As a philosopher, I learn in many ways. Early this morning, I came to an important realization.
Our cat likes to jump on my bedside table at 5:20AM and rub his face against a lamp shade, bumping it loudly into the wall. The purpose is to wake me up to feed him, or let him out of the room to roam or play with his adopted brother, the upstairs cat, or sometimes I think he just wants to see if he can get me up. I'm not usually ready to get up at 5:20. And if I pick him up off the table, or brush him gently off, to stop the racket and save the lamp, he just jumps back up and goes at it again. The second or third time, he typically begins throwing books off the table, one or two at a time. Yesterday, he started with a red leather moleskin diary, then a paperback novel, then a hardcover, and finally a large hardcover. And I won't even list the pens and other assorted items he tosses onto the floor. He must have jumped onto the table 12 times. And there was quite a lot of stuff on the floor, as a result.
My daughter suggested that I use a large spray bottle of water, which she's learned he doesn't like. She suspected that would stop him. So I filled the bottle and placed it on the table at bedtime last night. When the expected 5:20 wake up event happened this morning before dawn, I emerged from a deep sleep, fumbled to get the bottle in my hand, finally managing it, and in the pitch dark, I squeezed the spray handle as hard as I could, and successfully squirted a huge amount of water right into the middle of my own face.
Well, that was a surprise that woke me up more fully than the cat. I couldn't believe what I had done. I also couldn't believe what happened next.
The cat loudly jumped off the table and went to the far side of the large bedroom, where he then stayed. I guess, at that point, he didn't know what I'd do next. Or it could be that he just didn't want to see me drench myself again, altruist that he may, deep down, be.
The moral of the story is that, sometimes, even when our actions and plans seem to fail as means to an end, the end can nonetheless still be attained. Therefore, we shouldn't prematurely label an effort a failure just because it misfires in some strange way. The ultimately desired end may yet ensue. Curiosity may take the cat off to a safe distance where he can view the proceedings in greater safety.
What's the old saying? God works in mysterious ways. So does the world. There are more ways things can develop than we initially might imagine. Even spraying yourself with cold water in the face in the dark is not necessarily the minor cat-astrophe it may at first seem.