Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Street Cat Named Bob

I always feel more relaxed after disconnecting my brain from work (and life in general) by reading a book. I've done less and less reading over the years, simply due to a perceived lack of time.

When Friday ebbed away, launching a three-day weekend, I resolved to head out to the local diner for a cheap dinner with a book on my Kindle. I posted on Facebook for suggestions (thanks everyone!). I now have a list of books to read in the future. When I logged into, there was this auto-generated suggestion for me, based on things I'd looked at in the past, online:

Photo from the online ChinaDaily

A Street Cat Named Bob was a great little book (and in large type via Kindle!). For anyone who has read Jackson Galaxy's bio, "Cat Daddy," the story will sound similar. However, in "A Street Cat Named Bob" the tale has been boiled down to simpler elements. The first thing I did upon finishing the book was to jump online and go look for the YouTube videos it mentioned.

Here is a UK media article about James and Bob. And here are a couple YouTube videos of the pair. A post-book video

And a pre-book video

While James did know that travelers had taken photos and videos of the two of them on the street, he only learned Bob was a bit of an internet sensation until passersby mentioned that they had learned of him via YouTube.

When you see the difference between James' hungry and drug-ravaged face in his pre-book video, and his relaxed and filled-out body at the book signing, it's clear how having Bob, a few dollars in his pocket, a little food, and the taming of two huge devils in his life (separation from his family, and drug recovery), have improved his health. Let's hope he continues to "keep it simple" and doesn't let the larger media monsters (the suggested movie) destroy his life, and his story.

Kudos and blessings to the literary agent and publisher of the British version of "Marley and Me," who stopped and talked to him, and helped to continue to change his life, by encouraging him to write his small book. Certainly The Big Issue, which gave him an legit street job deserves a shout out.

I think the word "inspiring" is overused, sadly. Let me just say that I felt, in all the online hype about cats, both bashing by the negative/cat haters, and the gushing by the promoters of the "overcute" online kitty videos and photos, it was heart-mending to read a story that so clearly illustrated what probably many hundreds of thousands of people have experienced but can't articulate: that indescribable contentment we experience when a cat shows, by the little things he does, that he loves us back.

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