If Itzhak Perlman Is Performing On TV Right Now, Who Is Feeding My Cat?Commentary • Opinion • ISSUE 45•08 • Feb 18, 2009 By Leonard Cooke Boy am I steamed. I finally get the chance to go on a little vacation for a couple of days, but instead of relaxing, I'm just a tightly wound ball of anxiety. I turned off all my appliances before I left, stored my valuables in a safe place, threw away all my perishable food items, and I thought, I thought I made the necessary arrangements to have my neighbor and international violin sensation Itzhak Perlman feed my cat.Turns out, the preeminent violinist of our time is a big fat flake. Because, as it so happens, I turned on the television just now, flipped to PBS, and there he was: Itzhak Perlman, sitting in his little chair and playing his little fiddle at the Copenhagen Concert Hall, live. Uh, Itzhak, you forgetting something? Like Boswell maybe? I remember our conversation quite clearly. I said, "Hey, Itzhak, I don't know if you're busy dazzling millions of people with your prodigious interpretations of Stravinsky or whatever, but I'm going away for a few days, and if you could feed Boswell I would really appreciate it." And Itzhak said, yes, he'd love to feed Boswell. He even said that he would clean out his litter box.Fast-forward three days later, and here I am watching the guy play an uplifting, hour-long concerto about 2,500 miles from my poor cat's unopened cans of Fancy Feast.You know, he could have just said no. I realize that people are busy working, or taking care of their kids, or teaching a master class of violinists that the Adagio of Paganini's First Concerto should never be played tepidly. I get that. And even though Itzhak owes me because I let him borrow my Igloo cooler for his camping trip last summer, I still would have understood. But it turns out you can't trust a grown adult who studied at Juilliard with such modern legends as Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay to handle feeding a cat for three days.I guess Boswell's life just isn't that important to him. Maybe I should have said, "Hey, Itzhak, could you feed my 300-year-old Stradivarius violin for a couple of days?" I bet that would have kept him in the United States for the weekend.He left me no warning, no voice mail. Not even a little, "Leonard, Itzhak here. Just realized I got a gig this weekend. Can't feed the Bozman. See ya." That would have been completely fine. But instead, I have to turn on PBS's Great Performances to find out that the reigning virtuoso of classical violin has totally screwed me over.Man, what an irresponsible asshole Itzhak Perlman ended up being. A good violin player, sure, but all things considered, a real shit neighbor.Let's see, if my calculations are correct, and Itzhak left for Copenhagen a day early so he could really get a feel for the sound and acoustics of the hall, and factoring in that he's playing the Elgar—a concerto that, lucky me, is twice as long as anything by Bach or Mozart—and considering that the prima donna hasn't even gotten to his big cadenza in the third movement yet....Boswell has probably not eaten anything for a day and a half, maybe two. My cat could be dead right now. Dead. He might have collapsed after pawing at the door, waiting for Itzhak Perlman to walk in with a tin can of succulent turkey and gravy. But no, Boswell, Itzhak Perlman isn't coming. No, Mr. Undeniable Master of the Demanding Final Movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto decided to run off to another continent. He's too busy enchanting thousands of people with his superb finger work, his awe-inspiring musical interpretation, his ability to paint a beautiful picture with just a few strings and a bow, and . Hold on a minute. Is that premier American jazz musician Wynton Marsalis sitting behind him, playing trumpet? Jesus Christ, then who the hell is sorting my mail? Is my mail just piling up? That really burns my . Is that? Did Plácido Domingo just walk out on stage to sing the role of Cavaradossi in Tosca? Then who, may I ask, is going to make sure my car is on the right side of the road for Sunday street cleaning?Here I was thinking I had these great friends whom I could count on in life, but when it comes down to it, they're just too wrapped up in themselves to give a damn. I'm going to have to fly back. This is unbelievable. Un-fucking-believable. Way to go, Itzhak, you ruined my entire vacation to Myrtle Beach. Ruined it! I was really looking forward to going swimming with the dolphins tomorrow, but because of the irresponsible actions of a certain world-renown violinist I know, I am going to go home and feed my damn cat.Or maybe I can get my brother-in-law, NBC Nightly News lead anchor Brian Williams, to do it.