This was something of a shock, but not in an unpleasant way. Discovering that there were actually people inside the suits is something akin to finding out how a magic trick works. For me, it adds to the enjoyment to realize the cleverness that underlies the illusion. (Finding out how they sawed a lady in half came as quite a relief, to be honest. One, it was a bit disturbing before I knew how it was done, and two, I could never understand how they kept finding new ladies every show.) On the other hand, I can certainly see how others may not like to know; I apologize to those readers for whom I’ve ruined the mystery and magic of the giant dancing cell phones.
Where was I? Right … memory lane.
As it happens, I’ve dabbled in the field of mascots/spokespersonas myself. I think my first foray into the wonderful world of constumitry was as Budman in the Idaho State University Homecoming parade. The costume essentially consisted of red long underwear, blue moon-boots (blue moon-boots, you saw me standing alone ...) , a cape, and a mask. The distributor paid me in beer – I believe it was a couple of cases of Budweiser and a couple of cases of Mickey’s quarts (this was back in the day before the 40 came along … when I went to college, they had barely invented beer, fergawdsake).
What’s the beer we drink and drink until we can not see?
M-I-C … K-E-Y … Q-U-A-R-T!
Mickey’s quarts (Schaefer Light!)
Mickey’s quarts! (Schaefer Light!)
Until we reach the point of ecstasy …
Above: Actual picture of me, after running through cartoonerizing software.
My second gig was as a giant yellow canary, which was the mascot for the restaurant for which I worked, named, oddly enough, Canary’s. That turned out to not be nearly as enjoyable as my Budman experience, for several reasons. Firstly, it was at a football game inside
The third time wasn’t actually anything official, though I still put it on my resumé as relevant experience. Somehow, we wound up with one of those giant Rainier beer bottles for a while (the ones in the old commercials, where they'd show a herd of grazing pounder bottles out in a field), and so from time to time, there would be drunken strolls through the streets of Pocatello. ‘Nuff said.
The only downside to my little jaunt through the past is that it forced me to wonder how I’d fallen from where I was then to where I am now. I had it all … youth, dreams, experience, and an opportunity to make it big. There was talk in the industry, I tell you. “You hear about this Acorn kid out of Idaho?” I’d overhear at industry trade shows. “They say he’s good … real good. Could be the best some day.” God, what’s become of me?
It’s too late, I know … at least for me. But not for those kids. After a little thought, I ran back down to Wireless Toyz, walked up to them, told them that they were doing great and to not ever lose the dream, and walked away. I think, to them, it must have been like Ted Williams showing up at your Little League game and saying “nice swing, kid.” (This assumes that you played in Little League when Ted Williams was alive. If he showed up after he died, that would just be freaky, especially if it was only his cryogenically frozen head.) They were obviously in awe, judging from their speechlessness. I feel a little better about myself.