Things, stuff, and other items of interest

December 1, 2009

"Why I hate puppet shows" - or - "Puppets, public humiliation, and the morbidly obese"

As the URL of this site already makes the implication, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am accurately described as "portly plus". A large lad if you will, a gentleman of considerable substance, an enthusiastic epicurean, a walking-talking-cookie-apocalypse, a disproportionately proportioned person, a voluminous bon-vivant. But I digress....

I don't raise this point in order to draw unwanted attention to my chiseled pear shaped physique, but rather to establish some credibility with you the reader. I need you to understand that I have some level of expertise in the area of recognizing, identifying and describing those of us on the "prep-the-defibrillator" end of the BMI spectrum. It is necessary for me to establish this credibility, in order for you to gain a full appreciation of the facts and details in the story that follows.

Some years ago, I was invited to participate in a social outing by a buddy of mine with whom I worked. We had, on occasion quaffed the occasional brew while lobbing small aerodynamic missiles in the past, and I had already become familiar with his friends and chums that made up his social circle. It's worth mentioning, that my buddy was older than I, as was his circle of friends, by a span not measured in weeks, months or even years, but rather decades. This hadn't been an impediment to establishing what I thought of as a cordial demeanor amongst the group, which it sometimes can be among small groups made up of individuals with a wide range of ages.

To my great surprise, my friend hadn't invited me to the annual dart tourney but rather to an event with a decidedly more cultured air about it. It seemed, that the ladies of the group had convinced my friend to accompany them to one of the local theater productions. For one reason or another, he grudgingly agreed only to discover that he was the sole male attendee for the soirée. In what can only be described as complete panic, he beseeched his male friends to lend a hand and accompany him in what was shaping up to be "ladies night at the theater". All too predictably, they declined. If only I had had the good sense to do the same.

What can I say? He made a convincing argument. The show was to be a comedy. A one man show put on by a performer my friend had previously seen. He went on to describe the performer as an artist of considerable talent, who was known to possess a dry, sarcastic wit. The last time the peformer had brought his show to town, it had sold out in hours and had received great reviews.  I like to think of myself as a man willing to approach new experiences with an open mind. He made the whole event sound intriguing, plus I'd be helping out a pal. Like so many three-card-monte victims have discovered before me, there's a sucker born every minute. I agreed, despite what seemed like an exorbitant ticket price, I was assured the show would be well worth it.

The evening in question arrived, and our motley crew began to assemble outside the theater. I had never been to this particular theater before and to be honest, I felt a little out of my element. This served to create a feeling of mild anxiety that only hindsight can now identify as a physical manifestation of what is referred to in literary terms as foreshadowing. It was then that I found out that a new comer had been added to the familiar faces I had already come to know. It is now good reader, that I need you to wipe your mind free of preconceived notions and images, and let me try to paint a picture for you with my words. What can only be described as a modern day bipedal mastodon began to lumber over to our group with all the alacrity of a on coming glacier. Such was the girth of this person that I was not immediately able to identify it's gender, only once I heard it's shrill "fingernails-on-chalkboard" giggles and tee-hee's did I correctly associate it with the fairer sex. A word I use with the utmost caution, and in it's purest most clinical application.

I do not want to seem rude, boorish, or shallow. I try not make a habit of judging people by their appearance, but in certain cases one is simply overwhelmed. Well what would you do if you were face to face with what appeared to be a creature that defied and seemed to ridicule the principles of natural selection? Had someone tried to convince me that the human skeletal structure was capable of functioning under such duress, I simply wouldn't have believed them. Having the argument forced upon you with such empirical evidence all at once, is positively discombobulating. To be honest, I'm pleased I didn't just wet myself right there and then from pure shock. Ah, this was but the first of many surprises in store for me on this particular eve.

Recovering poorly from my initial surprise, we began to enter the lobby where a pre-show party was under way. This was an unexpected discovery for me, as this entire theatrical adventure was something of a learning experience. Over the next half and hour, I had opportunity to speak with the new arrival. I'll call her "Darwin" for the purposes of this recounting, I don't actually recall her real name. For thirty agonizingly long minutes, Darwin described to me in "Doctor-Patient" detail her variety of medical woes. Ranging from the predictable obesity issues, to more intimate health problems that I had mistakenly considered too private in nature for public discourse. Put simply, the content of these descriptions could have made the inmates on death row blush. I have no doubt that my own complexion was glowing something akin to a search & rescue helicopter spotlight.

They finally began to let the crowd in, and it was then that I truly discovered just what kind of a "buddy" I had. It seemed, through some sort of fluke happenstance, that Darwin and I were to sit next to each other during the show. Now I have already pointed out, that I am not a small fellow. I believe I have sufficiently belaboured the point that Darwin was not what most people would consider 'petite'. Either one of us, individually, would have brought a nervous sweat to the brows of the other theater patrons who had the misfortune to sit next to us. Combining both of us in the same row of seating? Well... I probably wasn't the only one who began to grow concerned for the structural integrity of the seating platforms.

I'm not really sure how I endured the next two hours. (TWO HOURS!) The artist of much renown? He was something of a disappointment when he was revealed as a perverted puppeteer who apparently had given up his comedic roots in order to write, direct and perform his own show. A show based around the sexual assault of a 'straight' youthful puppet by militant homosexual puppets. A plot, that he took great care in depicting as graphically as possible within the confines of the puppeteering art form. Picture a dark demented  mix of Jim Henson caliber puppets, Brokeback Mountain, and a snuff film. Far be it for me to criticize the artistic endeavours of such a deranged, bold "artist", but at the risk of once again appearing to be closed minded & judgmental I would be putting it mildly if I said the show did not appeal to my tastes.

Darwin was a real trooper, she managed to stay awake for ten whole minutes before she (I shit you not) passed out from fatigue at having to climb the twenty or so stairs to our seats. It was a solid ten more minutes before I realized that the noise I was hearing wasn't part of the performance, but rather some odd combination of whale-song and snoring that had been coming from her wide-open maw. I'm a little surprised that I didn't pick up on this earlier, as the rivulets of spittle and drool that were now covering her corpulent jowels, were a dead give away. Naturally, this was only to be expected when one became aware that her head tipped back and was now propped up by only the folds of fat protruding from her neck. Bowing to peer pressure from the variety of looks of both disdain and abject terror from those immediately around us, I applied the only remedy that presented itself to me by elbowing her repeatedly in what passed for her torso. To absolutely no ones surprise, this has no affect what so ever. She continued to enjoy an hour and a half long respite from the demands of social conformity, and woke up near the end of the show only after the volume of her snoring became so fierce that it started to compete with the theaters sound system.

Two hours after it began, the artist was bowing to a standing ovation as I was bolting for the door. I never saw Darwin again, nor have I returned to that theater. I've developed an instinctual, visceral loathing for puppets, and a deep-rooted phobia of recordings of under water whale songs. My "work-buddy" and I no longer speak to each other very often, and I never again accepted any of his invitations to any social events. I wish I could tell you that this story is something I made up, a work of fiction,  but sadly that's not the case. I only just remembered it as I was channel surfing the other day, and happened to notice "The Muppet Show". Later, when I awoke on the floor in the middle of a pool of my own sweat, the story came back to me.


CT said...

Holy crap! Exactly how long ago was this? I can't imagine you staying put for two hours of that.

Dave said...

Hopefully this experience hasn't made all of the arts a fearsome experience for you... It's been a while since you'visited the cube

you think your "work" friend (with his extra long fingernails and "full" head of hair) will peruse your site?

Unknown said...

@CT: This probably happened about 6 or 7 years ago. Take that with a grain of salt, I'm not entirely sure when it was. There was snow, so that narrows it down to 10 out of the 12 months.

In hindsight, I'm kind of surprised I sat through all of that as well to be honest. I guess it was sort of like a train wreck, you just couldn't tear your eyes away. That and the show was bad too. :)

Truth be told, the show only got really weird in the final act, the first two thirds were weird, but not perverted weird. Definitely not a comedy though.

@Dave: Haven't been to the Cube in quite a while. I heard it had moved locations recently? Saw it's address posted somewhere as being on Wellington?

I hope my work buddy checks the site out, but I doubt he does. I don't think he'd find this post too surprising, if anything I hope he'd get a chuckle out of it. He knew at the time I wasn't thrilled with my seating arrangements or the show. He wasn't really responsible for either though. We picked the tickets randomly, and I just got the short straw. It happens. Actually, I think he kind of felt bad about how the day turned out. I had lunch with him and a bunch of other from work a few months ago, had a good time. It was cool to see him again.

Al said...

Had to get up and walk around the room to clear the tears of laughter from my eyes before I could finish your article.

As someone who has known you a while, I've got to ask, How do you always find yourself in these situations?

Unknown said...

Glad to hear you liked it. :)

If I had any idea how to avoid these situations, I would. Though that would result in a an even more boring site then it is now, it's a risk I'm willing to take.