What paint is on your masterpiece?

What does it take to create a masterpiece?

Eccentricity? Genius? Originality?

What if laziness, insanity, and a general lack of respect could do the trick?

I guess it depends on what your definition of “masterpiece” is.

Lately – if you’re perusing for inspired disgust – there have been some real works of brilliance. Surprisingly, a local virtuoso topped the list.

“Cat Scratch Fever in White” is not only an acclaimed work of performance art, it is in fact its own real-life exhibit located in Preston. This eye-opening story is the living depiction of a man who struggled courageously in the depths of winter to survive among the dozens of pets and farm animals he willfully neglected. This gallant individual sat for months surrounded by heaped-over litter boxes, garbage piles, scattered feces and 17 cats that were ravenous from starvation. In the end, our hero was rewarded with freedom from his self-imposed prison, and his furry enemies were left to cower and die in the cold. Hurray!

Thumbs up to “Cat Scratch.” It is both the remains and a brutal indicator of one man’s uncommon dedication to sloth, apathy and self-determination – he had me at “Smell-o.”


You just read a (hopefully) satirical review of a real and horrific event I witnessed last week.

It was awful.

Starving cats scurrying around in squalor probably wasn’t even close to the worst thing the SPCA or the Sheriff’s Department had ever seen, but it shocked me. It’s shocking that this person had only been gone from the house for a week (let’s just say this empire was not built in a day). It’s shocking to see that someone could be so cruel.

It might shock you that I’ve tried to make light of the whole ordeal, considering its admitted effect on me.

That’s the point.

Why do people do what they do – knowing it’s wrong? Why do people work so hard at being ghastly and why does everyone else accept their behavior?

If the dungeon keeper in Preston focused as much energy on being clean and caring as he did on being grotesque and careless, he would have been Bob Barker, reminding us to spay and neuter our pets. The reality is he wasn’t arrested and he currently has a host of other animals living with somewhere else.

Pushing the envelope is exciting. Walking on the wild side can be fun. Drinking half-and-half straight can be daring. Let’s put it this way: Living by your own rules is obviously refreshing and empowering – and that’s how masterpieces are created. But when do we decide that enough is enough – in our own lives and everybody else’s?

We have to find a balance between deviance and normalcy. Because I worry that people like the cat-man in Preston used to be like you and me.

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