It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Many hard-core Disney fans have experienced the sting of a raised eyebrow or mocking chuckle presented by a co-worker, friend or family member at the mention of their love for Disney. A little black rain cloud of judgment is to be expected in the real world and for many, the D23 Expo was just the umbrella of grace needed.
Spending a few days away with our own kind, it was supposed to be a safe house for pin lanyards, Goofy hats and any and everything Disney. For the truly pure in heart, it was just the right time to break out beautifully homemade costumes paying homage to their Disney hero of choice…including one young man dressed up as Pinocchio. Not Captain Jack Sparrow, not the Rocketeer, but Pinocchio.
What was going through his little wooden head when he got dressed that morning? As he pulled up his tight little red shortalls, tied and fluffed his big blue bow and capped off his look with a feathered fedora, did he really think he was making a good choice? The strings of good taste and common sense had clearly been cut away and he was footloose and fancy free at his own personal Pleasure Island.
We first spotted him as he proudly stood first in line to enter the Expo. (On a strange but related side note, he was in the non-members line. Really? You’ve handcrafted your own personal Pinocchio costume, but you can’t cough up $75 bucks for a D23 membership?) On one hand, you have to give the man props because his costume really was beautifully made. On the other hand, he was a grown man wearing a Pinocchio costume in public.
I will be the first to admit that I am by nature, overly critical and judgmental. I am well aware of my faults and try and react with kindness and love. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. In Pinocchio’s case, I just walked past, and exchanged only the smallest of smirks with Jeff… and when we were well out of ear shot, a nice hearty laugh. (Judge if you must, but it’s a well-documented medical fact that you have to let the mockery out. I’ve lost a lot of good friends due to kindness and withheld laughter.)
The Cannibal Animal Awkward moment happened later on when we saw Pinocchio in the convention center. You know how some animals eat their young? Guppies, prairie dogs, baboons and even butterflies will commonly chow down on their own kind now and then. Just like a baby guppy, Pinocchio didn’t stand a chance in the sea of bigger, stronger and somehow cooler fans. It was one thing to see people in line keeping a safe distance from him, but when we saw paid cast members openly mocking the poor little puppet we knew he was a goner.
The strings that had once been cut thus freeing him to wear his shortalls with the greatest of puppet pride were now back and were strangling the joy right out of him. He thought he would be safe amongst his own kind, but instead was gobbled up and spit back out. Like a car accident, or a pride of lions on the hunt, it was fascinating and horrible all at the same time. We didn’t see little Pinocchio after that. Whether he changed in the men’s room or shuffled on home, we’ll never know happened to him. What we do know is to always think twice about your outfit of choice, even at a Disney fan event, because you never know when you too could be the victim of Cannibal Animal Awkward.