Monday, November 12, 2007

Have You Seen This Mascot?

Thankfully, I am not a small child. If so, my hopes and dreams would’ve been crushed at the Ravens game this Sunday.
No, I’m not talking about the performance of the offense—I’m talking about my encounter with Poe, one of the Ravens' three avian mascots (the other two are named Edgar and Allan—sadly, I’m certain many fans have no idea why.)
Let me just say a few things about mascots. Personally, I’m not a big fan. Actually, as a small child, I was just sitting there, minding my own Happy Meal, when Ronald McDonald—hair frightfully red, skin a ghastly white—descended on our peaceful table and scared the living crap out of me. I cried. My mom had to whisk me out of there before I “upset the other children.”
I also understand that the life of a mascot is a hard one. You’re wearing a big, oafish, brutally hot suit. You have to wear the same cheerful, dorky expression on your face no matter what you’re feeling inside. People want to touch you, or take their picture with you, or mess with you. Some people even have inappropriate sexual fetishes about you (but that’s a topic for a whole other blog post).
But for the most part, you’re doing it for the kids—and the occasional wide-eyed adult.
Which brings me to yesterday’s game.
The Ravens were playing terribly—had been all season—and the fans were on edge. I had already dubbed the deceptively mild-mannered guy in the seat behind me “Senor Rage.” It was then that Poe showed up.
Now, my pal Pallavi was very excited about this turn of events. It seems that mascots very rarely made appearances in this section of the bleachers. Pallavi might be a 27 year old woman, but she has a certain childlike
joie de vivre about her. She was very excited to get her picture taken with Poe.
But as Pallavi was positioning herself for a good photo and our friend Alicia was readying the camera, I saw something that they may have missed.
Just as Poe was descending the stairs, a clearly inebriated man slapped him heartily on the back. Poe stumbled and almost fell. The drunk guy then emerged from his seat to continue the sloppy “I love you, maaaaaan” form of affection. At this point, I saw Poe whisper something in the guy’s ear. This was shocking enough—mascots are never supposed to break that fourth wall. What’s more, I don’t think he was saying, “And what’s your name, friend?” because the drunk guy kind of blanched, mumbled an apology, and meekly made his way back to his seat.
Now Poe was heading toward Pallavi. You could tell he wanted to get the hell out of the bleachers.
I almost said to Pallavi, “You may want to leave Poe alone now. He’s having a bad day.” But it was too late.
“Can I get a picture?” Pallavi pleaded. Pallavi is very hard to say no to.
So Poe wrapped an arm around Pallavi and waited for the picture to be taken. Just then, another guy kind of manhandled him.
“Don’t f**king touch me!” Poe hissed loudly.
Everyone heard. Fans collectively recoiled from this suddenly scary dude in a bird suit.
If you could’ve seen the happy-go-lucky, beatific smile evaporate from Pallavi’s face, it may’ve actually broken your heart.
Poe stumbled angrily down the steps.
Now maybe this is something I don’t know about the Ravens. Maybe Edgar, Allan, and Poe all have different personas—like
The A-Team. Perhaps Poe is the angry one: “This is one bird you do not want to mess with, or he will go Tell-tale Heart on your ass!” But I don’t think that’s the case.
We never saw Poe again.

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