“At your own risk.” I’m sure that’s been said to you more than a couple times over your life. I don’t think anything in this life is worry or pain free. Well, this little post will confirm to you that this adage definitely applies to anthropomorphic characters too. Here are three little incidents that show this to be so true.
First off, all three things happened to the same character. I don’t know if that means anything. It’s my big yellow bird, Iggy. I don’t think it does really. Other than in two of the cases, it was the design of the character suit that “allowed” what happened to happen. The third incident could have happened to any of my characters quite easily. In fact in that one regard, its so surprising it’s only happened that once. Given the thousands of shows I’ve done over my over twenty years plus of performing, you’d have thought just once was a impossibility in itself. Yet at the same time, who could ever imagine? Now to detail and explain these three things that happened to you.
At the conclusion of a one-year old's birthday party, Iggy was asked to take pictures with the kids of the party, one-by-one. Not unusual thing there. It doesn’t happen at every party but it does happen a lot. Because Iggy is so big, he usually sits down “Indian-style” with his long legs crossed for more comfortable and better positioned pictures to be taken. When it came time for the birthday child, he was placed in Iggy’s lap just as all the others had been. As pictures were being snapped by both parents and grandparents, a very “terrible” noise is heard.
“BRAAPP!” Is the sound that comes from the birthday child’s back side. We all know what has just happened. There is no doubt whatsoever! And yes, it was loud enough for all in the immediate area to hear it. All the picture-takers sure did! I, as Iggy, don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Most everyone else that heard it is laughing out loud. Yea, yea, sure it’s funny to you, I’m thinking, but he’s in MY lap!
To explain, if you haven’t already guessed it, the baby just dropped one heck of a load in his diaper. This is not good for one poor bird. It’s the end of this party. But I still had another one still to go to that day. If the worst has happened, Iggy’s got a real problem. You can’t go to a party covered in…well, you know…
Well, praise somebody, God, the Higher Power, but there was no mess. Heaven’s knows there should have been! Based on what I heard and even felt a little bit. At the time my legs were a fluorescent orange colored pair of tights with round ringlets placed along the length of my legs. The tights were as my skin and I could feel the energy of the baby’s dropping of his load. Please trust me there SHOULD have been a major disaster here. As Iggy handed the baby back he said laughingly but truly relieved at the same time to the mother…nervously chuckling.
:”I think the diddie held!”
That is my one and only incident like that in all my years of character shows. When I first started in helping Santa, I was told that that was going to happen, it HAD to happen. That was relating only to Santa too by the way. The question was only when. Well, up to that time I guess I led a charmed life. I still think so in one way because as I write this I’m still unsoiled; at least by that way. Now the next incident happened after that particular incident but years later. The one I’ll tell you about after this one also happened years after that. In fact, it was only a couple years ago in recent work.
Once again on the floor in that same exact position. The kids at this party were almost all babies so that was my best way to relate to them. If I stood and be my natural tall bird self, I’s by a giant to these little kids. I sang some songs as I do and as I just finished my songs a little Sheltie collie walks into the room and basically heads right for me. I’m sure its thinking who or what is this thing that’s in my house. It was friendly it didn’t bark at me or act aggressive in any way. I think it was more curious than anything else. The question, even all these years later is how curious was it after all?
You see, he, I am ASSUMING it was a he, went right up to me and proceeded to sniff me in a very sensitive and inappropriate place. Again, I am in my orange tights so I am extremely vulnerable to say the least. If his investigations lead to anything else, I will sure the heck know it immediately! My biggest worry was an investigatory bite or nibble if it were to occur. That will not be something I’ll be able to ignore or shrug off. I might not have to do the falsetto voice any more. I’ll be able to do it naturally.
Thankfully sniffing was all he did do. Iggy made the comment to no one in particular that he did like doggies and they like him. The little dog was gently picked up by one of the adults and taken to somewhere else. I didn’t see him again for the rest of the party. What can I tell you, us furries are so lovable, we are.
The final incident I want to share is one that happened only about a couple years ago. This one gave me three immediate emotions at one time. I felt laughter, though I did not give away any outward emotion whatsoever. I felt real anger, as that "all right, that’s it", even for little kids. And, I also had one of the biggest surprises ever of my whole life! I can tell you I never had this kind of thing ever enter my thoughts as a possibility of any kind. Goes to show you, you DO never know!
For a third time the character is Iggy. The suit is now mine that I’ve had for many years now. The other one had been the company’s that I had been working for. They are similar but still a bit different from each other. The main difference is the lower body leggings. As said, the old ones were orange tights with cloth ringlets you put on over them. Three on each leg. Mine now are made of a short pile, also a fluorescent orange color, plush fake fur with the ringlets a part of the whole body stocking. It has an elastic waist so they’re much like a pair of pants, only skin tight and not loose like a real pair of pants would be. The bottom of the body is open and rounded for slipping over your head to put on just like the other one had been.
Iggy and the kids were playing games with a parachute at a very large kid’s birthday party at about four in the afternoon. As parties go, a count of around fifteen or so is a pretty standard sized number of kids. This party had a number closer to twenty-five if not maybe a few more. All the kids and Iggy were holding the parachute by its little handles along it’s edge and we were shaking the parachute to make a little stuffed toy bunny rabbit go down the hole that’s there in the center of the parachute. This is something I do at nearly every birthday party I do. So it’s true, I’ve done this “thousands of times”, literally.
As Iggy is standing there he feels a kid crawl between his legs. That has happened many times, no surprise there. Little kids being little kids. Iggy doesn’t even give it a second thought really. But then, poor Iggy does have something happen that even to this day he cannot believe that it happened but it did.
Iggy was groped! Plain and simple, no bones about it, no there’s no mistake or misunderstanding about it. The kid's hand reached up and “copped a feel of Iggy’s “jewels”. Yes they were covered by the orange fur, but still. The sweet and definitely innocent bird was just “violated”! As we were shaking the parachute it was fairly easy to catch a glimpse of the “offender” as we played the game with no apparent reaction from me. It was a boy of I’d say of eight or nine years of age. I'll allow him the innocence of childhood still, but, he was old enough to know exactly what he was doing.
So, in a split second I have to decide what the heck to do. Say something, say nothing or say something away from everybody later, heck. I don’t know? I decide that to say anything would literally open up the proverbial “can of worms” that could so easily backfire and end up “biting me in the ass” so I say nothing, do nothing. I go through the entire party with no further incidents. I guess the boy’s curiosity had been satisfied. I did tell my agent who sent me out on the show what had happened. She felt that what I did, or didn’t do really, was probably the best course to have gone.
What else can I say? That IS one for the books! As stated at the start of this little tale, “…besides, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it!”
Semper Furry! –Me Furry