I watched “The Matrix” on Netflix the other day because I’ve only seen it 20 times or so since it came out. I find the wealth of options that streaming services offer anxiety-inducing. Call it a 20th anniversary viewing.

The sequels were dreck. I rewatched them about two years ago during an abortive suicide attempt. They couldn’t kill me, only make me wish I was dead for nearly five hours.


Anyway, the original is great, even if the story is completely absurd. Why didn’t the Machines just flush Keanu Reeves’ body down the toilet when they knew the rebels really wanted to get their hands on him? It’s not like they didn’t know exactly where he was.

Answer: Because then we’d only have a 20-minute-long movie about a computer nerd with no life and a woman named Trinity who dresses like a Bulgarian mafioso and can kick ass in slow motion.

It seems the evil agents spent an inordinate amount of time fighting cyberpunky rebels with pince-nez sunglasses, black leather trench coats and hip (for 1999) names like Cipher and Apoc.

Question: Do you think if they made “The Matrix” today, it would have a minor character named Vape and another named 5G?

If the Machines really wanted to keep humanity pacified in perpetuity, they should have just convinced people in the simulation that they were the perfect being — lazy, surly yet ultimately indifferent to your presence.
I’m talking, of course, about cats.

The Matrix would be just a two-bedroom apartment with a bay window. Bay windows are like widescreen TVs for cats. The Matrix could play squirrels frolicking and birds chirping on an endless loop. The Machines could power themselves forever, and people would stare out the window for a minute before losing interest and sleeping 22 hours.

Upon entering the Matrix, the Rebels would promptly get bored, ignore the evil agents, chew on their hind feet for a bit and settle in for a nice nap. It would be utopia. I’d willfully give my body over for that.

I’d like to think Hugo Weaving, the memorably sinister Agent Smith, would have delivered a performance just as gloriously unsettling as a guy who lives in an apartment and owns too many cats.

“I’m going to enjoy watching you die, Mr. Pickles,” he would say to his grey and black tabby as it gave him that “you’re an asshole” look from the other side of the room that all cats love to give. “I’m just kidding, Agent Smith loves Mr. Pickles. Yes, he does.”

There is a throw-away line in the movie that humans have to be miserable otherwise the simulation wouldn’t work. To that, I offer this translation of my cat at any given moment during any given day:

“Oh my god, I’m so hungry, Daddy. I’m starving. Please, I beg of you, give me some food. Just a morsel. I’ll never ask for anything else as long as I live. Yes, thank you. MMMmmmmm. This is so good. Oh look, it’s gone. Oh my god, I’m so hungry, Daddy, I’m starving …”

Read more Bear: Stalk him:

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