When the first child hid behind his mother’s leg, cowering in fear, I might have had the first inkling that convincing co-workers to dress up like death himself (or herself) might not have sent the friendly, “we care about you” branding message that I’d intended.
Later, when our second BDN toboggan team had applied their gruesome zombie makeup, more children cowered. Lucikly, their parents were laughing. Kind of. Sometimes.
And when we all lined up to take part in the costume parade at the 24th annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships, a resounding chorus of boos greeted us as we skulked up the hill toward the reviewing stand.
“People don’t like Death,” I said, chuckling. “Who knew?”
Seriously, most of our day at this year’s Camden event was fantastic. Our Bangor-based team, “Bangor Deadly Luge,” had a great time. I joined Aislinn Sarnacki, Brian Feulner and Tony Rozio on that squad, the one dressed up as grim reapers.
Our second team, the zombie-themed “BDN Walking Deadlines,” consisted of Seth Koenig, Troy Bennett, Kathleen Pierce and Abigail Curtis. Their makeup was elaborately gruesome, and Bennett even chewed up a couple of “blood” capsules, which turned his beard a gaudy red.
A few things I learned at this year’s U.S. National Toboggan Nationals:
- I’m not good at putting on makeup. And I think I’m OK with that.
- When the makeup tube says “Do not put in eyes or on lips,” take the warning seriously.
- When you dress up like Death and you’re carrying more than a few extra pounds, you end up looking more like one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men with a bad makeup job.
- Troy Bennett plays a mean banjo. His duet with “Elvis,” (Blue Suede Shoes) was an instant classic. I’d buy it on iTunes, if I could find it. How often do you get to watch a zombie and the King jam? Exactly.
- In a related matter, I still say that Bennett’s team for next year’s event ought to be called “I Hear Banjo Music.”
- All the food at the vendor tents received rave reviews from our Deadly Lugers and our Walking Deadlines. I can only vouch for the jambalaya, which was fantastic.
- Before you build a fire in your fire pit, make sure you’re sure what direction the wind is blowing … and what direction it is likely to blow throughout the day. They say “smoke follows the fool.” And I still smell like Smoky the Bear. Make your own conclusions.
- Turning a GoPro camera around backward and telling the guy behind you (Brian Feulner) to catch it if (or when) it comes flying off your head is probably not the best idea ever hatched at the toboggan races. Luckily, GoPro cameras are virtually indestructible. And more luckily, Feulner’s got quick paws … he snagged it right before it hit Ronzio in the head.
- Watching a guy dressed like a zombie (with blood all over his beard) as he eats french fries slathered with ketchup is borderline disgusting. Just ask the little kid who watched that spectacle.
- Some people take the races very seriously. They build speedy sleds and painstakingly apply super-secret blends of wax in order to contend for a title.
- Others don’t. See also: Bangor Deadly Luge and BDN Walking Deadlines.
- If you’re a costume-wearing back-of-the-pack team (see above) it’s not whether you win or lose. It’s about whether you win or lose to the other people who work for the same company.
- And on that front, I’m happy to report that my fellow Bangor Deadly Lugers are not losers. And there may have been wagers made.
- Remember: When it comes to collecting on wagers, Death does not forgive, nor forget.