We have four cats in the Ross household. That’s four more than I would like, but when it comes to pets in the house, I’m usually outvoted 700-to-1 by my wife and my progeny.

The four cats have different reactions to laser pointers. Katara will chase the red dot as long as you’re willing to play the game. Marco prefers to hide and pounce. Bitsy will chase it unless another cat wants to play, then she’ll go off to the side.

Then there’s Mochi. He will chase the dot for maybe 15 seconds before he decides he’s too fat for this and he doesn’t want to play the game anymore.

At one time in my life, I was Katara. My energy for pursuing bright shiny objects was limitless. I was the kind of guy who ran up staircases two steps at a time. Today, my legs aren’t what they used to be and other parts of my body go on a wildcat strike every now and then.

So I guess today I’m more like Mochi. I pick and choose what red dots I have the energy to chase. Eventually I get tired of the game.

There are a lot of red dots out there now. The list begins with climate change and impeachment, which dominate news coverage nationally and internationally.

Closer to home, we have politics, taxes, education, the economy, roads, infrastructure and drug abuse, to name a few. Very few of us can chase all these dots at once, but in the news business we try to help you decide which if any you will chase today.

Here in my seventh decade of life, I tend to take my eyes off the dot and look for the laser pointer itself.

Who, I wonder, has his finger on the button, and why is he playing this game with me?

The analogy is starting to break down, so it’s time to get to the point: We as individuals can’t chase every red dot on our floor, no matter what other people expect of us. This isn’t to say that it’s not important to know what’s going on in general with climate change or impeachment or whatever. However, there are too many people with laser pointers playing chase the dot with us.

One of my former editors encouraged me to look for the why in the news. Why is this happening now? Who benefits? As I do that, I look more at the person holding the laser pointer and less on the dot itself.

As a side note, some people like to chase the red dot of outrage, so I wondered if I would have to deal with complaints about Mochi’s name. We gave Mochi his name because it was a more affectionate way of saying “mocha,” the beverage that is a blend of chocolate and coffee. Mochi was light brown as a kitten, and his color has darkened as he has aged, so it seemed like a good name.

But in preparing this column, I thought I had better check with urbandictionary.com to see if “mochi” had a slang meaning that was crude or vulgar or worse. “Mochi” seems to be OK, but “mocha” itself has acquired one that may be a problem with some people. Overall, though, both “mocha” and “mochi” have acceptable meanings.

It looks like that’s one dot that I won’t need to deal with.

Jim Ross is Opinion Page editor of The Herald-Dispatch. His email is jross@hdmediallc.com. He is on Twitter @JimRoss9.

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