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I Could Become A Mascot

A few days ago, I saw the Harlem Globetrotters play. It had been quite a while since I’d seen them last, but they are still fun to watch. In case you’re wondering, the Trotters won.

At one point, the Globetrotters’ mascot, Globie,  performed. He had a child from the audience with him, dressed just like him. I thought about what a fun opportunity that would be for a child. A child, or anyone else. Anyone else, for instance, me.

“Why not me?” I thought. I’ve got experience as a costumed mascot character person. Not enough experience to come up with a better job title than “costumed mascot character person”, but I’ve got some mascot street cred. Perhaps enough credibility to land a mascot job when I retire.

I put some thought into the applicable experiences that I’ve had and could list on my mascot resume. Here is what I came up with.

McGruff, The Crime Dog

McGruff!

McGruff! (Photo credit: Crashmaster007)

You remember McGruff, right? He reminded us to “take a bite out of crime” by following his crime prevention and safety tips. I work for a police department, we had our own McGruff costume, so my first mascot experience was as the crime dog.

McGruff was the best of my mascot gigs in many ways. The costume wasn’t very complex: a big dog head, matching gloves and booties and a heavily lined tan trench coat. It was by far the cleanest costume I wore.

Fred McGriff - Atlanta - 1993 Home

Fred McGriff was known as The Crime Dog too. (Photo credit: BaseballBacks)

The McGruff head was enormous, and had a long snout. The size made keeping the head on challenging. It would pitch forward if I looked down too much. The head was nice in spite of that because it had a fan that pulled fresh air in through the nose. But if the fan battery died in the middle of an event, McGruff changed quickly from the crime dog to the mascot for heat stroke.

Back in the day, there were a lot of tales of McGruff passing out at events when the fan failed. None of those stories involve me. I can tell you that hearing the fan stop in the McGruff head had the following side effects: profuse sweating, nausea, dizziness and dry mouth.

The Easter Bunny

Children eventually get the word that the Easter Bunny and the people who tuck them in at night are very closely related. I made that concept reality for my son when I volunteered to wear an Easter Bunny costume for a group of several Sunday school classes, including his.

The Easter Bunny

Anyone can be the Easter Bunny in a clean suit like this one. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bunny costume was my introduction to the idea that not all of these outfits were as well maintained as McGruff. This was a mangy looking Easter Bunny, with big patches of missing fur. One of the ears flopped off to one side.

Walking down the hall to where the children were gathered, I could hear that they were already frenzied. There was an explosion of energy when they saw the Easter Bunny walk into the room. Several kids ran up to hug me.

A group of boys circled me a few times, making their assessment. Finally their spokesperson stepped forward and said “you are fake, I can read your t-shirt through your suit.” It was hard to resist questioning whether the committee would have deemed a five foot eight inch bunny to be “not fake” if I’d chosen to wear a white t-shirt.

Moments later, I felt a tug on my backside. I turned to see who was behind me, but could not see because of the mask limiting my vision. When I turned back, there was a little boy’s hand up near my face. He’d pulled off my tail.

I felt so fake.

Winnie The Pooh

In the middle of my career, I started and ran my department’s domestic violence unit. My group became very close with a woman who counseled children who were growing up in homes with spousal abuse issues. She always threw a big Christmas party for a few hundred of the children in her program, we’d always help.

When our friend called and said she needed someone to wear a Winnie The Pooh costume she’d acquired, I told her I’d assign one of my people. She said I was the someone she wanted in the costume.

This was the worst costume of my three character mascot career. The head was dented. There was not enough padding in the suit to give it any sort of bear shape. I looked like a skinny rat. A skinny brown rat with a big head and a red t-shirt that had the famous bear’s name written on it in gold.

Though the shirt said Pooh, I was Winnie The Poo. The suit smelled like poo. I couldn’t stop laughing about how awful the suit was. It was impossible to see out of the mask. I fell over some children.

One day, the FBI will capture a serial killer. They’ll ask him why he did it. He’ll trace it all back to that fateful night when a skinny, red-shirted, cackling rat that smelled slightly of feces fell on him at a party.

On second thought, perhaps I should stay out of the mascot business.

The end of my mascot career.

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33 Comments on “I Could Become A Mascot”

  1. I never trusted McGruff. I know he’s supposed to look like a PI but I don’t think any mascot warning kids to be wary of perverts should be wearing a trenchcoat.

    • omawarisan says:

      There was a lot of discussion in the office of doing a picture of McGruff with shorts on under the coat so he’d look like a flasher. There was also discussion of how many days the culprit would be suspended.

  2. benzeknees says:

    You never know who’s under the head of one of those mascots, do you? It could be a serial killer or a pedophile. Oh sorry, present company excepted.

  3. Laura says:

    Entertaining kids from abusive homes with a Winnie-the-Pooh that looks like it’s been a victim of domestic violence seems like kind of a bad idea.

  4. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    What a distinguished mascot career! Don’t lose hope just because of a pooey Pooh.

  5. Here in the Delaware Valley, you can’t go too long without bumping into the Philly Phanatic. Rumor has it there are several costumes so he’s able to show up at grocery store openings in different states at the same time. One thing is certain, if there are multiple Phanatics, they all smell like a wet, dirty sock.

  6. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Maybe for your “Winnie ” gig they should have introduced you as “Winnie the poo-poo”. Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha- ha!!!!

  7. You are such a good sport! I will never ever get into a mascot outfit. You’re lucky you’ve never gotten full body athlete’s foot from the experience. Oh, the germs, the germs!

  8. planetross says:

    I was Santa Claus once (… I mean just a pretend Santa … for any kids reading this) … I was easily detectable: you can’t fool 3-5 years old very much so it seems.

    Maybe when the blog starts rolling in the money, you can hire a mascot of you to appear at parties and stuff.

  9. I think this is a wonderful “next” career choice for you. I’m sure if we all put our heads together we can come up with something.
    Quick mascot story for you. I was involved with a seafood restaurant at one time who had a big fish mascot that would walk around outside and up and down the streets around the restaurant when he wasn’t at events. This same place had mentally challenged young lad cleaning tables and washing dishes etc. He was a lovely person to be around and a really hard worker. Everyone loved him. One day when the mascot did not show up for work it was suggested that they see if “Jimmy” would like to do it. Well, “Jimmy” was beside himself with happiness at being offered this opportunity. He donned the costume and went outside to work the street. It was possible to keep an eye on him through the windows and he seemed to be having the time of his life and people were really responding to his antics. Then the phone calls started. It seems that the wearer of the costume had to wear tights for where his legs came out of the fish end. In this case the tights were too tight, the bottom of the costume was too tight and “Jimmy” was really… well endowed. He was so happy as we yanked him off the street and told him he could do it again as soon as we got him a bigger costume. ;-)

  10. Some kids may have yanked off your tail, but I’m sure you made some kids very happy.

  11. Blogdramedy says:

    One Winterfest (a winter festival…duh) someone somehow talked me into being Snoopy for the day. After I did my stint with the kiddies, I decided to keep the suit on for work and stopped in for a coffee along the way. I scored a free cup by flirting with the girl at the counter. To this day I don’t think she knew it wasn’t a guy underneath. The board meeting I attended later that day…not so much fun. Sometimes when you get old, the first thing to go is not your eyesight…it’s your sense of humor.

    • omawarisan says:

      Now that you mention it, I think there is a tendency to assume a man is in the costume. Society should be ashamed.

      Why have I never thought of getting free stuff as a mascot?

  12. Debbie says:

    They say the apple never falls very far from the tree. You inherited this propensity to play dress-up from your clown parents, didn’t you?! Because I really like rabbits, I think the Easter Bunny get-up is a lot cuter than any clown I’ve ever seen (but you’ll remember, clowns terrify me!). Since you’re obviously such a good sport about the costumes, it’s surprising you never played Santa (or did you?!?)

  13. That is an above average mascot resume.

  14. I think you have all the right credentials, but you might need two more, Santa of-course, and the Liberty Statue mascot that shows up around tax season (do you have those?). Add those two gigs to your resume and you will be sought after. Joe agree to be the winter fairy at our school annual Holiday Fairy (we were crossing gender barriers, that year) it was a proud moment for my kid….So the more important question would be, did you son feel you were a lame Easter Bunny? Kids can be so cruel.

  15. robincoyle says:

    McGruff the Crime Dog looks like a flasher to me. So, were you well suited for the job?


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