Friday, April 18, 2008

Laughingstock State: Mayor's Missing Cat Reverse 911 call

People make fun of New Jersey for a lot of reasons- the tolls, the fact that we call ourselves the Garden State when most visitors see the Blade Runner-esque refineries around Newark Airport, and the game of "guess that smell" when driving along the Turnpike. Maybe it's our Gay American ex-Governor who disgraced us by trying to put a foreign national boy toy in the position of Homeland Security, if he'd assume another position first; or our current Governor, the billionaire buffoon who won't wear a seat belt, and would rather shut down state parks than cut entitlements.

But there are many good reasons to mock this corrupt, bizarre Babylon, and you won't find them in Weird NJ magazine.

For example, across the river from where I grew up is the town of North Arlington. The Mayor, one Peter Massa, decided to use the town's Reverse 911 Alert system for that greatest of all emergencies, a missing cat.

NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. — While Pennsylvanians are getting automated calls urging them to support Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, citizens of North Arlington, N.J., are receiving similar "robocalls" urging voters to help find a lost cat named "Max."

It's not just any kitty. It's the 20-pound Maine coon belonging to Mayor Peter Massa and his wife, Val.

The calls were set up by Borough Administrator Terence Wall.

The mayor tells The Record of Bergen County he paid about $10 for AUDIOListen to send the message to each of the 8,500 registered voters in the community Wednesday.

The Massas are also offering a $500 reward for anyone who finds the 14-year-old cat.

Imagine getting that call on the phone. "Citizens, this is your mayor speaking. Can you please help find my kitty?" The best part is that they found the cat in his house, less than a day later.

(04-17) 17:39 PDT NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. (AP) --

Mayor Peter Massa put out a citywide cat call when his Maine Coon disappeared. Massa had an automatic call sent to 8,500 voters on Wednesday asking for help finding Max.

Turns out he didn't have to look that far. Massa's wife, Val, says 14-year-old Max was found inside a wall of their house Thursday morning. He had been missing since Tuesday.

Val Massa says she doesn't know how the 20-pound cat got in the 5-inch hole under the stairs. Max was dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise fine.

The Massas had also offered a $500 reward.

I wonder if he paid another $10 to tell everyone they found the cat in their house. "Hello citizens of North Arlington. We have, um, found our snoogums. He was in the house. Thank you for your support. Remember, if you lose your cat... well, tough shit."

I grew up across the river from North Arlington. It's a little podunk town between Lyndhurst and Kearney, probably most famous for having sinkholes swallow entire homes, because it's built on top of an abandoned copper mine from the 1700's. It's a nice enough place, and is home to the most parklike section of the Meadowlands, a marsh bird sanctuary known as DeKorte Park.

Hopefully the mayor will keep a better eye on his cat. It's not like Maine Coons are tiny and quiet. I rescued one once. Sortof. I was going to my friend Peter "Bloodsport" Dell'Orto's house for a quiet night of the Dungeons and the Dragons back in high school, when a big-ass cat pads up to me in their driveway. He was very friendly and tried to follow me in. A week later he had the run of the house with their other cats and dog, Rebel the Great Dane-German Shepherd mix, an enormous lovable doofus a la Marmaduke. They named him Fester, as in Uncle Fester, not because he had festering sores. He did have a few thousand fleas, however. He lived a long happy life as an enormous, friendly yet scary-looking cat or pygmy tiger. He was kind of cat whose paws hurt when he sat on your lap. But he wasn't roly-poly. I can imagine him crawling into a wall, but he'd probably have gnawed his way out and pooped a huge white sheet-rock turd in the litterbox.

That being said, I'm glad Reverse-911 is being used to save lives and protect New Jerseyans, at least the kind who poop in a box.


Peter Dell'Orto said...

Dude, we were playing GURPS by that point, not AD&D.

But Fester was sure stinky...

(Heheh, assume another position. Heheheh.)

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