This is something I realized the other day as Steve and I were driving around. There are currently no famous animals for us to think about, and I think that's why the world has been kind of sad lately. There's no Rin Tin Tin, no Flipper, no Morris, no Koko, no Benji, no Seabiscuit, and now no Pulpo Paul. We have no one.
What's so great about famous animals? Well I'll tell you. Famous animals are the best type of celebrities. They're well-known because they work hard at whatever they do, racing or doing sign language or selling cat food or saving us from the enemy or prognosticating, yet they never let their fame get to their heads. How could they, after all. I mean, what's the worst thing an egomaniacal animal can do? Prance around all fancy? That's much preferable to appearing on "Dancing with the Stars" or calling the paparazzi before you leave the house or selling your baby pictures to tabloids or whatever human celebrities do to try and get our attention.
Plus it's just fun, from a human perspective, to have animal heroes. There's something a little silly in putting a horse on the cover of a magazine, but in a good way. Life is good when nothing awful in the world is going on that would restrict you from making an animal the number one discussion point of the day. And instead of worrying about your bills and health, it's strangely comforting to think, "Hmm, I wonder what the dog from 'Frasier' would be up to right now? Causing trouble, I bet!"
Since Paul the prognosticating octopus died, though, we don't have a celebrity animal to worship, and we obviously need one, stat. I would of course nominate my dog, as he is very special, but I know that he prefers a quiet life, one away from the spotlight. I don't think all the attention would do him well. On the other hand, I have a cat who I don't think would mind fame and fortune, but if I'm being honest, I don't think she has the star power. I think Bo the Obama's dog is the closest thing we currently have, and that's fine, he's cute, but he's more of a Dog of Note than a Famous Dog.
You'd think with Youtube we'd have more animal celebrities: after all, there's Maru, and the salsa dog, and my favorite, the talking cat, but I think Youtube has merely created a collection of mini-animal-stars, not ones that your grandma or boss would know.
All I'm saying is, I think the arrival of some sort of hero fish/dog/ape/cat/bird/etc will signal a return to happier, simpler, perhaps stupider but infinitely better times.