This is the final underwater back-scratching team. Hundreds of backs were successfully scratched. Children were delighted, or mystified, or frightened. Next time, maybe an entire squadron of scratchers will be deployed – costume to be determined.
As mentioned in the last post, the octopus must be finished soon. Here are the latest additions.
Draped seaweed – A sea-weedy fabric curtain from a thrift store, cut in strips and hung from a pipe-cleaner collar.
Tentacle holder – Tentacles are pinned to another piece of vaguely sea-like material (this may have been something that tied back drapes) and then hung around the neck.
Sea shoes – Because octopus don’t have human-like feet, this is an embarrassing necessity. I took the sleeves cut from a old green shirt and stretched them over shoes. Hopefully no one will notice that I’m not really a cephalopod.
It’s almost time for the Solstice parade and if I’m going to scratch the backs of onlookers, there’s work to be done.
Tentacles – Cheap costume tights, stuffed with polyester batting. 10-gauge wire is inserted and bent so they don’t just hang straight down. There are six tentacles because my arms will go through the legs of another pair of tights to make the seventh and eighth.
Suckers – An old bathtub mat made from little disk-shaped plastic pieces was handy. I’ve cut it up and hot-glued the vaguely circular, semi-transparent chunks to the tentacles.
Giant back-scratcher – The same one from prior years. I stripped off the old monkey fur, added green tape and sea-weedy cloth strips.
There are more steps involved before I’m confident that no one will catch on. Spectators should think I’m a real octopus carrying a giant back-scratcher, of course.
Then come to the meeting.
1. Before the parade I was at the staging area looking for Diane in the “Birds and Bells” group. I found some birds and asked a cardinal, “Where is Diane the canary?” She said, “Diane? Isn’t she a puffin?” Someone else said, “No, there’s a canary Diane. She went out to take photos.” I found her. She’s in the second photo below.
2. During the parade, my partner and I (pictured below) scratched many, many backs of both children and adults. Some people wanted nothing to do with me whatsoever. Others were bowing to the pavement, eager for the golden fingers. I scratched one dog. Two people asked me to scratch their posteriors. I told them I’d need a signed permission form and moved on. Someone photoed me performing the sacred scratching rite.
3. After the parade, a man was admiring my garments. “Is that Balinese?” he asked me. I could have said it was woven by leprechauns who used the hair of the African water rat. He might have been a believer. But no, I told the truth – it came from the women’s pajamas and maternity wear section of a thrift store.