September 22nd, 2008

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Another Day, Another Otter

Today was Day 2 of my 3-day performance run as Otto Otter. Today (and tomorrow) was the Children's Water Festival which was the same gig I worked last year. Overall the gig went fine. All of the kids were 4th graders which meant they were a little old for the mascot "magic" but still young enough to want to have fun. The gig was easy; meet the buses as they arrived, hang out with the kids while they changed "classrooms," goof around with them during lunch break, and finally see them off in the afternoon.

I have learned something during these events. The kids are always testing you. As I said, they know there is a person inside the suit, so there is a game they play to see how far they can push you. The goal is to have you break character. How well do you handle the situation? Are you a sissy or do you fight back? Are you hip and "with it" or are you a square like Barney? There was lots of tail pulling today and even some whisker pulling. There was eye poking and that oldie but a goodie, "Hey! I can see you inside the suit!" But I held my ground. I had fun with the kids who wanted to have fun and ignored the ones trying to push my buttons. A few times classmates stood up for me. I embarrassed a lot of kids whom their classmates demanded that I give them a big hug. I scored points for passing out hugs to teachers as well. By the end of the day I knew which classes were the really pawfulls. What was interesting was that even the "bad" kids were giving me high-fives as they left. A lot of girls were coming up for hugs as well. Hey! What happened to all of that "we're too cool for you" attitude? Perhaps because I showed them grace under pressure. They gave me their worst and I kept my cool. I got the vibe of "Yeah. You might be a dweeb for wearing an otter suit, but you're ok."