I'm reading John Grogan's Marley & Me, the ridiculously bestselling story of life with a problematic yet wonderful yellow lab. As a cat lover, I am bound by the Feline/Canine Parity Act to remind all of you that there was another Marley & Me, or rather Marley & We: an orange tabby named Marley who belonged to me and my college roommate Kristin.
Like Grogan, we got our Marley in 1991. And like Grogan, we named him Marley after Bob Marley, whose greatest hits album was playing in the tape deck in my car when we took him home. It's there that the similarities end. We got him from a lady with bad makeup who ran an antique shop on West Seventh Street in St. Paul. She had a litter of kittens in a cage in the back and when we asked to look at Marley she said, "Oh, you mean the one without a tail?" That sealed it. That and the fact that we had a coupon; we got him on discount. I lost "custody" of Marley when Kristin and I were no longer roommates, but he went on to live a long, fat, comfy life as a house cat. Though I prefer to remember him this way: