Sunday, May 17, 2009

100 Days On

Oolie, graphic effects by Photoshop.

Thursday marked 100 days since this remarkable cat wandered away into a place where I can't communicate with him. What's remarkable about that is that I noticed the occasion. I've lived with more than a dozen mammals who have pre-deceased me, and the only ones whose anniversaries of departure stick with me like this are of the two-footed variety.

Except for Oolie, the Black Freighter, evidently.

And his absence continues to have odd repercussions among the remaining cats, well beyond what we'd expect. Oolie was, unquestionably, the top cat, the ace, the big deal, the boss. Never mind that it had been years since he was physically capable of beating up anybody... his aura and attitude was all that he needed to intimidate. When he vanished, three of our five remaining cats were in a pickle: who's the boss? They still haven't figured that out! The clear favorite is big Alnitak, the tall Maine Coon with a sometimes nasty attitude -- but the other two ace-programmed males, Finn and Al's nephew, Cooper, don't seem to be willing to let that happen by fiat. There isn't constant bickering, but there isn't the common deference that there was toward Oolie.

And his absence continues to have unsettling repercussions among the remaining two-footed critters around here, too. We see him all the time, striding around the periphery of our vision.


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

When you told us Oolie had died, i wondered "How dare i feel a keen loss of a cat i only met on the freakin internet?" I figured it maybe illustrates the power of the internet, but i'm starting to think it really illustrates the power of Oolie. With the help of his Boswell. But Oolie - there's just nobody like him and if anyone would refuse to be confined by space or time, it would be he. Possibly, when told he was expected to conform to a standard afterlife, Oolie simply peed in God's shoes and convinced Him that standard parameters would not be tolerated.

Jessamyn said...

It's so hard when they go.

The Photoshop effect picture makes a wonderful portrait.

Xtreme English said...

fascinating, Sherwood. oolie has AGED in the photoshop effect picture.

ronnie said...

I miss this guy so much.

Adam said...

We've talked about this before. The black cat phenomena.

I STILL see my buddy Larry out of the corner of my little eye.

Almost daily, and it's been pert-near two years since he exchanged his 9th for what lies beyond.

Get used to it. It's a good thing.

Mike said...

What Adam said.

The great dogs (and cats) stick with us in a million ways. Mostly, I think, in the ways we relate to the others in our midst, because the great ones give us insights into how their little minds work. And in the funny things we do for the great ones that trickle down into the funny things we do for those who wouldn't have been able to persuade us on their own.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Thank you all.

Mike, having had a while to think about it, probably your loss of Destry recently set me up to notice the 100-day mark for Oolie. (Adam, you'll appreciate Mike's post on Destry, linked above, if you haven't seen it already.) And you're right about this particular trickle-down effect: as long as I've lived with cats, I never paid much attention to dominance hierarchy until Oolie came along. I do now.

Adam, you're right, it's a good thing. I still see old Boo, too, once in a while, waddling up the steps toward me when I come home after dark. Always makes me smile.

Jessamyn and Mary Ellen, I am astonished almost to the point of being creeped out by the automated portraiture gizmo on Photoshop -- and it does make him look older, doesn't it? I'll have to look at the long, long list of programmers' credits to see if there's a listing for a "D. Gray."

And Ruth, your comment had me in giggles. It put me in mind of an ancient joke with a variable punch line. In this case, that line would be, "No, that's God. He just thinks He's the Black Freighter."