The Church of the Buttered Nose

So you start the day as you always have: you wake up to the feel of a claw piercing your internasal septum. You get out of bed, stumble down the hall, feed the cats. Pee. Open the blinds. Wander back into the kitchen; nuke a couple of muffins; mix up a bowl of oatmeal; smear butter on your nose so Chip the Cat (waiting expectantly on top of the fridge) can lick it off with his rough, radula-like tongue. Extract muffins from microwave. Load up your RSS feeds. Put the coffee on, pour a glass of OJ…

And then one day you do a double-take, and say to yourself Wait a minute — how long have I been smearing butter on my nose so that Chip could lick it off? How did that start? And why has it never occurred to me until now?

And then, if you’re especially perceptive, you may wonder How would this look to someone who hadn’t been raised in the Church of the Buttered Nose?

Of course, most people aren’t that perceptive. At least, not consciously; there must be some kind of subliminal subroutine asking that question, though, or they wouldn’t be so quick to silence anyone who voices it aloud1. We’ve always buttered our noses, you see. As long as we can remember. The origins of our ways are lost in the mists of time, but surely the very antiquity of those origins confers credibility, yes? It feels right to us.

Still. Were some naïve overnight guest to catch me in flagrante dairio, their reaction might well be “What the fuck!?”, even though my reaction to their reaction would merely be “What?” And I guess Communion, Baptism, and Human Sacrifice are the same sort of thing. I bet this is how religions (or at least, religious rituals) get started. We have always buttered our noses. What’s the big deal?

Of course, there are similarities and there are differences. Both cats and gods seem to expect absolute subservience and constant praise. Both seem capricious, quick to anger, and prone to the holding of grudges. Both demand sacrifice.

Cats aren’t omnipotent, though. That’s one big difference.

Oh, and they exist. That’s another.

1 I recently got a very huffy e-mail from someone who took exception to being described as “religious” rather than “spiritual”, evoking fond memories of The Judean People’s Front taking umbrage at being mistaken for The People’s Front of Judea. Seems to me, though, that once you’ve drunk from the Supernatural Kool-Aid, any subordinate distinctions come down to chrome and upholstery.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Sunday January 13 2008at 10:01 am , filed under ass-hamsters, misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

10 Responses to “The Church of the Buttered Nose”

  1. So it’s not wrong to put peanut butter on my penis and let my dogs clean it off? Just asking.

  2. The Church of the Buttered Nose has many denominations and rites. Here we offer up deli-style oven roasted turkey breast in return for being able to open the refrigerator and feed ourselves.
    I must also arrange my self on the love-seat appropiately when I see ‘that’ look so that She Who Rules can get into position and be brushed for as long as She desires.

  3. Once I was trying to remember the SI prefix for x10^-6, when I happened to see a cat. I asked it if it knew the symbol in question, and it told me, “μ.”

  4. Buttur on ur noze? Srsly?

    You seez a god-kitteh, I seez a fud…

  5. Your cats must use a really good toothpaste. No way in hell are mine getting anywhere near my face with their butt-licking mouths, man. Although I see no problem with laying out four individual Cheerios for my kitten every morning. I worry about her cholesterol!

  6. Cats could be omnipotent solipsists. They might not care enough to tell us that they know everything. My evidence for this is that my cat loves to lay on my research books as I read them, and seems to try to correct me by batting at my pen while I take notes.

  7. Anonymous said…
    So it’s not wrong to put peanut butter on my penis and let my dogs clean it off?

    Dear Sticky Crotch,

    It depends on your religion.

    The Cat Pope says “okay” so long as a cat is in the room, because the cat made you do it, leaving you off the hook morally.

    The PETA Cult worries that the peanut butter’s rights are being violated.

    Catholicism says it’s okay so long as you don’t enjoy it – if it’s painful and shaming, you’re fine.

    Protestantism says that the waste of peanut butter on a dog is sinful.

    Hinduism okays if the dog was your wife in your previous life, but not if the dog is of a different caste.

    The dogs have decided if you weren’t such a cheap bastard and used a better brand of peanut butter on your junk, you might be more motivated to lick your own damn genitals clean, as The Divine Pack Leader intended.

    Hope this is helpful!

    ~ Bec

  8. Poison said…

    Your cats must use a really good toothpaste. No way in hell are mine getting anywhere near my face with their butt-licking mouths, man.

    Dude, that is so gross. I would never let my cats lick their butts. That would be just disgusting.

    That’s why I do it for them.

  9. That’s why I do it for them.

    A universe full of the implacable powerful Other who provides humiliating tasks for the narrator?

  10. “A universe full of the implacable powerful Other who provides humiliating tasks for the narrator?”

    Is that the universe that’s going to be destroyed in Peter Watt’s new book, Dancing through the Sunflower Fields?