“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Slippery Slopes, Cat Cafes & The Amish

Coming soon to a couch near you.

TP: Come on in, Little. Do I detect a bit of spring in your step?

LM: You do love your little clichés, don’t you, doc? Yes, spring has finally sprung. Chipmunk season is officially open. And yours truly is on the case.

TP: Yes, I saw a particularly sporty shot of you in hunt mode the other day. What was it, on Facebook? You looked feisty. Maybe even a bit trimmer?

LM: Nice try, doc. No. No trimmer. In fact, the last time dad and I visited the vet, ol’ Doctor Evan didn’t even bother to weigh me.

TP: No weigh-in?

LM: Nope. Evan and dad pretty much did a simultaneous he-looks-about-the-same-to-me shrug and sent me on my way. Think they’re finally gettin’ the message…I’m a big boy, and it suits me.

TP: It is true; some people just tend to be, how should I say, husky. And they look good that way.

LM: Right. Lots of famous fatties. Sydney Greenstreet, Jackie Gleason, Tony Soprano—big guys who knew how to carry it. Belushi was another one. That actor, John Goodman, the great W.C. Fields, Zach something-or-other from those Hangover movies…it’s quite a list. And how about the ladies—Aretha, the Queen of Soul. That’s a lot of woman! She wears her lbs with more than just a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

TP: True, but you still want to try and keep a lid on it.

LM: Sure. Listen, it’s okay by me if some of these fatties wanna trim down a bit, but what gets me is the ones who decide to drop a few pounds but then can’t stop themselves.

TP: I know what you mean. They end up looking, well, odd.

LM: I’ll say. This one guy, I think maybe he’s a preacher…Reverend Sharptones or something like that? Anyway, that dude might have been too heavy before, but now he looks like a stick figure with a Mr. Potato Head. He looks wrong, know what I mean? This weight loss business can be a slippery slope, doc.

TP: Yes, but apparently you needn’t worry about sliding down it, Little. So what else is going on?

LM: Well, I have to admit to being a little bummed that I don’t live in New York.

TP: Why’s that?

LM: Cat cafes, doc. You haven’t heard about this?

TP: (Shaking his head.) Guess I missed it.

LM: Yeh. Apparently they’ve been around awhile. Started in Japan of all places.

TP: Japan? Don’t they eat cats and dogs?

LM: I’ve heard that too, doc, but this isn’t that kind of café. No, you go to these places to be with cats, not saute them. Anyway…London recently opened one with some fancy Lady Di-type name. San Francisco’s gonna be opening one this summer, called (how’s this for Left Coast creativity), KitTea. Anyway, The Big Apple’s testing the concept.

TP: So what exactly is it…the concept, I mean?

LM: This is beautiful…people pony up five or ten bucks to hang out with cats for an hour or so. Do you believe it? I mean this is right up there with painted rocks!

TP: That’s it? “Starbucks” with a cover charge. Brilliant.

LM: Signature drinks, too, of course.  Catachino, anyone?

TP: Funny.

LM: Funny? Money, you mean. Imagine the possibilities, doc, if you add in a little personality, like umm, not just any cat but the Tony Soprano of cats—I can think of one hunk of mansome (you’re lookin’ at him) who could fit that bill. Or how about tapping into some kitty’s 15 minutes of fame, like that cat who saved the kid on the bike the other day when the neighbor’s dog went after him. You saw that, right? To quote dad, that’s a badass cat-and-a-half. I bet people would pay a little extra to give that hard-nosed little dude an attaboy.

TP: That was pretty amazing.

LM: I mean, doc, you get some celebrity cats involved and, kerching-kerching, the cover charge is gonna ratchet waaay up.

TP: You’re probably right, Little. Americans do love celebrity.

LM: Of course, doc! Signed photographs of famous cats who’ve been here on the walls; maybe cool caticatures adding a decorative touch, like in that place, The Palm. And how about live entertainment? Hell, doc…you and me?…we could take this Little Man On The Couch gig on tour.

TP: It’s not a gig, Little Man.

LM: (Ignoring that.) Picture it. “This Saturday, LIVE, Little Man and his therapist On KitTea’s Couch.”

TP: That’s not the proper forum for professional therapy, Little.

LM: Slap yourself right now, doc. I’m serious…do it! Come to your senses, man. We could be big. If Dr. Phil thought like you, he’d still be working out of some office park in Oklahoma offering advice to Farmer Bert and his wife, Abigail.

I swear, doc, sometimes I think you’re gonna end up like that guy in the Beatles song (what’s it called—all the lonely people, or something like that?) You wanna end up like Father Mackenzie, “darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there?”

We could do this, doc. Really!

TP: (Chuckles.) You’re on a roll, today, Little Man.

LM: Seriously, doc. Besides we don’t have to literally do “our On The Couch sessions” at the cafes. We could invite colorful locals on, maybe go with a talk show format. Be a great way to connect to the hometown scene and still be building our rep across the fruited plain.

TP: Colorful locals, eh?

LM: Sure. Colorful characters are everywhere. Cats…and dogs! I hear from a handful every week…and all I have now is a puny little website. Imagine if we raised our profile!

There’s this one cat up north, for example, contacted me recently. Name’s Archie, after a Lakota Medicine Man, whose name was Archie Fire Lame Deer. Gotta be a story behind a screwball name like that.

Or Griffin, who recently had a near-death experience. His human thinks he’s only got one life left. Hell, ol’ Griffin could be good for several sessions. (He recently asked me for your number, by the way. Think he’s a little depressed about the obvious thinning of his margin of error. You only get nine lives, right?)

There’s also Delilah, the pit bull. She’s a therapy dog. You know she’ll have some stories. Or how about entrepreneurs, like Oskar The Blind Cat (mom got me one of his paw-made rocket ship toys—pretty cool) and Rein Drop, who hawks (duh) rain gear.

My point, doc, is we could take a show on the Cat Café Road. I’m thinking a win-win for everybody. Hey, maybe even toss in a little romance. I get hit on a lot. This one chippie, named Ruby, just sent me a very fetching little snap of her cute tabby self.

TP: OK, Little. Point made. How about we keep tabs (no tabby pun intended) on the burgeoning cat café market and talk about it more next time?

LM: Fair enough, doc.

TP: Anything else on your agenda before we wrap up for today?

LM: Nah, nothing that can’t hold till next time.

TP: Nothing new with your friend, Miss Genny?

LM: Jeez, doc, that’s not a subject for wrap-up time. That woman’s full session material.

TP: Give me a little taster before you leave.

LM: OK. Apparently, her and her husband are going Amish.

TP: Amish?

LM: Yeh. Somethin’ about losing their cable connections the other day because the roofers screwed up. So she sends her husband out to fix it himself, rather than wait for the cable guy, and hubby manages to cut some other line. Bye-bye phone service. They keep this up and my old friend, Curly, will be makin’ his next visit to the vet by horse-and-buggy. Bet the little stooge misses me now.

TP: I’ll bet he does too, Little. See you next time.

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