So I’m in my blues, literally and figuratively. There are enough gaps in the staging to see the crowd, which I later heard was over 2500 women and six guys, what they were doing there I can only guess about, so I won’t.
The stage is my friend, I have never had any kind of stage fear and adore the klieg lights and I think they have some affection for me. I have never seen a more intense bee hive in my life honey was in the mix.
The stage was wide and the long catwalk gave it the appearance of a large capital “T”. At the far end of the catwalk were the judges, they were seated and each had a microphone in front of them. My group was up and we went into the pit alone.
As I emerged from back stage, the master of ceremonies introduced me to the audience as the oldest contestant for the night; I’m thinking what the F. I do not look my age, most people guess me at ten years my junior. Heaven knows why because I have put some hard miles on my odometer.
But it’s out there now, so I know my age will be part of my story for the night, no big deal. The crowd didn’t react poorly to the news, I actually got a pretty (pun intended) loud response.
“Tell us something about yourself Tim.” I was beckoned to the mic. I gave the usual song and dance I did at most parties or school functions, blah, blah, blah.
Then came the questions from our esteemed judges. The first was from I believe the weather girl at channel 9. “So Tim does being the oldest firefighter here give you an advantage or put you at
“Well Brittney” or whatever the hell her name was. “I see it as a decided advantage. My younger brothers here are taken in by the show, where as I’m not affected by the circus, in my life I have been to many circuses and carnivals as well as many fires and emergencies. I don’t suffer from any anxiety in this setting.”
“As Kipling put it.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise”
“I don’t tend to lose my head.” Utter silence for a few heartbeats. That Kipling shit works.
The next question was what I had been prepared for. The sports guy from channel 6 was up next. I think the guy was a bit envious, and not accustomed to being so low on the food chain.
“Tim pretend the microphone is an ice cream cone and show us how you would eat it.” Okay translation, pretend the microphone is a woman’s body. I have eaten many ice cream cones in my life and have a sweet tooth no doubt.
I lowered myself to that level, not that I’m proud of that, and really enjoyed the mic, and I think the mic enjoyed it as well. The collective gasps from the assemblage gave me some assurance that not all the attendees had been to my kind of ice cream shop before.
I returned back stage to some admirers and some haters, seems some of these pee brains were suited for the gym and firefighting, but not so much for the live interview world. Take that boys. Now where’s the beer?
I watched the others take the spotlight and do the whole dancing bear routine. For that was all I kept thinking, we were like dancing bears, big, stupid, slow, and waiting for our reward.
The next phase of judging was the physique competition. All of the sudden the other men around me began what at the time seemed some weird combination of a day at the beach and a gladiator locker room. They disrobed down to small shorts and began rubbing oil all over each other’s tanned bodies.
All while engaging in very manly dialogue, a hard visual for my slightly pickled mind to absorb. Should I ask someone to rub oil on me? Do I need oil? My mind was spinning with options. Then a very nice fireman from Denver FD looked at me.
“Fricking weird man isn’t it? If my wife and daughters saw this I’d never live it down.” Sanity in the midst’s chaos. “So I’m not the only one a little freaked out here?”
“Kevin.” He stuck out his paw. “Tim.” We shook hands. “Kipling? Really man? Breaking out Kipling here?” “Dude what else am I gonna do?” This man was gigantic; at least 6’ 4” 250/270 pounds and I had more fat in my mayonnaise at lunch than this guy had seen in weeks. “Your wife let you do this?” I asked. “She pushed me to do it, all her girlfriends are already jealous and me being in the calendar will just make her cubical all the more of a shrine. She likes showing me off. Here look.”
He opened a crack in the curtains and indicated a front row seat. “That’s her, the blond in the red dress.” Wholly crap Mattel had lost the original Barbie and Ken and here they were. She was absolutely a stunner and knew it. Her whole deportment just screamed to those around her, you ain’t seen nothing yet ladies.
“You want some oil on you Tim?” Kevin asked as he pulled me away from staring at his wife. “I’m thinking no Kevin. You?” His face said it all, he wanted to win. “You have some with you man?” “Yeah.” He said in almost a bashful way, as he retrieved his bottle form his gym bag.
“I wouldn’t ask, but I don’t know any of these other guys.” “Me either.” I said as he handed me the baby oil.
Sorry to stop more tomorrow or Monday.