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I grew up on network television cartoons.  In the days before cable stations devoted entirely to animated shows, we would rush home after school to catch Inspector Gadget, Thundercats, She-Rah, and of course, He-Man.  (All this was, of course, before I left school to be educated at home, but that’s not the point here.)  This isn’t even going into the early morning cartoons, that we’d try to catch before heading out the door.  Some of them were truly awesome, and some I honestly wonder, watching them now, what we ever saw in them then (I’m looking at you, Smurfs).   In addition to be being entertaining, they were, at times, also extremely educational.  If it hadn’t been for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for instance, how many of us would actually remember those fine Renaissance painters?  And what about all the sword-wielding skills we picked up from Lion-o?  Huh?  Who could live without those?  Most importantly, though, they taught us to never, ever, ever, put mustard on the cat.

I’ll explain.  About 10 years ago, one of my niece’s showed me a page from the Flying Moose of Nargothrond called “Don’t Put Mustard on the Cat“.  Its basic premise is that while every episode of He-Man ended with a moral, some were amazingly well suited to the theme of that particular show, while others seemed to be delivering general, generic pointers on how not to be stupid, having little or nothing to do with the episode.  It’s true.  Trust me.  Since reading this delightful little posting, we have taken to using the more kid-friendly phrase, “And don’t put mustard on the cat,” in place of the more common, “No shit, Sherlock” (pardon my French).  For instance, if one of my children, my 4 year old, say, said he was contemplating taking a jump from the top bunk to the crib (which is on the other side of the room) using a superhero cape to help him fly, I might tell him not to because it’s a bad idea, give him the whole explanation as to why it’s a bad a idea, and end with, “And don’t put mustard on the cat.”  This usually results in a couple of raised eyebrows and wondering looks from the kids, along with a giggle at how silly mommy is being, talking about cats and mustard, and the bad idea is, for the moment, put to bed.

Today, I had to remind myself of these words.  Last night, after being up and about, running around, having a grand old St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to try to finish the Superhero’s knee high blue kilt hose that I’ve been working on for the past month or so.  These socks should not have taken this long.  They should have been finished within the week I started them, but I got a little distracted, what with writing this blog and all, and so here I was, the end of St. Patrick’s Day, with one last, unfinished pair of socks out of the three pairs I had set out to make for the boys starting in September of last year, hence my need to finish.   The Superhero could not be the only one without his kilt hose to wear to Mass the day after St. Patrick’s Day.  I started working on them right after the kids went to bed, and before I knew it, they were finished!  Then I looked at the clock.  It was 4:35 AM, Sunday morning, and I had to be up for Mass in about three hours.  That’s when it hit me, cartoon moral style:

He-Man:
Hey Bridget!  Mom’s of small children who plan
on going to the 8:45 Sunday morning Mass shouldn’t stay
up until 4:35 Sunday morning to finish knitting a pair of
socks, no matter how awesome they’ll look with that kilt!
You’ll pay for it for the rest of the day.
And oh, by the way, “don’t put mustard on the cat!”

Me (cheesy, overly-enthusiastic smile):
Thanks, He-Man!

Have you ever had a “Don’t put mustard on the cat” moment?  C’mon, you know you want to share it.

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