Friday, July 17, 2009

My True Calling

I walked down the street at lunch today to Wireless Toyz to get a memory chip for my phone, and was treated to a little trip down memory lane as an unexpected bonus. I’ve previously mentioned the giant dancing cell phones (there are 2 now!) as things that make me smile when I really don’t feel like smiling. When I see them in a good mood, I often actually burst out laughing. Well, today, as I got close to the store, I noticed by the back door … TWO KIDS PUTTING THE PHONE SUITS ON!

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 Minidome Holt Arena (the first indoor collegiate football facility!), which they generally keep at a balmy 110 degrees. Being inside a giant fucking bird suit does not help. Secondly, the head on this thing was HUGE … the shape was not unlike that of Tweety Bird. So wherever I’d go, people were calling me names and telling me to get the hell out of there. Since I like to look at things in a positive light, I’ve always considered it an exercise in marriage preparation. Lastly, they insisted in paying me via my regular paycheck, so there was an extra step or two involved in turning it into a tangible and usable asset (i.e. beer).

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.

1 comment:

P77 said...

You are an inspiration to us all, Acorn.
I myself donned a gigantic keebler elf head one Saturday afternoon at the grocery store where I worked when in high school. I couldn't see anything below chest level which rendered me completely defenseless when three little kids started socking me in the jewels. Once I regained my composure (and my breath) I turned the corner into the bread aisle and promptly tripped over a bread rack, landing face (elfin-clad) first on the floor. Took that job once. Once.