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Dude, that guy just took a hit off Rudolph!

Dec 4, 02:27 PM · from the mouth of Jim

So I had to share this random quote, of myself, from Friday night cuz it was just too random. Sarah and I were volunteering as “Balloon Marshalls” in Denver’s annual Parade of Lights. A Balloon Marshall’s duties are sort of vague at best, but they include overseeing the inflation and deflation of the large character balloons that float through the parade.

We ended up doing a lot more than the standard Balloon Marshall would normally get to do on both nights, but our standard duties of overseeing the deflation occurred as they should. As I was standing next to “The Red Nosed Reindeer” coiling cords and watching him deflate (Pssst, you can’t call him “Rudolph” because of trademarks), a couple approached the half inflated carcass as the woman blurted out “oooh, hey, there’s one!”. Immediately the guy accompanying her ran in, snatched one of “The Red Nosed Reindeer’s” gigantic versions of a balloon end and took a gigantic hit of helium off of it. Both walked away giggling their butts off as he chattered forever in chipmunk voice.

“Dude, that guy just took a hit off Rudolph!” Okay, so I broke the trademark rule, but how often do you get to say something like that!? :)

On another note, volunteering as Balloon Marshalls was fun as hell. As I said, normally our duties would have been to oversee the in/deflation of the balloons as well as to help stage them for the parade and guide them out at the correct times. However, Rudolph’s (f* the trademark, it’s shorter to type) captain bailed out on both nights. Additionally, on Friday due to the extremely frigid ambient temperature, the balloons ended up being very short staffed from volunteer attrition. As a result, we were asked to help out with tugging the balloons in the parade! That alone promised to be a super fun experience, but the plot thickened as we were in the staging area. I was approached by “Jumping Jack’s” captain and was told to go back to Rudolph. They needed a radio on each balloon, and I was carrying one for Sarah and me. I went back and asked where the captain was so that I could be assigned a tether when I was greeted with many a blank stare and the comment, “Uhh, we were told you were being sent back here to be one.”

Ironically, I had the opportunity to look like a deer in headlights while standing under a reindeer that was illuminated by headlights. I calmly walked back to Jack’s captain and said, “Uhhh, what’s up with the captaining situation?” and he replied with something along the lines of, “well, they don’t have one and we want the radio back there… ”.

Well folks, I have officially been the balloon captain of Rudolph “The Red Nosed Reindeer” in the Parade of Lights. :) It was a super cool experience and wasn’t that hard after all. Anyone with a little marching band experience, some common sense, two eyes and a general idea of basic physics can captain one of those balloons through downtown Denver. The crew of volunteers that I worked with on Friday was fun, intelligent and very capable and we did a great job. Saturday night was a bit different since they had plenty of volunteers, so they added Sarah to the captaining mix and we trotted ahead of Rudolph (instead of under) and played captain together (ultimately this ended up being a god-send). Our crew on Saturday night wasn’t quite as with it, but we managed to guide Rudolph safely (albeit with many a hoof scrape) through the parade route.

(P.S. I took a few good drags off Rudolph on Saturday night as we were deflating him. In fact, I took a few w/o intending to and found out that your hearing also gets freaky when your entire environment becomes saturated with helium.)

How was your weekend? :)

 

Take a hit! [5]

  1. TyTy responds with:

    That’s a great story!

    That’s quite a parade. I found a slideshow of the parade. Alas, no picture of Rudolph.

    I helped some friends move this weekend. BOTH Saturday AND Sunday. It was rough. I hurt.

    Jess and I bought a tree, and for the first time ever, we have a house to decorate with lights, which we did last night. Some people in my neighborhood get out-of-control with the decorations…. moving reindeer, inflatable Santas, big inflatable snow globes, etc. We’re keeping it relatively subdued and classy.


    · Dec 4, 04:37 PM
  2. Andy responds with:

    Tyty, did you know that the people who live in your old Durham house now wrap it in a giant ribbon for the holidays? Now THAT’S classy!

    When I worked for the Little Orchestra Society we were doing some big event where all of our donors let their spoiled, bratty kids run around and trash the place. I had to sit at a table and sell t-shirts or something – HUGE fun. Anyhow, as we were cleaning up a couple of kids who were still there brought me some balloons and asked me to open them. They had clearly discovered the helium. So I did it and watched them suck in a bit. The little boy said “whoa, man, I feel kinda funny.” And I instantly felt very dirty, like I had sent this kid on the path to being a junky.

    As for my weekend, I saw a truly gay concert. No, really! It was an all-gay concert band!


    · Dec 4, 05:08 PM
  3. Jim responds with:

    Check out this slideshow and go to slide 8 to see “The Red Nosed Reindeer”. Awww, he’s so cute… hmm, wait, maybe it was a she – there wasn’t any plumbing. Fun note – I watched the photog. take the first slide.


    · Dec 4, 06:59 PM
  4. TyTy responds with:

    Wow, that slideshow is WAY better than the one I found. I love the dog in slide #9. Some of those reminded me of the parade I photographed in Ireland last year. Scroll down a bit to see what I mean.

    Love Phillis.


    · Dec 5, 02:21 PM
  5. Iak responds with:

    That is a great story.

    I dunno Andy, is helium a gateway drug?

    My weekend was pretty darn good. Kate invited me along up to UConn and with exception of getting to the new coop (that I had never seen the inside of) too late to explore it was fun. We went ice skating and a bunch of her friends met up with us. It’s a little weird to be on campus, new buildings and stuff, but it was fun.

    Including her brothers game Saturday night, my weekend was filled with hockey.

    Also Christy borrowed my camera for Adam’s wedding… it was a costume wedding… I’ll let you know if I find any pictures available online.


    · Dec 6, 12:18 PM
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