As some of you may or may not know, I’m a bit of a Disney geek. When my daughter was very little, we began watching those fantastic animated movies together. We’d sing the songs in the car as we traveled. She dressed up as a princess for Halloween. She loved the stories and how they were told – and I loved the incredible creativity behind bringing stories to life the way only Disney can. I’m also a history buff – so I began reading about how the company was formed, Imagineering, and Pixar. When my daughter turned four years old, we headed to Disneyland for her first visit…and we were hooked on a whole new level. Scroll forward a few years, and we became DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members and Annual Passholders. We make at least one or two trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando a year (one to run the marathon, and another just to simply place reality on hold and enjoy a few days of laughing and fun rides).
Why do I bring this up? I have a point – just give me a minute to get to it…
Walt Disney World sits on 26 square miles of land, and it contains four theme parks – the most well-known of which is The Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom is broken up into several sections (referred to as “lands”): Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Each of these “lands”have fantastic attractions that hundreds of people choose to wait in line to experience at any given hour that the park is open. There are also some smaller rides (Disney geeks refer to them as “B, C, or D ticket rides”) that people can experience as park attendance increases during the day. My personal favorite is The Laugh Floor. It is an attraction designed with the storyline of the hit movie Monsters, Inc., and it places the audience in a small theater that is supposed to resemble a comedy club. Monsters from the Monsters Inc. movies then take the stage and try their best to make the audience laugh, as laughter is the fuel that helps power their entire city (called Monstropolis).
I know, I know – get to the point. Bear with me – it’s coming….
Now here’s one of the fun things that is done during each performance: a member of the audience is usually selected to simply be called “THAT GUY”. His or her picture is flashed on the screen from time to time during the short 12 minute show, and the animated comedians make references to him / her as part of their act. (In comedy circles, this is called a “call back”) For instance: the monster on the stage, in an effort to make the kids laugh, will tell a joke and then say something like “…well it could be worse, kids – you could be….THAT GUY!” The audience member’s picture is shown again on the screen as the monster makes this reference, and he / she usually the participant makes a funny face – or more frequently a real sour puss. The kids then laugh pretty hard. It’s all in good fun.
OK – thanks for bearing with me – here comes the point I wanted to make….
Now, from what I’ve been told, if you want to be selected as “THAT GUY” during one of these performances, you can supposedly increase your odds by walking into the theater with a rather grumpy face on. A real sour puss. Remember: they want to single you out to make the kids laugh – so the sour the puss, the better. My daughter and I have seen this show so many times that, whenever we see someone that acts like a tool or is really rude, we normally say to each other “…things could be worse – you could be THAT GUY”. Bottom line: inside the Magic Kingdom, it’s cool to be THAT GUY. Outside of it…not so much.
So there I was, putting in a 4 miler this morning on the dreadmill, when a dude hops onto the machine right next to mine. He then proceeds to set his speed and incline, and sets off on his own solo mission. Fast-forward about 5 minutes, and the dude begins to curse. “this is NOT A 9 MINUTE F*&king PACE!!! THIS MACHINE F*&KING SUCKS!” He then begins to punch the buttons on the front of the dreadmill – because, as we all know, throwing a jab at the speed button of the machine smacks some sense into it and it automatically begins performing EXACTLY the way you expect it to – and continues to curse as his pace begins to speed up…….and speed up some more……
I guess the dude did not realize that his Rocky Balboa moment must have made the “up”button on the dreadmill stick, causing the speed to increase from a 6….to a 7….to an 8….9…10…and well into that pace that the Kenyans call home. Unfortunately for this guy, he was NOT Meb, or Martin Lel, or Paul Tergat. Instead, he was just like me – a local schmuck. His anger also clouded his rational thinking, as he failed to realize the precarious situation, choosing instead to try to hang with the speedy new pace. He lasted about 15 seconds. Then…..WHHOOOOOOOOOP! The dreadmill chucked him backward and he landed squarely on his butt.
I hit the stop button on my machine, and then hit it on his as well. I hopped off and asked if he was OK. He responded in the affirmative. At that moment, an older gentleman came over to find out if he could offer any assistance. The angry dude looked up, still squarely on the carpet, and declined any help. The gentleman looked at me and said “I saw the whole thing – wow. Never a good thing to lose your temper at a machine.”
My response: “Yup. Don’t be THAT GUY.”