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Mascots Are Way Underappreciated

February 27, 2010

Yesterday, I fulfilled a longtime dream while simultaneously facing a sometime fear. Yesterday, I met the King.

Meeting the King was every bit as creepy and supremely awesome as you’d imagine it would be. Since photos were unauthorized, I will share a description, which I hope will make up for the lack of visual documentation.

I will begin with his feet.

It is impossible to know the true size of the King’s feet because their shape and length were exaggerated by soft black leather extremely pointy shoes. I can say this because I myself have owned quite a few pairs of pointy shoes. These were, indeed, EXTREMELY pointy. Think elves, but way more stylish and not at all curly. Also no jingle bell. That would not befit the King.

Then there were his legs. His calves were surprisingly shapely. I’ll just put this out there: the King was rockin’ his white stockings. The cool part is there were no curly leg hairs poking through. I bet he waxes.

The robe was a sight to behold: burgundy and gold brocade, and a jacket with a white fur trim. Don’t worry PETA folks, it looked like an excellent faux fur to me. The tassle belt was the icing on the cake – perfectly looped around his interior garment and tied so that the tassles were slightly uneven and hanging below the hem. Nicely done, Your Highness.

Before we move on to his royal visage, I must relay the sheer blingness of his bling. He was sporting, in addition to his royal seal, a two-fingered ring that must come in handy in back alleys should someone make a comment about him being a few centuries out of style. Not that he’d use it, no. But it’s there, a reminder that he is the King and we, my friends, are merely his subjects.

The final piece of bling brought me flashbacks, oddly enough, of my wedding. Since one of my best friends from high school performed the ceremony and we realized a bit to late that he was not authorized by the state of Florida to marry us, we had to find a notary willing to do it with little notice.

We ended up with Hopkin Lamar, owner of a newsstand in Coral Gables, conveniently a notary and therefore able to officiate. Not so conveniently, Mr. Lamar also came to the conclusion that a two-inch diameter gold Mercedes emblem pendant was appropriate attire for nuptials on the beach on Key Biscayne.

So, when I saw the King’s mighty necklace, the first thing that came to mind was saying our vows and trying to focus on each other instead of the bling. Perhaps the King wears his with similar reasoning; he deserves the attention, I do believe.

Finally, I must tell you about the part of the experience that made me face my fears: his smile. His ever-present smirk-grin, no matter what the occassion, is, well, more than a bit unnerving. This impression is only hightened in person when you’re trying to shoot a video and give him direction, and he just stares at you with that same look on his face no matter what you say.

Which brings me to my thesis: mascots are way underappreciated.

The guy who’d been wearing the King costume for hours yesterday before I met him did an amazing job of staying in character, and beyond that, of bringing an intentionally unanimated costumed face to life. He had this oustanding body language and immense physical presence that made you forget it was a guy in there and not really the King.

I’ve given some thought to mascots since meeting him – and actually seen an inordinate number of them in the last 24 hours: Tony the Tiger, the Keebler Elf, some girl dressed up like a pizza slice, two goofballs pretending to be vegetables, the Pollo Tropical chicken wearing sunglasses and dancing to a Michael Jackson song. Come to think of it all that’s needed to complete a little mascot army are Sebastian from my alma mater the University of Miami, Lolita the whale from the Miami Seaquarium, Chester the Cheetah (that one’s for you Scott), and Mickey Mouse. But none of them topped the King.

I’ve been thinking about why we love mascots and why we choose to believe in them even when they are so obviously not real. How we rope unsuspecting employees into putting on heavy costumes and sweating through appearances all day long. Why we suspend rules about not talking to strangers and urge our frightened children to hug them and smile for the camera.

I think it’s because we enjoy suspending disbelief again for the sake of an experience. We remember how it felt to visit Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and express our wishes and believe they would come true.

Come to think of it, even then it was a bit frightening but supremely magical to realize a dream.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tiffany Bradley permalink
    June 3, 2010 10:47 pm

    Ah!! I remember that pendant, all too well!! It was such an odd “addition” to your otherwise tastefully simple wedding! Way too flashy for the beach!

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