Via Gawker, news that a freaky guy who tried to turn himself into a female tiger has died, possibly a suicide. Excerpt from a friend’s obituary of Dennis “Stalking Cat” Avner:

A US Navy vet more recently working as a programmer and technician, Dennis identified strongly with his feline totem animals and in what he told me was a Huron traditional of actually adopting the physical form of ones totem, he transformed himself not just into a tiger, but a female tiger at that, blurring and exploring the gender line as much as the species line. Much of his work had been done by body modification pioneer Steve Haworth, who rebuilt Dennis’s ears, lip, nose, and face to resemble a tiger, including a multitude of transdermals that held artificial whiskers. In addition to being almost completely covered in tattoos, he’d also sculpted his face and body with extensive silicone work, had custom teeth built to emulate his inner nature, and regularly wore contact lenses and an artificial robotic tail.

And yet, he remained a middle-aged shlub who pinned a tail on his butt.

One of the best things I ever read in a newspaper was a salty takedown from a Palm Beach Post columnist back in the 1990s, who wrote about some outrage that Marilyn Manson, the Gothic pop star who was big back in the day, had pulled. Manson, born Brian Hugh Warner, had lived for a while in south Florida. The columnist, whose name I have forgotten, wrote that no matter how theatrical and outrageous Manson made himself, he would always and forever be “Brian From Boca.”

We can never fully get away from ourselves. That is our curse, but it can also be our salvation. RIP, Cat Man.