And now, here's something we hope you'll really like!"
Two months ago on a busy Tuesday night a grayish-brown flying squirrel invaded the emergency department at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, N.J. Unhappy because he had waited two hours in the emergency room for an injury to his nuts, he began to launch himself off a wall-mounted lamp.
It was the second time in two weeks that a flying squirrel had found its way into the emergency room. The original squirrel was furious as he had to wait two hours to have an intern tell him to follow up with his family doctor.
A flying squirrel is larger than a chipmunk and has pieces of skin between its legs and body and once it jumps into the air it flies like a small glider. Both squirrels kept launching themselves in an attempt to not be caught by the firemen. The flying squirrels gave them a run for their money and eventually they threw a blanket over the animals and took them to safety in a nearby wooded area.
No moose was seen sitting in the waiting room for them so they figure squirrels have made a nest in the building. The Air Force when asked about the foreign flying objects of course refused to answer.
When I read this true news report all I could think of was Rocky and Bullwinkle. As a child I had to constantly live in an imaginary world with Rocky and Bullwinkle. The creator Jay Ward was beyond clever and sometimes I think he is greatly responsible for my strange sense of humour.
Jay Ward's cartoons were never really for young children and I swear that they had hidden messages in them. They were nothing but smart, funny and I wanted to live in "Frostbite Falls".
I used to quote the many characters like Mr. Peabody or Dudley Do-Right. After all Dudley was Canadian and we should have something in common. But really all I wanted to do was fly like Rocky and leave my depressing home. One day I got up on Mrs. Wilson's porch and jumped off, trying to fly. The result was falling flat on my face and unless I really thought carefully on how I was going to learn to fly I might end up like a "Fractured Fairy Tale".
The next weekend while visiting my mother in the hospital my father brought us to Belmont Park in Montreal to see The Flying Wallendas. They were an amazing family high wire act that started "the seven chair pyramid" until one perished in a fall. They never used a net and just relied on prayers and talent like Moose and Squirrel.
So in my pursuit to become like Rocket J. Squirrel I became a circus fan. I would take the green water hose out of the shed and make it into a performance ring. Because I was and still am scared of heights I just couldn't seem to get up on that kitchen chair to swing from the clothesline.
What was I thinking?
I should have stayed on ground level and concocted my own Bullwinkle’s Poetry Corner.
Every year my father's company would do the electrical work for Quebec's Big Brome Fair and my late sister Robin and I would be there every weekend. My grandmother would pack egg salad sandwiches, bottles of Orange Crush soda and we would spend the whole day there eagerly awaiting the evening show.
High wire acts, magicians and motorcycles riding up thin wires into the crowd were all seen from the electrical "pigeon box" above the stage. Being extremely scared of heights it would take me a very long time to muster climbing up those steps. So much for my career as a high wire act let alone fly like Rocket J. Squirrel. After a few months I realized I had "nothing up my sleeve" in flying talent and would never become the fearless leader of Pottsylvania.
When I had a business in Ottawa years later I would get all sorts of performers shopping in my store. Cirque De Soleil, Barnum and Bailey and finally one day "la piece de resistance", The Moscow Circus. They came in the store in a huge group and needed costume help. They wanted to purchase flesh coloured Danskin fishnet hose and purple feather boas for their high wire outfits.
After 10 minutes of going back and forth with Boris Badenov and Natasha English I had all 6 women outfitted. "Never underestimate the power of a Shnook!"
They were thrilled and immediately all jumped into a pyramid in the middle of my store much to the delight of my customers and yelled greetings in Russian. I smiled from ear to ear and wished I could have been one of them. They asked me if I could do any tricks and I just looked at them with a deadpan look and said,
"Hey, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!"
And with that these high flying daredevils looked at me and screamed in broken English;
"Wrong Hat!" as they all started to laugh and said the word "Booooolwinkle" in unison.
I will forever be only be able to fly in my dreams, but the world of Jay Ward will always be universal and I will continue to live in Mr. Peabody's Improbable History World.
As they say, "I'll never be the brains of an outfit just the Executive." Just like those firemen in New Jersey.
Linda Seccaspina 2012
Rocky: Bullwinkle, this ship is covered in rubies and look what's written on the side! O-Mar Khay-yam. Bullwinkle, do you know what this is?
Bullwinkle: Well, if you're waiting on me to say it, I won't.
Antique Dealer: Me neither.
Rocky: OK, then this must be
Rocky: "The Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam".
Bullwinkle, Antique Dealer: OOOOH!
Images and text by Linda Seccaspina 2012
Images of :
1- squirrel I terrorized until I got a good picture yesterday
2- Linda with her Rocket J Squirrel Aviator Hat. Doesn't every one have one?
3- Linda in the 1990's sitting in front of her "Wall of Shame". Tons of autographs and pictures from "famous and not so famous" people. The wooden spoon circled is the spoon the participants of the Moscow Circus gave me.
"Quotes from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show"