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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Complaints From An Ex-Mascot

I have just recently undergone the absolute, most lashing insult that one could be exposed to. I was mascot last year. The pride of the school. The unfailing force of spirit that charged the crowd into its pandemonium of oohs, aahs, and unleashed cheers.
For those of you who don't know. Harding's mascot is a large bison named, "Buff". Yes, I glare with pride when I write that I was Buff. -And what a tremendous time I had. I could go on and on with all the stunts I pulled. I wish I had this blog then, last fall, during my mascoting season. I will leave my description at a minimum and say that within the buffalo suit I became the beast I always wanted to act as. Wild, unruly, delightfully goofy and completely irrepressible, I wooed women, ticked-off coaches, high-fived fans, picked fights with the band nerds, poked security guards in the stomach, harassed deans and professors, and more importantly, got down on such a level that all the kids at the game could fully understand. In short, I made mascoting an art form. No mascot could dance better than Buff could when I was in that suit.
Well, this year I decided to officially go about the thing. I decided to get acquainted with the cheerleading coach. Last year, I was informally the mascot. I just sort of heard of their great need for a mascot, so I would show up and do my stuff. I walked into the cheerleading coach's office. She was every thing I expected. A post-cheerleader herself whose silken hair was beginning to slowly grey. Whose once beaming face, now carried a few wrinkles. Who once was socialite queen, was now the bossiest griping tyrant of her household. For some intuitive reason, I didn't reveal that I was last year's mascot. I immediately asked her if they needed a mascot this year. She responded with enthusiasm, that they were desperate for a mascot. The she asked me if I was mascot back in high school. I responded that I was for a year. Which was Goldie the Northview High Cougar.
Then things got prickily. She went on to describe what she envisioned the mascot to be. She did this by stating what the mascot should never be. She used last year's mascot as the only example.
"What I envision for the mascot is...." she began, ".....well.... last year we had this guy," her voice trailed to a disgusted annoyance, "who would mess with the band, the coaches, the players, and would toy with equipment...we certainly do not want a mascot like that. A mascot is supposed to be tough. Not goofy and stupid. The mascot's name is Buff. He's supposed to be macho. 3 years ago in chapel, if you were there, the mascot strutted out on stage very tough-like. Then he did a peace sign to the crowd. He was cool. I guess what I'm trying to say is the mascot should be just like that....very cool."
I felt the blood rushing to my head. Her whole idea of a mascot sounded lame to me. I swallowed what little spit was left from my dry mouth and spoke up very calmly. "That's interesting, in high school I was always told that the mascot was supposed to be the clown and jester of the field."
She retorted. "Yeah, he can be funny. But not rolling, tripping on the ground. There's a balance there. They have mascot schools for this sort of thing. It's an art form, really." This sent my heart racing. Inside, I had so many objections; outside, I had the calmest, coolest expression, acting as if her words meant nothing to me. She went on.
"Maybe in high school its okay to be silly, but at the college level...all the mascots are tough and macho. Look at the Razorback mascot...." She gave other examples that I don't remember. And I can't help but wonder what she thinks about all the good, famous mascots that are nothing but comic relief during the games. But I kept silent.
Next, she in her desk, impersonated how her ideal mascot would strut with her shoulders moving very confidentily and gangster like. Then she impersonated its negative behavior, the way the mascot walked last year, she bobbed her shoulders very clumsily and I could have sworn, I heard a "duh, duh, duh" along with her reenactment. Still she continued to rant, as though after a year's time she was not over how horrible the mascot was last year. I asked her explicitly what the mascot had done, as though curious at her obvious irritation. She said that he would actually tap the back of the football players' helmets when they sat on the bench, and when they'd turn around he would act as though he didn't do it." - I couldn't recall doing anything of the sort, but that doesn't mean that I didn't do it.
"He messed up the kicker's practice net by jumping into it." -That one I remembered.
"He drove the coach's golf cart around." -That one I also remembered. I sat there trying desperately not to grin. With these antics she listed, I would give a bewildered, "really?"
All up to this point was pretty clean and really no offense was taken on my side, but then she preceded to hit me down deep in the heart. She continued.
"I mean this guy last year...I got to the point while I was sitting in the stands watching him, I would wish that he would just sit down." -That was the first ruthless jab. Followed by the next. She spoke thus: "I was embarrassed to be from Harding. That mascot was embarrassing me and the entire school!"
I tried all I could to keep from wincing with these sharp words she was saying. Then I asked as if also annoyed, "Man, who was that guy?"
"Honestly," she said, "no one really knows. He was a mystery. This guy would just show up near the beginning of the game and throw on the Bison suit, and go out and then he would return the suit without anyone ever seeing him." I acted surprised.
Then she talked about how delighted she was that I was interested in being the mascot, seeing how desperate they were. And she asked me if I was, indeed, interested. I told her that I was. All the while I was thinking underneath how I was going to have the last laugh on this one. She said, "Great!"
Then she said that that very afternoon I could meet some of the cheerleaders and try on the suit, if I wanted. I said that I had alot of work that day and that unfortunately I couldn't meet. For I really believe that some of the cheerleaders did see me last year and would give me away.
Finally, she asked for my name. At his point I was ready for I sort of sensed a devious plot had formed in my mind, "Ron Jensen." I responded. She got my number and then she looked me square in the eye and said, "Ron, I want you to be the mascot." I smiled back and said thanks and told her that I'd see her at the game Saturday as I walked out of her office.
My plans were to show up at the game, put on the suit once again and act just as stupid and as idiotic as I'd done before. However, after reflecting on everything that passed, I feel embittered and realize that there's no way I'm sweating in that suit if I get no appreciation. If I can't have my fun without someone whining, then Harding won't have a mascot. They can try to get another dull, totally boring mascot to act cool and strut if they want but somehow I find it next to impossible to try to make a big, furry, cartoon-like, man-cow look anything but silly. This mascot's gone on strike!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Another Post Finally

Dear reader,
I am having the hardest time writing. I do not have any difficulty thinking up subject matter. I'm afraid that I don't have the time for exposing that subject matter. It's not that I'm up to my ears in busyness, however, it's just that I find myself burdened with scrupulous, middling school work that zaps a man's productive energies. It's not that I lack creativity nor ideas, either. Trust me, I have quite a substantial doseage of creativity wanting to pore out every facet that I put my mind to, that I find it hard to function in society. The imagination is a captivating body of water. Those who plunge in may never return to the surface world of the rest of society. With eyes turned backwards, that person will never walk like they do, talk like they do, eat like them, sleep like them, and so on. I cannot write my papers the way the academia would like me too. I cannot learn the grammatical rudiments of a language very well. I cannot in every single circumstance whether in the classroom or in the social hall, keep from wanting to do something totally bizarre and off-the-wall. And the more pressured and trapped I become, the more I feel like doing even more bizarre things.
It's been such an eventful summer. I'm hardly over it. I forgot what it was like to spend so much energy on trivial things, ( all very necessary to get that nice little slip of paper called a degree.)
Yes, I've grown lazy over the summer. And tend to crave those days where I have absolutely nothing to do. And on those special days, all that I hope to do is just that.....absolutely nothing. So instead of writing or reading, I would find the time walking around looking for other people who like doing absolutely nothing, also, and both of us, or the group of us, if lucky, supporting each other in our inactivity. -And if alone, then I can make proper use of my time daydreaming. My favorite past time. I can sit in one place for the longest time thinking about nothing. Just letting my mind wander.
But, I conclude, saying that I've finally gotten down to writing again. I feel that I must in order to keep my sanity. Or at least the 2/3rds that's there. I've noticed in the past half a year or so of keeping up a blog that turning to the pen or the keyboard sort of releases most of my darker moods. It refreshes my mind to a point where I feel freer. Writing gives wings for those who are tired of their feet. So, I say all that only to say that I want to be writing more and should be but I'm so freaking lazy. I have so much to tell......There I already feel better.