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Putting chores on pause to view cute cat videos [For Better or Worse]

"Do you know what time it is?" Doug asked, standing in the doorway to my home office with a napkin tied around his neck, bib-style, a fork in his right hand, a knife in his left.

Instantly, I hit a key to clear my computer screen. "I'm guessing...in the neighborhood of dinnertime...?" I replied. "Sorry...I sort of lost track of time."

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I looked him square in the eye, as though I had nothing to hide.

"I guess you did lose track of time," Doug agreed, sounding a little cheesed off.

"What've you been doing in here all this time, anyway? Writing your column?" he asked. I probably should have been.

"Browsing QVC?" I freely admit that's been known to happen (and sometimes goes beyond browsing); but not that day.

"Have you been trolling dating sites for a new husband?" I'd be a liar if I said it had never crossed my mind; but no, not this time.

Fresh out of ideas, Doug knit his brow — a sign of deep thought or growing hunger, I wasn't sure which.

Suddenly, "I've got it!" he exclaimed. "You've been watching funny cat videos again!" Okay, you got me.

I don't sit down at the computer with the intention of watching funny cat videos. It happens organically. Plus, the Internet knows what you're doing and recommends similar content (i.e., more funny cat videos).

If I click on one, it leads to another, and another, and another.... Eventually, the real world, in this case, a starving husband, intrudes and I reluctantly stop clicking. Or I just fall asleep, whichever comes first.

Occasionally, even reality can't break the spell cast by adorable kitty-cat videos. But in my defense, have you ever seen an entire litter of eight-week-old Siamese kittens with their heads and eyes moving in unison as they follow the movements of something out of camera range? Even Scrooge would have to admit that's doggone delightful.

It's not only cute kitten videos that distract me from whatever I should be doing, or started out to do. Sometimes, it's the very thing I'm working on, or reading, or watching a program about, that derails my train of thought, sending it tumbling into a mental ravine.

I'll give you a for-instance: The other night I was watching an Animal Planet documentary on African fauna. When the topic turned to "big cats," I wondered how African lions were related to Bengal tigers. I went to Wikipedia, which said that lions, leopards, Bengal tigers, and jaguars are all in the same genus, Panthera.

Next, I looked up Panthera to discover the genus' common ancestor, how the different cats — including domestic ones — evolved, and how they wound up living in so many different habitats all around the world.

At that point, the Internet realized what I was doing and suggested a related subject I might find interesting: a funny cat video on YouTube. Needless to say, I missed the rest of the show.

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"So, what's for dinner?" Doug reiterated, adjusting his napkin-bib and running his knife along the edge of his fork as though sharpening it. Subtle Doug, very subtle.

"I dunno," I admitted, cueing up another amusing kitten video. "It depends."

"It depends?" he queried. "On what?"

"On what you feel like fixing," I said.

Then I started giggling. On my computer screen, a tiny Ragdoll kitten had fallen fast asleep on a Great Dane's head. And the dog didn't seem to mind at all!

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