Friday, April 23, 2010


Fans of the edgy television series Fringe are well familiar with Walter. Walter Bishop is a modern day mad scientist, freely mixing psychedelic drugs and cutting edge science, and amply seasoned with dry humor. Walter is an intriguing character, wonderfully portrayed by John Noble, who also portrayed the mad steward of Gondor, Denethor, in The Lord of the Rings.

Sally and I are watching the first season of Fringe, thanks to Netflix. In the episode we watched last night, Walter's son, Peter, chides his father to remember which toothbrush is which. "The red toothbrush isn't yours, Walter." Walter turns to the other main character and says, "White, W for Walter. That's me, right?"

I decided that Walter would be a great new name for our 11 year old cat, pictured here making himself comfortable on my Butler sweatshirt. The cat hasn't acquired a new moniker in years, and may be due. We first knew the cat as Casper, which was the name given him by Sally's parents, Joe and Cleo, when they adopted him from the Humane Society of Western Colorado. We're unsure what he was called before that. When we rescued Casper from Cleo in December of 2004 we changed his name, befitting his change (improvement) in circumstances. We rejected "Bob", briefly considered because of his owl-like head movements when attempting to focus his eyes, and instead settled on "Taj Mahal." Given his coloration and 15 pound girth, the name seemed to fit.

Soon enough Taj acquired an additional name. His dignified bearing and utter disdain for the dogs led first Erin, and then the rest of us, to call him "Mr. Cat." Eventually that was shortened to "Mister", to which he is most often referred at present.

Last night opened yet another chapter in the Mister's saga. I couldn't find him. He didn't come in the house at bedtime, as is his custom, nor did he answer my hissing calls with his customary collar-jangling shake of the head. I checked in all of his customary hideouts upstairs and down, but he wasn't to be found. I got up at 10, and 11, and 2, but without result. When Sally let the dogs out at 5, the cat was still AWOL. As I shuffled into the kitchen I told her, "He's either stuck in someone's garage, or the worst has happened.... Or perhaps he's sitting at the top of the basement steps!" There he was, looking somewhat perturbed.

With last night's Fringe in mind, given his white coloration, I thought, "White, W for Walter." The cat is, after all, a bit looney. But, with a look of disdain, Mister dissented. "Me? Looney? I'm not the one who went to the door at 10, 11, 2 and 5 looking for a cat who was already inside."

As he turned and ambled away, I could swear he called me a name....


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