Believe it or not the high-point of my circus-world life was when I was a mascot for a Fortune 50 firm. I know the whole concept of being a ‘professional’ mascot is akin to that of being a ‘pro’ wrestler except that in my case the blood, sweat and TERRORS were REAL. In truth, I wanted to be the best ten foot hunk of flaccid flannel in a stove pipe hat that I could truly be. That way I could show the youth that their dreams too, could be crushed, wrinkled and stink before they ever began just like mine.
I was an easy choice as a last minute balding eagle fill-in for a formal dinner event since I am already classed by zoologists as a sweaty Yeti with a bird-brain, receding hairline, and dimly lit wits. I knew I was in trouble though when the four foot head had a built-in water collar, battery pack and MUFFIN fan devoid of even a single blueberry. Who voluntarily commits themselves to being ‘birdied’ alive in an eagle cocoon without baked goods or at least a bag of field mouse jerky for sustenance?
Except for my diaper, typically I can get into all of my regular clothes without help as long as the ventilation mechanics of said garments are zippy and below the beltline. However this hulking bag of feathers required a strap-on ice vest around my torso just so I wouldn’t overheat, topple and turn that elegant eagle into a deadly duck. The ZOOt-suit was so unwieldy that an attendant was always supposed to be in tow to prevent me from crushing small children, tripping, or flicking my unfettered feathered girth into someone’s face in haste for a taste.
As with all enlightened plans this one soon turned towards the dark side as well. After frightening an already lost, small child into hysterics, I shoved my bulbous downy carcass away from the unpopulated hallway through a very convenient unlocked door. While my helper searched for the whiny kid’s parents, I marveled at my rather smooth and unobtrusive James Bond get-away, particularly since I was in gargantuan eagle drag. Unfortunately that door however, led right into the main dining room with dozens of too-tightly spaced round tables brimming with hungry guests eating their fancy feast – at least temporarily.
Like any freshly bagged big bird, I whirled, wedged, whisked and spun in hopes of an easy escape. As sweat quickly blurred my already limited eagle vision, I had no idea where I was going as I bumped blindly through that maze of chair legs, fancy hair, and faces full of food. Other than my own grunts of confused exasperation, it seemed as if the only noise in the room was the BACK HALF of me leaving eagle droppings behind in a wake of collateral damage. Needless to say, two escorts each quickly grabbed a wing and showed me the way back to my nest to get undressed. Hmmm… what a FOWLed up life! I not only didn’t make Eagle Scout, but oddly I never again was asked to reprise my role as an eagle mascot either.