“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’ ‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”

George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

In college, my dear friend Jerry and I were convinced we were the next big thing in rock ‘n’ roll. We had the passion, the drive, and a couple of songs that, if played in dim lighting after a few drinks, could pass for potential hits. When Jerry’s older brother offered us his house with a recording studio for the weekend, we were over the moon. But we hadn’t accounted for Nemo, the feline terror.

Nemo was no ordinary cat. He was the kind of cat that would make lions think twice. This was a cat that once cornered the neighbor in his own home, demanding respect with just a hiss and a glare. And now, he had us in his crosshairs.

The recording studio, our haven of musical genius, quickly became our cage. Every attempt to leave was thwarted by Nemo’s menacing presence. We were trapped. Two grown men, held captive by a creature the size of a shoebox.

As the hours ticked by, we realized that brute force wasn’t going to work. We needed to outwit our feline foe. And so, the great game of cat and mouse (or rather, cat and rockstars) began.

Our first plan was simple: one of us would lure Nemo into the studio with some treats while the other would dash to the safety of the house. It worked… for a while. But soon, Nemo caught on, and we found ourselves locked out of the studio, our instruments held hostage by a cat with a vendetta.

Over the weekend, this dance continued. We’d devise a new plan, outsmart Nemo for a brief moment, reclaim a part of the house, only to be outwitted again, and lose another room to his reign of terror. The kitchen, the bathroom, the living room—each became a battleground.

By Sunday evening, we were exhausted. We hadn’t recorded a single note, but we had discovered a new respect for our feline adversary and a newfound courage within ourselves. Because, as it turns out, bravery isn’t just about facing down the big challenges. Sometimes, it’s about standing up to a tiny tyrant with whiskers.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.