If You’re Happy I’m Happy


by John Gallaher



My cat is losing his mind.  He’ll only eat from his bowl


when I walk over to it and act like I’m putting food 


in it.  There’s usually already food in it.  I stand there 


some mornings imagining it’s 2045, though I’ve never gotten 


that specific.  I’m writing a letter.  Dear so-and-so, I’m 


hungry, and I had this cat once who would only drink 


from the toilet.  I had to leave the lid up, and I had this 


recurring fear the lid would fall, killing him.  We all get 


fragile in our ways.  So I imagine all the ways I can keep 


the toilet seat from falling.  I could remove it.  Or tape.  


Or perhaps I’m just overreacting.  I’ve been told that I 


overreact.  Right now, as an example, I’m listening 


to Leonard Cohen sing, where he’s writing a letter, which 


is probably why I’m thinking of writing a letter.  Maybe 


that’s not overreacting.  I think I’m getting the concept 


all wrong, which is something that happened on Tuesday 


as well, where I conflated people watching a TV show 


about a serial killer and how we were all talking about capital 


punishment.  It felt like a connection to me, how we were 


saying this and this about hanging or firing squads, and I 


grew depressed about the human condition, and it got me 


thinking about how the serial killer was popular, that it 


seemed people liked him, and I was thinking about how 


we get ourselves to places where things like killing someone 


and bringing your own plastic splatter sheets is OK to 


watch, and maybe even while having ice cream or something.  


It’s not the same at all, I was told, how that and the one 


blank in the squad, the one blank shot, operate.  So here 


I am on Thursday, and I’m saying hello to the people I 


come across.  I’m asking them about their day, leaning in 


just a little.  It shows warmth.  It shows how we care.