I was watching a basketball game the other day and at half time the court side announcers came on for a little recap and commentary on the first half action. As I watched, I couldn't help but be distracted by this total moron with a ridiculous grin behind them who kept leaning over towards the camera and doing, over and over, the Florida Gator Chomp.
Now I like the Gators and I don't mind their Chomp. But to have some mindless boob performing it incessantly in the background while I am trying to pay attention is a bit thick. And that got me to thinking.
Decent, mentally balanced people like you and me, when unexpectedly confronted by a live TV camera, might wave briefly and say Hi Mom, but then bolt back immediately to the pleasant obscurity from which we emerged. However we apparently co-exist with a different breed. These are the morally torpid, intellectually challenged, unhinged individuals who are constantly jostling and jockeying for position in the background of a live broadcast, just to keep their oafish mugs in front of the camera for up to the last possible second.
They wave like skid row bums in violent fits of delirium tremens, their faces bisected by mindless, buck toothed grins. Often their tongues hang out, slobbering like a bizarre chorus line of Notre Dame Hunchbacks. They harangue us interminably with inchoate gibberish. They are crude, boorish urchins, and no one among them ever seems to realize it was not by chance fate saw fit to deny them careers in broadcasting. Afterwards, they call their friends and tell them to tune in to the 11:00 news, because they were "on" TV. What feckless, inconsiderate idiots they are! Not satisfied to annoy the faceless multitude with their jimjams, they then compel their friends to be disgusted by the replay.
I think this all started a long time ago with The Today Show. You may remember they had a camera pointing outside the plate glass windows of the studio at street level. It all began innocently enough. Now and then a guy would stand outside holding a little sign which read "Cyuahoga Falls" or some such. But it wasn't long before the rabid baboons got wind of it and wham! ...pretty soon every slack jawed dough head with a home made clown suit or tu tu was squirming and corkscrewing through the crowd to get his or her ugly mug in front of the camera. In time, for most of us viewers the only thing they added to the show was the comfort of knowing we were not them.
At some point, one of these knuckleheads decided to kick it up a couple of notches and "Rainbow Man" was born. I'm sure you will remember this jerk. He was the guy with the multi colored Afro whose whole career involved figuring out where the cameras would be at sporting events and then getting his stupid face in front of them. Why? Who knows? He said he wanted to be "famous". Not much insight there I'm afraid. What's the point of being famous when all you did to get there was to annoy people? Ron Popeil did the same thing but at least he had a motive - which was to sell the world's worst ever fishing rod. What was Rainbow Man's payoff? Zippo ...except I do think I remember once or twice a few fans sitting next to him got fed up with his antics and beat the crap out of him. Now don't tell me you aren't at least a little happy to know that.
And speaking of beatings, "Fan Man" was the brain dead super-nitwit who pretty much brought gratuitous camera mugging to a historic milestone. He's the dude who tried paragliding into the ring during Riddick Bowe and Evander Hollyfield's 1993 title fight at Caesar's Palace. News accounts of the stunt related how he got hung up in some overhead lights and fell to the top ropes of the ring, whereupon he was dragged away by enraged fans and security people who then proceeded to thrash him mercilessly. For good measure, when Fan Man woke up in the hospital later the cops slapped him with a warrant for illegal flying and trespass. I'd like to believe Bowe and Hollyfield got a few punches in.
Come to think of it Steve, maybe we're missing out on something here. Hey! The Braves are in town against the Pirates next Friday. You wear the wig and hang on while I steer the glider...