Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Cat Man

I used to work in the headquarters of an electric company, and when I first started working there, a co-worker told me about an employee who dressed up like Rum-Tug-Tugger from "Cats" for every employee event. I thought she was pulling my leg... but then I saw the Cat. It was Christmas Eve, the day that employees traditionally bring their kids to the office and put work aside for some holiday cameraderie. There was Leon, in the lobby, resplendent in his threadbare tights and fur that had seen better days, welcoming employees' children to the building. More than one kid shrank behind his/her parent's back, and I'm sure a few had nightmares about the pot-bellied, six foot feline who meowed at them and pawed at the air.

I never actually saw Leon without his costume and makeup on, but I did have one unfortunate encounter with him at a company-sponsored event. He sidled up to me and asked if I had a cat. I said no, but I'd been thinking about it. Bad move -- he replied, "Well, put a saucer of milk out on your doorstep, and maybe I'll stop by."

A few years later, after I left the company, "Cats" closed on Broadway and I heard that they were having a charity sale of all of the costumes and props. Somehow I had suspicions, and when I read the New York Times the next day, I found a picture of Leon, in costume, shopping for new fur among the used cast materials. He was quoted, "Sometimes you're having a bad day, you put on your fur and whiskers, and things turn for the better."

When you think about it, it's a shame Leon worked in the headquarters of the electric company. With his feline skills, he'd probably serve the company better working in the field and climbing poles.

1 comment:

Coco said...

This is like a little story by Rick Moody.
(And I always feel better when I put on my whiskers)