Never before have I found myself in a situation where my pet is more popular, famous and media-savvy than I am.
Let me explain.
I think I've mentioned Graeme Riley, Ace of Cats here before, our adorable, lap-sitting, chocolate-eating, cardigan-raping moggy. He's something of a local celebrity because of his habit of hanging around the train station, soaking up the sun and rubbing up against commuters in the hopes of food and affection. Something, I must point out, that is apparently fine for a cat to do, but if I was to try it I'd be in a magistrate's court. Where's the justice?
Anyway, the loveable scamp is very popular around these parts. And apparently that soupcon of popularity is all you need to become a state-wide sensation in this X Factor era.
Exhibit A: Today's Herald Sun, with an online story and video of Graeme that mirrors a page 3 story about him in the actual newspaper.
That's right, page 3 - after the football, but before anything that could actually be called news.
This isn't the first time we've been approached by the media about Graeme - earlier this year there was some interest in putting him into some train-platform-safety posters, because he always sits behind the yellow line when prowling the platforms, and as a result the local Leader paper and (I think) Channel 9 both expressed an interest in doing a story. We didn't much like the idea of putting him on TV, and we couldn't get organised with the Leader journalists, so that all fell through. Then on Thursday, N. got a call from the Sun's transport/tech journalist, wanting to do a small article on Graeme as a feel-good piece, probably prompted by a couple of mentions of him in the letter pages of MX. We were a bit hesitant, but in the end decided we'd allow it because it would only be a tiny little thing.
Page 3. A story about our cat covers 80% of page 3 of Victoria's most popular newspaper.
There's really no way to make sense of that, other than to throw your hands up in disbelief, laminate the page for posterity and post about it on Facebook, where Graeme's fan page has accumulated some 40 new followers, none of whom we know. People are talking about him, and the tangled webs of FB conversations and Twitterstreams are revealing that a bunch of people in this neighbourhood know Graeme, or us, or people we know, or just like talking about pussy cats on the interwebs.
We're thinking of making T-shirts and selling them to the locals. Probably without mentioning what he'd do to the shirts if he was alone with them. That aspect of his character was left out of the piece.
Am I jealous of my cat's sudden burst of fame? Not really; I'll wait until he releases a book before I get envious. Am I worried that someone will snatch him off the street to hold him for ransom, or because they want to own the famous Page 3 Cat? Um... yeah, a little. People are weird, especially Herald Sun readers. We asked them to hold back a few details, like our suburb and the station he hangs out at, which mollifies me a bit, but it's still going to be a nervous week or two around Home Base Graeme.
So anyhoo, that's our brush with fame this weekend. Tune in next weekend when Graeme cuts a single with Beyonce, the Australian does an article about the plastic magpies across the street, and I make a plea for understanding in my public transport frottage case. Come on, it's just as cute when I do it, surely.