Goldie the Gopher is a Girl! And other strange sightings

I had the strangest afternoon yesterday. I went and picked up Julia at school and brought her back to the U. My plan was to attend the retirement party of an honored colleague, Phil. The first strange thing was hanging out for fifteen minutes or so with my 13 year old Daughter at the University cafeteria ...

... Of course, I 've hung out with her on campus before, but not recently, and not so much post/mid prepubescently. This was strange because it was actually easy to imagine her there as a frosh in some far away college in a few years from now.... (shudder).

So then I went up to the party, and on the way there I ran into a colleague who was involved in organizing said party, who in turn was walking along with her arm around Goldie the Gopher, the University of Minnesota Mascot. They were walking in the general direction of the party, and kinda staggering. At first I thought they had gotten drunk or something, but then I realized that Goldie was blind. Goldie needed guidance with every step, and when Goldie's helper would get distracted by something, Goldie would promptly run into the nearest post or wall. Thump.

That made me laugh.

Now, I should point out that I'm sure Goldie is not habitually blind or blind from birth, or Goldie would not have had so much trouble just walking a straight line. I'm pretty sure this was a condition that had just developed. Maybe Golide had been maced or something.

Anyway, as they walked along, they took a sudden left turn into the Ladies. Which is why I think Goldie is a girl.

Anyway, along the way, while staggering up the stairs, Goldie and her helper ran into Terry, Tim, and me. The three of us were just finishing up a conversation about how to solve this big technological problem (Terry is a perl programmer) while we stood on the stairwell, when Goldie stumbled into us. As deftly as could be, Terry grabbed Goldie, told me to stand on the other side, and Tim who happened to have his camera with him for some reason snapped this picture.

Goldie looks like she is looking straight into the camera, but really, she has no idea what is in front of her, where she came from or where she is going.

Anyhow, the party was great.

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So I left the party and went and fetched Julia who was hanging around with a bunch of college kids watching Judge Judy or something in a lounge. We headed off campus, but things stayed strange.

On the way out of the parking lot we saw two Bernese Mountain Dogs that happened to look exactly like miniature Saint Bernards. Then we had one of those bizarre experiences where everyone we saw on the street for the next block had something funny about them, something funny about how they looked or something strange about the way they were acting.

(I resisted the temptation to to say "Wow.... Flashback city..")

Anyway, then the strange people went away and everybody had a cow after that.

Really. Everyone. Had a cow:

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That is a small sampling of the cows. It took a moment to get the camera out...

Then we went home and everything was normal again.

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You had my favorite kind of day! A St. Paul Day! With cake! I have a theory about St. Paul and the kinds of people and things you see there. I will share it with you if I ever see you in person again. As for the cows on the St. Paul campus: CUTE! As though the giant statues of cows weren't enough, they had to bring in the live ones. It makes for an authentic St. Paul experience anyway.

And, I don't want to ruin it for you, but there are multiple Goldies. Male and female. :) Hopefully not all running into walls and stuff, though.

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that the number one cause of SOMBS (Sudden-Onset Mascot Blindness Syndrome) is a sweatband that has slipped down over the performer's eyes.

I caught Terry Mulholland's first home run at a Phillies game in 1995. Within five minutes his father wanted the ball in exchange for some game used bats. We were escorted into the tunnel underneath the Vet just outside the Phils' clubhouse where we waited for the bats. During that time the Phillie Phanatic was getting on his ATV to go cruising around one of the concourses, until Mulholland's father grabbed the Phanatic by the snout and started talking to the guy inside the costume through the snout.

It was one of the most amusing moments I've ever had at a Phillies game.

Greg, I hate to be the one to break this one to you, but days like that become more frequent the further into teenagerhood (or, as I like to call it, insanity) your daughter goes.