Saturday, March 25, 2006

I Always Knew I'd Grope a Cheerleader One Day

By popular request, I am telling a little story I hadn't intended for the Interweb. It's not embarrassing, at least not for me since I don't seem to embarrass easily, but it doesn't reflect well because at the end I don't win the prize.

My company has good season basketball passes to Wizards games that it likes to spread around to the employees. For some reason my editor decided it was time to butter me up a few weeks ago and tossed one my way. I attended with a friend of mine from work (who got the other one for the evening -- it's a seemingly random Willa Wonka's Golden Ticket process that I think really turns into a psycho management tool) who had never been to a basketball game before. Up until the middle of the second quarter everything was fine. Then my ta'veren kicked in. Please follow the link if you don't know what I'm talking about. It kicks in a lot.

Someone from either the team or facility management crew stumbled across my path, sitting as we were in the fourth row back from the court (good seats!), and asked if I wanted to be part of the entertainment for the game. I am full of piss and derring-do and told her I would like to do just that. She made me fill out a meaningless form that looked suspiciously fake and told me to await her summons during a TV timeout in several minutes. I did that: I ate popcorn and I waited. My friend is a man-giggler and did what he does best.

The time came for me to dance the proverbial chicken, to throw dignity out the window and please the crowd with bread and circuses, and I was taken "backstage" where I saw a man dressing himself into a monstrosity of a costume: a Chevy Chase bank suit with the infamous (in these parts) ATM head that their logo has. It has vacant, scary eyes and a moronic, vaguely evil grin and in his case was made of foam and rubber. All I had to do, the dungeoner told me, was put on this blindfold, please, and follow our lead back onto the court in a minute and try to find the Chevy Chase man while you cannot see. I knew immediately where this would end up but saw that I had no further choice in the matter, as I had signed my rights away. Before long the horn sounded for a timeout and I was led to the center of the court, to the general disgusted pleasure of the mob, and was spun around for good measure just in case I somehow navigated with bat sonar. The announcer asked me, the blindfolded prisoner, what my name was, and upon hearing it I expected the crowd to either roar with delight or hiss in existential unease, but it did neither. It sat on its collective thumb.

The spectators were supposed to cheer if I was getting closer and boo if I was getting farther away, but all it did was make a general "RAAAAAAaaaaa" sound no matter which direction I faced or what I tried to do. If I'd been smart, I would have turned 45 degrees to face a corner and tried the thing in quadrants, but of course you're never thinking that clearly in the heat of the moment. So, instead of the cool and collected performance of a James Bond problem-solver, I held my hands out like a mummy, began widely stomping my way in a particular direction, and wandered (hands out, remember) into a line of cheerleaders. When I hit something, it turned out to be a bosom.

Of course they tried to redirect me, but the crowd was so drunk on its own stupefied indifference that it made all sorts of misleading noises in the process and I ended up blundering into them again several seconds later. Apparently (and I have this from several sources) one player on the visiting team's bench stopped listening to his coach and started watching me during the timeout and couldn't contain his glee. I like to think he clapped and stamped his little feet as though he'd found a pony in the barn. I'm probably not far off. He was big, too.

So, long story short, I had thirty seconds to find this cruelly grinning nightmare of a corporate man-vertisement and they expired without him ever being in any real danger. I entertained what few people there were in the stands not absently picking at scabs, silently weeping or scratching their leg with both hands. It didn't last long and I got a free t-shirt out of it, although I understand I could have won a car.

Not really. Then I would have tried harder.

1 Comments:

Anonymous mikeswanson said...

That is a damn funny story. And don't think that you were embarassing yourself (though with that setup it would be hard not to), because your groping at cheerleaders is a Benny Hill comic staple. I have to say that I would've flatly refused to take part, but there you are, you're more man than I. Funniest outcome: ripping off the blindfold you tackle the mascot, put on his mask and sprint out of the arena with the mascot and guards chasing you. Just sitting down and crying is also funny. But I'm casting this actual event in a humorous light--now you can't complain that you have no anecdotes to tell, cause now you have one about your own blind lechary!

9:17 PM  

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