I always seem to lose a follower when I post something furry.
While losing followers is like water off a duck’s back, it’s always curious to me since it seems to be about the stigma of fursuiting.
To me, being a furry is like anthropomorphic animals and mascotting/fursuiting.
I started off in the “furry fandom”, I suppose, when I lost my goddamn mind when I realized I could apply to be a character mascot for Six Flags. When I was a kid, I thought it was awesome that people got to dance around in a big, fluffy costume and pretend to be that character/animal.
Since I did the mascot thing for about 3 years and continued single contract gigs for a while, I realized something really powerful about making someone’s day by making them laugh in a silly costume.
A young woman, we’ll call her Eliza, and her parents came to Six Flags every year. They were there so often, we knew her name and her parents very well. I was told she had “something wrong with her”, a mental illness we were never told and, to be honest, should not be privy to anyway. She believed the Looney Tunes were real and we did our best to be as in character as humanly possible when she was around. I met her while Taz, while Foghorn Leghorn, while Porky Pig, and while Daffy Duck. Every time she spoke to us like we were the characters, very gentle and easy going, when we were used to punk ass kids hitting us in the head and sometimes sending us to the goddamn clinic in the park. She would say things like, “Oh, Daffy, stop bothering Bugs!” and pretend Pepe LePew actually stank, etc, etc. She would give us cards, buttons, even t-shirts with her handwritten, self made logo that read ‘I Love Six Flags’. It was adorable.
Her parents were teachers and able to bring her down to the park as often as they did in the summer. Our manager at the time, who was always Bugs Bunny, loved her and she loved him, identifying him when he was in costume (It’s not hard to tell the physicality of someone in costume after a while). When someone spotted her, an escort would tell him, and he would move all the punk ass teenagers away and let her through the line up.
Fair? Eh, we didn’t care about fair. Eliza was our favorite and that’s all that mattered to us.
One particular night, like many of the others of the light parade in the park, our manager suddenly started asking who wanted to do him a favour. He said that this was Eliza’s last night in the park for the year (and later, we found out, the last year for our manager to work there) and he wanted to surprise her. He got every single employee on hand in the department to dress up in every single Looney Tune. Never were all the Looney Tunes amassed like that in the park.
He led us out as Bugs Bunny, telling everyone to be quiet. She was sitting with her family in a rather lonely spot of the parade side lines as always. When Bugs came out, she lit up and shouted his name, only for every single one of the Looney Tunes to come out to meet her. Bugs handed to her and her family, two arm loads of Looney Tunes merchandise, pretty much what existed in the park, and we told other guests of the park to, basically, go away. Bugs finally handed her a trophy, but on it had a picture of her and him as Bugs Bunny, a memento for all the times she visited the park. Her parents had tears in their eyes and so did Eliza, so taken by our mutual love for one another even if we were just a bunch of kids in costumes.
Many pictures were taken before we had to run back to get ready for the parade, but I’ll never forget her and how powerful a big fluffy animal costume could really be to a single person. :)