Bone Pointing, Toilet Tissue Anxiety, Finding Fritzie and more.

Hello all!

I hope this finds you as well—and as healthy—as can be. Strange times we’re in! I know it hasn't been that long since my last update, but it feels like a million years. So I thought I'd touch base with a couple new stories that might be both useful and entertaining.

Below you'll also find the full text of an essay I did for the Star Tribune about the time we lost our cat.

Please take care and keep your distance--socially, if not emotionally! Hopefully things will have returned to semi-normal by the next time around.

Frank

[Sign from a convenience store near Mt. Fuji, Japan, via Engrish.com]

NEW STORIES

Life Without Toilet Paper Is Better (Vice)

A Cut Above: This Woman Gives Free Haircuts to Those Less Fortunate and Her Simple Act of Kindness is Starting to Spread (Reader's Digest)

Finding Fritzie: It didn't take long for this stray cat to find a way into a man's heart (Star Tribune, text below)

A River of Darkness: Q&A with author Peter Heller (Star Tribune)

RUNNING STORIES:

Somali running legend Abdi Bile lands in Minneapolis. His friendship with Mayor Jacob Frey was the spark. (Star Tribune)

Five Kilometers of Conversation (Star Tribune) [This project has now gone virtual.]

NEWS & ESCAPES

Selective Hearing: On the specious new history podcasts (Harper’s)

Australian Bone Pointing and Psychogenic Death (Wikipedia)

Game Zero: Spread of virus linked to Champions League match (AP)

Great running film that just came to YouTube: Unbreakable: The Western States 100

Finding Fritzie

A few years ago, a kitten showed up on our doorstep.

He had six toes, tuxedo colors and a personality much bigger than his size. As he wandered from house to house, the whole neighborhood fell in love with him. We already had three cats, and the last thing we wanted was another. But he quickly went from sleeping on our back stoop to sleeping wherever he wanted.

We called him Fritzie. Whenever you called his name, he came running as fast as he could. He walked with us to the bus stop in the morning, then home again. He threw his toys in the air and chased them. He followed us around like a dog.

Fritzie lived at our house for most of that summer. Then one day we tried to call him in the house before dark, but he didn’t come.

I looked through the house. He wasn’t there.

I went up and down our alley, calling his name.

The next day I searched the blocks near ours.

I knew he couldn’t have gone far, but there was no question: Fritzie was gone.

Losing a pet is not like losing a person. They feel like a member of the family, but we know they’re not. We feel we have to win their love. When they run, it’s like they’re saying we’re not good enough, that there is a better life out there.

Some days I imagined Fritzie out in the world, roaming free, finding some new, better owner. Other days, I pictured him cowering under a bridge, trying to cross a busy street, or scavenging for food in a world that would never love him as much as we did.

When a pet runs, we are reminded of all they do for us.

Not long after Fritzie disappeared, I was in a park by our house when I saw two young girls running and looking up in the trees. When they stopped, I asked what they were looking for. They pointed up to a medium-sized bird.

“Our parrot flew out the front door.”

“Can you call him?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “He’s not trained.”

There was no hope of getting their bird back, but they followed him anyway. I understood the urge.

When I was their age, I had a dog that ran away all the time. He would walk out to the edge of our unfenced yard and look back to see if anyone had heard his chain jingle. If not, he would keep going. Sometimes he came back. But more often I would wander up and down the alleys, calling his name, worried that I would never see him again.

I remembered my old dog as I wandered up and down alleys looking for Friztie. I spent weeks riding my bike and calling his name.

I put up posters. I chased leads. I found other cats the same color.

After a month, I resigned myself to the fact that he was gone, but I still kept looking. The year had been a hard one, and the idea lodged in my head that nothing would be right until we found Fritzie. Like he was a missing piece in the puzzle of our lives.

I knew this wasn’t true, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. So I searched every alley within half a mile of our home, knowing that a few seconds could make the difference.

One day I stopped at a hot dog shop near where we lived. I asked if I could put up a flier. The next day I got a call from one of the cooks, saying he’d seen Fritizie in an area where I hadn’t looked for him, across a busy street.

I crossed the street and stapled a “Lost Cat” sign on a light pole. A few days later, the phone rang.

“I think I’ve got your cat!” the woman on the line said.

My daughter and I went up to see if it was him. When we opened the door, there he was, six toes and all.

He’d been in her home almost the entire month. To her, he’d been a stray needing help, just like he’d been to us. But over the summer, he’d become so much more than that.

“We called him Floydie,” the woman told us.

It was a good name. But it wasn’t his.

Frank Bures is a writer and author who lives in Minneapolis. With Fritzie, of course.

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