Ed. Note - Like all those trashy, sensationalistic,
weekly supermarket tabloids, we too now enlist our own special source
-- "Deep Purr" -- to reveal the real deal about the legendary
enigmatic journalist known to his legion of fans as "Race Track
Deep Purr, alias Syd The Cat, has actually lived with Norm Hacking for
more than a dozen years, and has finally decided to "go public",
with the following riveting exposé simply titled:
Who is Race Track Hack?
by Syd The Cat
Norm Hacking is very big. Very.
Sometimes, while I am sunning my big hairy orange butt in a windowpane
of sunlight cast upon the livingroom carpet, he shows up and blocks
out the sun!
This scares some of my cat friends, but Norm Hacking has shown himself
to be a most gentle giant over the years, so I'm not scared.
He's got pretty long fur for a human.
I think he wears his hair and beard long because it pisses off the
grownups, and makes them uncomfortable. I know that some mornings when
I lick his face to wake him, I often get a tonguefull of bear hairs.
Let's face it, we all look different - two legs, four legs, tail, no
tail, skinny, fat, black, white, orange
it doesn't really matter.
My guess is Race Track Hack, alias Norm Hacking, alias the Hack, wears
his girth and his long fur like a challenge to people, daring them to
look past and inside. The ones who do make the best friends.
Race Track Hack is 45 years old - that's 315 in cat years. Some mornings,
after a night out with Irish Irving, Fat Phil and Rodney L.T. Coombs
he looks much older.
He was born in 1950 to a litter of one, in the wilds of Scarborough.
Though I was not around yet, reports were that he was a rather large
and naughty kitten. His mother raised him with fierce pride after his
daddy tomcat split. His family "pride" of cats also included
Grandmother Ella, Grandfather Ivan, and Uncle John.
I've always been jealous of him for that. I can't even remember my
family, having been a Cabbagetown street cat since my early youth. But,
except for his absent tomcat sire, the Hack grew up surrounded by the
support of his family, and this made him feel like he could like the
We first met while I was between residences. My last fixed address
in Cabbagetown had become a non-option, after I went next door and ate
Arnold the Goldfish.
I hated to eat and run, but the heat was definitely on, so I took it
on the lam, a poor orange fugitive. And there was Race Track Hack, to
offer me a hideout 'til the whole thing blew over. Funny though, after
the heat was off, I kinda decided to keep hanging around anyway. Race
Track Hack never said a word.
He even started buying cat food, though aspiring singer-songwriter-poet-actor-journalists
don't usually have much extra disposable income.
When he went 'on the road' he left me in charge. When his music gigs
were in Toronto, I hung out with him and Randall McCorriston, Fat Phil,
Tall Tom. When Rodney L.T. Coombs was around I always split -- I didn't
like the way he looked at me. It made me nervous.
Just when I was settling into our life as bachelor tomcats in a downtown
apartment, a blonde lady moved in. Next thing you know, we're sleepin'
three-in-a-bed instead of two! Then comes a new human kitten (normally
I would have resented this, but the kid was born with orange hair, so
that was ok by me).
The blonde even goes out and acquires a couple more cats - The Flea
and Malone - and I start to figure it's gettin' a little crowded around
A lotta years passed, and I started to notice I wasn't as quick off
the mark when I was out mousing. We moved a few times, and the blonde
left, and Race Track Hack got a little bigger, a little slower, and
his long brown fur started turning a little grey.
But not much else changed.
When you ask me "Who is Race Track Hack?" I'd say he's about
the same. He's very big, with long fur, and he's still busy, like everybody
else, creating a life as he goes along. Only difference is, his sometimes
ends up in a song, or a poem, or a newspaper column.
Hell, he's even written a couple of columns and songs about me! That's
why I know he must be a great writer.