Friday, 21 September 2007

World’s Strongest Yahoo.

You know where I stand on people watching. I love it like I love my pets. It’s fun and entertaining and you can always be assured of seeing something on or about a person that your eyes just won’t believe. Gotta love the county fair circuit.

Peter and I were selling candles at the Richmond Fair. Even though we were inside the curling arena, we could still hear the announcements coming at regular intervals over the tinny loudspeaker system. Well, you could hear them when the pig races weren’t running outside.

Saturday night, Peter heard an announcement that someone was going to be pulling a cement truck with a rope.

Not some THING, some ONE.

I heard snatches of conversation that referred to the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ competitors. Muscles and feats of strength? Someone pass me the smelling salts.

And we were going to be treated to our very own display. One man, one harness, one rope, one cement truck. Oh yeah, I was going to be in the front row.

At eight o’clock, the crowd began forming in two lines on either side of the cement truck. Peter and I were front and center.

Then he came. This muscled, tanned, tights-wearing strong guy strutted down the parted centre of the crowd, tossing souvenirs to screaming kids. The excitement was building. You could feel it as the cement truck driver climbed in the cab.

I secretly hoped Mister Strong Guy would have to move the truck when it was in ‘Park’, then I would be suitably impressed, but was told that the fun started in neutral on that big ol’ truck.
A huge rope was tethered to a small pickup truck. This was to be used as strong guy’s leverage to tow the cement truck from its seemingly mired position on the asphalt. I had doubts that baby was gonna move even one little ol’ inch.

Watching Mister Muscle had many of us women all a-twitter. He was really going to move that giant metal beast, all by his lonesome self? I could almost see the hankies being dropped as favours for our hero.

The tether rope tightened. Goose bumps popped out on my arms. Mister Muscle’s veins popped out in sharp contrast to his tanned skin as he gave a big holler and started to pull that cement mixing truck with every bit of strength he had.

The crowd started cheering. We all wanted him to do it, to be the strongest man in the . . . WAIT. What’s THIS? Who are those other two guys behind him on the harness? Why are they pulling the harness rope? Isn’t he supposed to do this alone?

As the truth became apparent to every woman watching, the cement truck moved forward a few inches. Mister Muscle still squirmed and sweated, but so did the guys helping him pull that truck. And the disappointment we all felt was almost overwhelming.

Though the men watching were quick to defend Mister Muscle, there were enough women that saw the same thing I did, while muttering things that Mister Muscle probably wouldn’t have appreciated.

Even in sharp disappointment, I loved watching the show. That Mister Muscle believes he can pull that truck is a testament to one thing.

He’s obviously got too much time on his hands.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Virtual Reality Frogger

What is it about frogs and their overwhelming desire to crowd the roads after a summer rain?
Are they on some hari-kari mission of death? Don’t these frogs know that the swamp is not in the middle of the highway, the middle of my driveway, or the middle of our Lanark County country roads?

Last week, when we had some steamy storms blow through here, I was bringing Blondie home from work. Chihiro had come along for the ride. The sunroof was open and Blondie and I were singing a Timbaland song. Yes, that makes me cool to some teenagers.
When I punctuated my singing with “Aaaaaa! Frogger!”, Chihiro finally asked what I meant when I said that.

I explained to her about a video game from the 80’s, whose entire purpose was to get frogs across the road safely, before they were unceremoniously smooshed under the tires of a car. By the time she grasped the concept, we had turned onto our quiet road.

I explained that we get to live the Frogger game more often than we’d like to. “See all those white dots on the road in front of us? They are all frogs.” I stopped the car so Chihiro could lean forward and see. Blondie didn’t believe me at first, and Chihiro just wasn’t getting the full picture. After all, they just look like white dots on the wet pavement – their throats exposed and gleaming in the brightness of the car’s headlights.

And since I couldn’t prove the amount of frogs by pointing at them, I did the only logical thing I could do.

I got out of the car and walked to the first frog, expecting it to jump away in fright. Nothing. I stomped my foot at the frog. Again, nothing. I jumped up and down for a minute, and heard giggles coming from the open windows of the car. Darn frog wasn’t moving. I was losing my audience, so I bent down and pushed it with my finger. Finally, the frog jumped.

Squeals from Blondie and Chihiro rose in volume as I walked to the next frog and pushed it with my finger to get it off the road. Nine frogs later, I thought I’d cleared the immediate area. But frog number ten didn’t fare so well.

I made the sign of the cross over its poor froggy soul. Blondie and Chihiro were screaming with laughter. Looking further up the road, I shut my mind to the rest of the white dots. I couldn’t save them all, even though I’d much rather they croak in the forest instead of under the tires of my car.

By the time we pulled into our driveway, our girls were a little wary of stepping on a frog. Too bad the porch lights weren’t on. And it probably didn’t help much that I kept yelling ‘frogger!’ as they negotiated the dark pathway to the front door.

But again, their hysterical screams of laughter still made it a fun memory. Well, that and hearing Chihiro holler her own ‘Frogger!’ as she pointed to a frog on the lawn the next morning. Not quite the same concept, but our lovely Japanese friend was definitely getting the hang of it.