Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Ballad of Mr. Green Rabbit's Foot.

As promised yesterday, today you will learn about my encounter with Mr. Green Rabbit's Foot.

The story takes place my Freshman year of high school during my very first Regional Speech tournament. Regionals meant an overnight trip; we drove down on Friday, spent the night at a hotel, and then headed over early on Saturday for the day long competition. My first event of the day was an HD based on "Don Brown's Body," and it was an unusually somber round; a few folks were laughing, but not a lot. Especially stoic was one of the judges, a man wearing a green rabbit's foot attached to his shirt pocket, presumably because of St. Patrick's Day.

Not too long after the round ended I headed to my preliminary Prose round, only to find that the door was still locked; I waited outside with some other contestants when Mr. Green Rabbit's Foot walks up to me and proceeds to tell me that the HD I had just performed was the worst thing he had ever seen, that there wasn't a single funny thing in it, that he couldn't believe something so horrible had made it to Regionals, etc. He had barely finished tearing into me when someone arrived to open up the room; Mr. GRF then went in and plopped himself down, getting out his judging sheets. Yup, that's right, minutes after being eviscerated by him in the hallway, I had to get up and perform in front of him again.

Now, don't forget, this isn't the semi-sorta-kinda-stable Cap'n Neurotic of today; no, this was the doubt-filled, paranoid, self-conscious, 14-year old Cap'n Neurotic. Needless to say, I was a bit of a wreck, mentally. I was so shocked by the confrontation that I couldn't even begin to process it; I'm kind of proud of myself for being able to put it out of my mind and compete as if nothing happened. Even then, my skills at repression were top notch.

After the round was over, I went in search of my friends in order to fill them in on my run-in with Mr. GRF; it wasn't long before word spread to our speech coach, Mrs. S., who was livid, as was one of our chaperones, which is understandable, since it was my mom. It's probably a really good thing that MR. GRF never ran into my mom that day; he might not have survived. Anyway, Mrs. S. went to file a complaint with the people running the tourney, and I tried to focus on other things; when the list was posted for the finals for Prose and I saw my name on the list, I stopped worrying about the incident.

Of course, in the midst of all of the Mr. GRF hullabaloo there was lots of other stuff going on, both competition wise and "we're bored out of our gourds and must entertain ourselves" wise. The biggest competition related event that I remember was when my HD partner, who was, at best, a reluctant participant in Competitive Speech, and who had been forced into doing Extemp by Mrs. S., basically just blew off his Extemp round; Mrs. S. was not amused. The biggest memory I have of self-entertainment actually involved Diva, Cedric the Destroyer, and a green teddy bear.

The teddy bear was Diva's, and was, I assume, there partially due to it being St. Patrick's Day. While waiting between rounds, Cedric decided to demonstrate his creativity by transforming the green teddy bear into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, complete with a styrofoam bowl for a shell and mini-ninja weapons made out of paper. I don't think Diva was quite as amused as we were, and restored her bear to normal. A bit later, her bear went missing; in its place was a blackmail note, complete with pictures of the bear involved in questionable activities involving whips, chains, and leather. Diva left the area for a while, and then returned to find that her bear, overcome with shame and guilt from the blackmail, had hung itself.

Please, a moment of silence for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Bear.

Anyway, the time came for me to go perform my Prose piece in the final round. I went in, a little nervous but not too bad, until I saw who one of the judges was; you guessed it, there large as life sat Mr. Green Rabbit's Foot, also known as the man who had just had a complaint lodged against him on my behalf. I tried to tell myself that it didn't matter, that he probably didn't even know yet, etc. Once again, I got up to perform my piece in a highly agitated state of mind, but it must not have thrown off my game too much, since when the awards ceremony rolled around I was named as one of those qualifying for State; the only other qualifiers from my school were the lovely and talented Diva and her DD partner.

On the way home we stopped at a McDonalds for dinner; so did another couple of busses full of speech kids. While we were eating, one guy came over to our table with one of his friends and pointed me out as the freaky guy who did the really sick and twisted Prose piece. My response? Grabbing a French fry, dipping it in ketchup, reciting a key line from "The October Game" in my best spooky voice ("The witch came to harm and this is her arm"), and then taking a huge bite out of the fry. Reactions from my table: laughter. Reaction from the other guys: looks of fear, confusion, and disgust. It was at that moment that we heard a tapping on the window next to our booth; our heads whipped around to see Cedric outside, mouth firmly placed against the glass and blowing hard, doing his best impression of Anthony Rapp in Adventures in Babysitting. Our table erupted into laughter while the guys from the other school mumbled something about "freaks" and then scurried away.

How people like that made it into Competitive Speech, I'll never know.

But the story of Mr. GRF does not end there: one of the nice things about Competitive Speech was that after a competition you got to keep copies of your score sheets, so you were able to see how each judge ranked you and see what sort of comments they made. It was easy to figure out which judge was Mr. GRF, since he was the only threepeat name on the sheets. For the prelim round, he ranked me #1; for the final, post-complaint round, he ranked me #8 out of . . . 8. Coincidence? Well, since the other judges gave me high enough scores for me to move on to State, I'd say there's a good chance that there was some spite involved.

But, hey, it sure made for a good story, huh?


cedric-the-destroyer said...

That Cedric guy sounds like a real dousche. At one practice after school, Diva was taping everyone doing their various skits so we could watch and critique ourselves. Anyway, I did the mouth-on-the glass thing with a mouthful of water. Diva told me later she played that at home and it made her mom vomit. I'm still pretty proud of that.

The Photographer said...

I can so see Cedric doing that with a full audience. I think I also was privy to his act on my car window a time or two...

Cap'n Neurotic said...

As far as I know, I've never actually made anyone vomit, so you're one up on me there.

Redneck Diva said...

Oh that video....and that window trick....Cedric you were so twisted. Dude, you still are. And that's why I like you so durn much!!

Todd, I just need to thank you again for making me laugh like a loon today. After this busy week I needed to sit back and laugh about what dorks we were back then.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Okay, Diva, I'm definitely going to have to get ahold of you when I make it up to Miamuh in a few weeks; the pull of seeing my younger, dorkier self is just too strong to resist.

Masochism, thy name is Neurotic.

cedric-the-destroyer said...

You're coming up in a few weeks? I lived in Texas for a while, I understand. Run like hell, Padnuh!! Anyway, you'll need to get ahold of me when you do. Unless it's the middle of June, then I'll be out in a field for a week hittin' people with a stick (SCA, from what I understand, you are aware. We'll need to get with Diva and embarass her. (I've got this whigger walk that absolutely mortifies my 13 yo daughter.)

Cap'n Neurotic said...

Of SCA I am aware.

The whole "cedric's got a kid" thing, however, is news.

Man, I'm out of the loop.

cedric-the-destroyer said...

Stepdaughter. You know how the Gov't pays farmers to NOT grow certain crops...same deal with me and kids. Something about two of me and the time/space continueum, blah, blah...