It was the meow heard around the world. And the cat puns were out in force on The Ray D’Arcy Show, as lawyer Rod Ponton explained how he became the world’s most watched remote-working feline. It was a purrfect storm. A catastrophe. Most unfurrtunate. Rod, who hails from Texas, was jumping on a Zoom call, something which is par for the pandemic course, but on this occasion, the laptop he was using was not his own:
“I checked in on Zoom on my secretary’s computer to attend a Zoom hearing in District Court. Of course, we’re having all our court proceedings on Zoom and everything was going fine until the judge called the case and suddenly when he called the case, my face on the video turned into a cat, to my great surprise.”
The video was shared online and has become hugely popular – it’s the best thing Ray’s ever seen, he told Rod – and has been watched millions of times. So, despite his cunning disguise, there was nowhere for Rod to hide once the video went viral:
“Everybody’s seen the video now and they’ve seen me struggling to try to take the mask filter off, which I didn’t know how to do.”
Ray was amazed by the lifelike filter – “It looks so real!” – and the video is very funny, as we watch the kitten in the bottom corner realising it’s, well, a kitten. And then, as Rod says, start to try to figure out how to go back to being human.
“I think that’s why I had to tell the judge that I’m not a cat, because the cat was responding in the same way I was – would have been – if I’d been on the video.”
Although Rod told the judge that he was ready to go on with the hearing as a cat, but he managed to figure out the mask filter and was able to continue with what he called “my own boring face”. Rod’s friends and family love the video, he told Ray, but of course, the love isn’t confined to them.
“For some reason, it struck a nerve or hit a funny bone around the world, because, I think everybody needed to take a pinprick to all the tension we’ve had and I think this made everybody laugh after the tough year we’ve had. And if it’s a laugh at my expense, I’ll take it.”
Fair play to Rod, because he’s dead right: it has been a tough year and his feline performance has been a little spark in the relentless pandemic darkness. Or, as Ray put it, “It bursts the little anxious, stressful balloon that we’re all living in”.
Niall Ó Sioradáin
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