“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Super Bowls, Mom & Marketing

Little Man opines…from Meathead to Monopoly.

TP: So, Little, being a Baltimore cat, I assume you got caught up in Super Bowl fever?

LM: Not me, doc. In fact, I sent mom and dad out of the house to watch it. Too much yelling and screaming. The name’s cool, though.

TP: Yes, it’s obvious you’re a fan of super sizing.

LM: Don’t get all caught up in the weight thing, doc. I’ve been tipping the scales at a very consistent “just shy of 30” all winter. Pretty good, I think, considering the loss of my little chipmunk playmates.

TP: What do you do for exercise all winter, Little Man?

LM: Not much, as you can imagine. But I like to humor dad with the occasional game of String Chase.

TP: How’s that go?

LM: Dad runs around the room dangling one of his shoelaces and I swat at it when he dangles it near me.

TP: Doesn’t sound like much of a workout.

LM: No, actually, dad works up a nice little sweat.

TP: Uh-huh. Back to the Super Bowl. Bet your dad was pretty jazzed about it.

LM: Yeah, I’ll say…paid the price the day after, though.  Too much jello, apparently.

TP: Jello?

LM: Yeah, mom was pretty miffed at him when they got home that night. Thing is, for a smart guy, dad can be a real dope. Said he thought the little cups of purple jello being passed out were, well, purple jello. Please! Anyway, let’s just say old dad wasn’t bugging me the day after about playing String Chase.

TP: Hmm.

LM: By the way, you wanna hear dopey? Last week, dad—Mr. Felix Unger Neat Freak, himself—washed his cell phone.

TP: You’re kidding.

LM: Nope. But somewhat in his defense, it was an accident. Spilled something on his jeans, panicked (as would any hyper-anal-compulsive-neat-o-phile), immediately tossed the jeans in the washing machine, with said cell phone tucked ever so carefully in the pants pocket. I love the guy, but he’s a little squirrelly sometimes. Anyway, the good news…he now has himself a spiffy new iPhone 5. He’s pretty clueless about what to do with it, but…

TP: Nice. How about your mom? Anything new with her?

LM: The usual moaning about why I love dad best and wishing she had a lap cat like that little twerp, Curly.

TP: What’s up with all that?

LM: First off, I do love her just as much as dad. It’s just different. I mean, I make sure she bookends my day, every day. She’s the only one I’ll let hold me in her lap (only for a few seconds and always at the foot of the food bowl in preparation for “second breakfast,” of course, but still…) and I absolutely insist that she be the one who tucks me into my bedtime snack each night.

TP: And that’s not enough for her, huh?

LM: Exactly. Meanwhile, dad gets it. I’m a guy’s guy. A few pats on the head, a little rough housing now and then, hangin’ together in the yard when the weather’s nice, respecting each other’s space, and NO SMOOCHING. Mom’s a regular smoochmeister. Drives me nuts. Sometimes, I think she still misses Meathead.

TP: Who is Meathead?

LM: Was, doc. Meaty’s in the big cathouse in the sky, now. Dad told me all about him, though. Meathead was mom’s cat when mom and dad first got together, like 25 years ago. Dad said I would have liked him, which says a lot, since I ain’t exactly that fond of other cats. But dad said Meathead was pretty cool. Only problem was—NO SURPRISE—mom kinda over-loved him.

TP: How so?

LM: Well, dad said every night when he got home from the office there was this incredibly delicious aroma wafting through the house. Mom was obviously cooking something great for dinner…some sort of beef or chicken dish spiced to perfection and appointed with just the right touch of wine sauce. Made your mouth water and your stomach growl just smelling it, dad said. Trouble was, it wasn’t dad’s dinner. It was Meathead’s. Mom said Meaty wouldn’t eat regular cat food. Duh, guess not, after sampling mom’s wine-sauced home cooking. (See, right there, I gotta think Meaty and I probably woulda’ got on just fine. Sounds like he knew how to work the kitchen help.) As for poor old dad, he and mom generally shared a thawed out Lean Cuisine after Meathead finished.

TP: What happened to Meathead?

LM: Meaty developed a stomach problem is what. Probably contracted the gout from all that spicy food. Anyway, old Meaty took to throwing up a lot after dinner, and that was beginning to take a toll on the carpets and the relationship. Mom eventually decided to ship him off to live on a friend’s farm. Meaty, I mean, not dad! Probably was a tough call for her. Anyway, I’m sure it was traumatic for her, giving up Meathead.

TP: Any chance Curly will come back into the picture?

LM: Nah. Made my point on that one. Besides, no way mom could pry the little imp away from Miss Genny’s Animal Paradise. Curly’s just where he needs to be. Blends right in with the two Golden Retrievers, plus they actually adopted another gold-plated kitty just for him. Get this. The other cat’s name is Yoda. Quite a pairing, don’t you think…a Jedi Master and one of the Three Stooges?

TP: Speaking of cinema characters, I heard your dad’s been encouraging you to leverage your budding celebrity into a book or TV series, maybe even make it to the big screen one day. True?

LM: Yeah, we’ve been kicking ideas around. Personally, I’m torn between an “up from the streets” retrospective of my early days on my own before I rescued mom & dad from the emptiness of a home without pets. Maybe get one of those young buck Hollywood hunks to do the voiceover; have Affleck direct it, he’s pretty hot now.

…OR…maybe I do a twist on mom’s “Show Your Soft Side” campaign for the small screen.

TP: What kind of twist?

LM: Well, you know how that campaign has all these hard men—athletes, rockers, like that—being real softies when it comes to their cats and dogs…all the while making the point that anyone who hurts animals is a punk?

TP: Sure, I know it.

LM: I’m thinking, maybe it’s time to tell a little more of the story. You know, maybe I host a Talk Show and my guests are the Softies’ pets. We get to hear their stories. How’d they hook up with their humans? What was life like before? What’s it like now, living with rock stars and sports heroes? You know, get the story behind the photograph. Maybe call it…Little Man’s Inside Scoop. Hell, think of the merchandising possibilities in the pooper-scooper market alone!

TP: Interesting.

LM: Then again, no reason not to do both! Get the Talk Show established, then come in with the movie to tell my own tale of abandonment, angst and accomplishment. From there, who knows? Cannes? Sundance? The Oscars? Groupies?

TP: You do think big, Little.

LM: Hey, on that subject, what’s up with these Monopoly boneheads? They create a bunch of hoopla about their new game piece, then (drumroll) unveil “CAT.” Could they have made it any more vanilla? Where’s the personality? Why not fat cat (I’m sure we could find some great models), or celebrity cat  (sportin’ some hip Oakleys), or cool cat  (wailin’ on some Miles Davis brass). I mean, dude, does Hasbro actually think it’s gonna sell more games because of “CAT?” Who handles marketing for that operation?

TP: I don’t know, Little Man. But we’re out of time.

LM: Yeah, okay. I gotta run anyway. Need to get mom something for Valentine’s Day so she stops moanin’ about how nobody loves her.

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