the bed, she jumps down and makes her way to the bedroom door only to turn around and give me a pretty hearty meow. That meow is meant to beckon me to follow her as she moves to the kitchen and her feeding dish.
She knows I'm the one who makes sure she gets fed every morning. If I make a stop at the kitchen sink, she stops too, only to meow in protest about the pause in our journey to the feeding dish.
Her next move is to strut to the container where her food is kept and she begins to rub against the container.
That kind of makes me a little mad. She seems to love that food container more than she loves me. She very seldom rubs against my legs.
After thinking about the “life of Riley” and how it relates to my cat, I've decided I want to come back in my next life as a cat.
Cats don't work. Mice aren't a problem at my house so our cat certainly doesn't have to worry about that. Her food is paid for and comes regularly.
I can assure you that there are times when my family has had to eat their ham and cheese sandwiches on nearly-molded hamburger buns because I forget to pick up sandwich bread at the store. However, my cat only has to worry that I forgot which brand of cat food to buy not whether or not she's going to get fed.
Cats don't have to worry about getting to their job on time since they don't have one. They only worry about which patch of sunlight will they lie in on a given day. I can imagine they may get upset when the sun moves and they have to find another window to lie in front of to get full exposure from the sunlight.
Cats don't have to respond to anything. If you want to pet them and they don't want to be petted, they simply get away from you or give you one of those “leave me alone” looks over their shoulder.
Even if you do get a chance to pet them, they can tire of it easily and get themselves out of the situation quickly. They simply jump down from your lap and move to that bright, sunshine-filled spot on the carpet.
Yep, I want to come back in my next life as a cat and have someone look after my every need. No worries about children and backpacks, no worries about where the next meal is coming from, no worries about other animals trying to do me in, no worries about getting to work on time and most of all, no worries about whether someone will be there to scratch my back when I want them to.
That's my best chance of living the life of Riley.
Lisa Tindell is the news editor for The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by email at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com.