Ellie told me that when she was young, her mother and stepdad decided a pet would give her something to love and would also teach her responsibility. Without asking her, they bought her a hamster. Ellie hated the hamster. It smelled bad, wasn’t at all cuddly, and she had to clean the cage every day, which sometimes she forgot to do, and then she would get in trouble. Every night she wished that hamster would die. One night she went to bed, hating the hamster as usual. “I really wished the hamster would die,” she told me, “and I could feel it, here.” She was holding her stomach and laughing. The next morning: stone cold dead hamster.
Years later her friend Tandy was going though an unpleasant divorce that was dragging on. Each day Tandy came to work with a new injustice to complain about. The day came when Tandy ran through her litany of grievances and then said, “I wish he would just disappear.”
“Maybe," Ellie said, “but you're not feeling it.”