How Oscar knocked virus off the front page

How Oscar knocked virus off the front page

And now for something lighter as we sail the coronavirus sea.

The media has become a bit of a different beast this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has crystallised our relationship with the messenger. We have relied on it heavily, watching the news through Facebook, switching on the TV to try to decipher the latest restrictions, even looking at whatever newspapers have been left standing.

We have blamed the media for our lack of toilet paper, shaken our fists at continual coronavirus coverage (before switching it off for half an hour and panicking we have missed something) and muttered under our breaths about not knowing who to trust.

Then came the great tidal wave of media cutbacks, closures and temporary stand-downs. We were puzzled and outraged, defending to the death our right to read a newspaper we no longer bought.

We do not want to pay for our news, but demand that it is produced by experienced journalists and available 24 hours a day.

What is happening to our media? Even kids' programming is feeling the pinch. Bananas can no longer afford their pyjamas. But somehow or other, we are still flooded with news.

Writing this column, I checked out the latest news on the internet. Coronavirus, coronavirus, coronavirus, football, coronavirus, Donald Trump, coronavirus. Oh wait! What's this? In a most engaging report, I learnt that Oscar the Cat, from Coolum, Queensland, had survived a hot-water wash in his owner's washing machine.

I am, as the guardian of two cantankerous black cats, fully aware of the mischief cats can get into. Just last night I came home to a husband who had lost interest in cooking the dinner, leaving some sausages in now cold water, and a pot of potatoes. On inquiry, I found he had cooked six sausages. Three were left in the pot, and the cats were nowhere to be seen.

Anyway, back to Oscar. "The poor little cat had his hands on the glass as he was doing the rotations and he was looking at me," his owner said. "It was tragic." Even at the stage in our coronavirus saga where it feels like the shower-scene music from Psycho is playing in Victoria, this is compelling stuff. If Oscar the cat can not only survive, but emerge battered and bruised and "very soft", there is hope for all of us in this spin cycle of life.

This might have been the least useful item I have read all day, but it is the one I will remember long after I've forgotten the day's tally of new corona cases in Melbourne. It's documentation of our daily lives, and it's valuable. As for Oscar, apparently he still spends his days mesmerised by the rotating world he momentarily became part of. Now that's news.

  • Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah, NSW.
This story How Oscar knocked virus off the front page first appeared on The Canberra Times.