Disclaimer: As per usual, this post may offend the highly sensitive. “You probably think it’s about you, don’t you, don’t you?” It’s not, so take a chill pill!
Do any of you ever read FB and go, “OH puleeze, let’s be for real!!” I do constantly because it seems that it is full of only what folks want you to know and see and not necessarily reality. If you ignore the political posts and other diverse topics, FB is like Polly Perky on steroids. Sure, every once in a while, you’ll get someone on there that tells us their life is total SHIT, but usually those folks don’t seem to have a moment that isn’t crappy and they complain so much that no one listens. Those born with a crap spoon are a minority. It seems we have one extreme or the other. Life is super great or life is an
outhouse. The mushing world on FB is no different. It seems there is a bit of reality missing from FB mushing. We get our fair share of cute photos, puppy shots, podium shots, race winnings and video clips of teams loping. However, let me tell you folks; for every cutsie, perfect post there is reality. So I’m here to blow the lid off of FB mushing and get down to real mushing. Let’s expose mushing “perfection” and urge folks to show the realness of what we do. I want to see foibles and follies because they are funny and they make me feel better about all of mine. I want some middle ground reality; the stuff we all know exists.
You’ve all seen the the endless videos of dog teams running balls to the walls. The dogs seem perfect, the pace seems perfect and even the weather seems perfect and often the video is accompanied by the comment, “Perfect run today!” Even better is when they post the speedometer on the video so we can see the team moving at break neck speeds. It’s all just perfect. You start to wonder if your team measures up because they never look that good for 30 miles. I believe this has become a new means by which to mess with your competition. In the old days, mushers psyched out their competition face to face. You could always avoid it by avoiding those that play the game. However, on FB you’d have to quit going on FB …..Oh goodness, what a scary concept!
In reality, we all know those videos are shot in the first few miles of the run because even monkeys in harness can look like good sled dogs in the first five miles. We all know that at some point in the run, old Spot stopped to take a dump and the entire team bunched up and a tangle ensued. The perfect musher ran up to solve the problem and tripped over his/her big boots and landed face first in the snow only to have the dogs pull the hook. Luckily, the perfect musher grabbed the gang line and saved the day, but not without dragging through the poo first. About 15 miles in, the team went flat like someone had slipped Tramadol in their food and the run was like watching paint dry. Then there was the point when the team looked like a snake shimmying down the trail because so many of them were dipping excessively; as if they had never been watered. The smile the perfect musher was wearing in the video became a tooth grinding grimace. By the end of the run, the team was walking and perfect musher had become reality musher and proclaimed, “Sell them all!”
How about the endless pictures of puppies. Cute, fluffy, little puppies running playfully about or sleeping peacefully. They are adorable and perfect! Or are they?
In reality, the little terrors hadn’t slept all day and are finally down after peeing and pooping endlessly; which resulted in an hour long cleaning of their kennel for the 30th day straight. While the monsters were trying to be herded about so the kennel could be cleaned, they were screaming and jumping all over, eating the musher’s hair and biting her hands until blood was drawn. When the cleaning task was finally accomplished, musher smelled like puppy pee and poo, had several bleeding wounds on hands and face along with a bald spot on the side of head. Folks, this is the photo I want to see because this is reality!
Then we have the pictures of the immaculate kennel. Painted houses, no trenches, no dust, no mud, no poop, no pee posts or stains and everything is all matchy matchy; a sled dog’s Eden.
In reality, the perfect musher just spent three days repainting all houses and can barely stand straight up without severe pain and is covered head to toe in red paint. It’s the first time the houses have been painted in 6 years. Perfect musher spent an entire day grading the ground until it was perfectly flat only to see trenches and holes form within a matter of hours after the photo. There are at least 20-30 fly traps all over the yard and in reality the place smells like dead bodies are buried everywhere. To add to the ambience, in the back of the kennel is the poop sled filled with at least a couple hundred pounds of fragrant butt nuggets. The excruciating work along with the aroma has, of course, driven perfect musher to start drinking before chores were over just to alleviate the pain and smell. It was a bad idea when inebriated musher decided to haul the poop sled filled with hundreds of pounds of doodie to the back forty for dumping. Poor balance resulted in perfect musher becoming doodie covered musher. Show me that picture!
Then there are those videos that proud mushers post of their teams and unbeknownst to them the team looks really bad. It’s like watching American Idol tryouts when the person thinks they can sing. Now you might say that this does not fit in with posting only good things, but it does. You see, the poster is oblivious that their team looks unflattering and is so proud they must share. The non-reality comes when everyone and their brother starts telling the poster that the team looks great. “Team looks great!”, “Awesome team”, “You’re flying”! One might think they have this gig figured out if their team looks better than the ones everyone is oohing and aahing about. One starts to wonder, “What in the hell does a good team look like?” Wouldn’t it be better to say nothing than to lie and lead them down the primrose path confusing them and the rest of us?
The reality is you have a dog or two with tug lines dragging on the ground. The leaders look like they would rather be doing anything else and most certainly will when presented the opportunity. The point dog’s gait is severely skewed and a chiropractor might be required. I hope you’re only traveling a couple miles because it might take you all day. You should really learn to be quiet because chatting with them the entire few miles has obviously caused them to stop listening to you. Is that a golden retriever in your team? Please, please find a mentor.
We’ve seen tons of pictures of mushers hugging, kissing and loving their dogs. It is so idyllic. Tugs at the heart strings and the urbanites that don’t understand our sport just eat it up.
Do you suppose we could market the reality? Musher hugs dog and dog french kisses musher after just finishing his hot, fresh stool. The “f” bombs that follow would most certainly have to be edited. Dog jumps to be hugged, bashing musher’s lip for the umpteenth time and we get to see blood and gore everywhere. How about the broken glasses from the paw across the face from Mr. Lovey Dovey when he wanted more attention? Certainly, they’d understand the black eye from Ms. Exuberant that can’t wait to get in her box. These are my reality!
In nearly all photos we never see poo. Why doesn’t anyone post themselves poop scooping? What? Does everyone’s poo just magically disappear into PooLand not to be seen ever again? For Kaka sake we even made a game out of poop scooping at Stage Stop, posted it and made it look fun as hell. Folks all over the world want to poop scoop now. Let me tell ya, the reality isn’t so alluring.
Reality videos would have to include the full bucket that gets dumped all over Timbuktu when musher trips in the one of many holes in the yard or when the musher straining to carry a brimming 5 gallon poo receiver in each hand across an icy yard slips and trips. Certainly, the artistry of scooping in winter should be captured on film. It would be a slow motion video; like the victory basketball shot set to inspirational music. Envision it …..The perfect flick of the wrist that sends the frozen poopsicle and shards of poo sailing through the air twisting and turning for a perfect landing into the bucket and all over the musher’s face. Beautiful, don’t ya think? I know that there are some of you artsy types out there that truly appreciate the joy of that very process; nothing is more satisfying then landing a perfect poo shot!
Then finally there are the numerous photos of the podium, the victory fist and the big trophy. Perfect mushers are smiling ear to ear along with their smiling crew and adoring fans. The joys of placing in the top. You can’t help but smile along with them.
However, there is another side to those photos and most of us have been there; the dark side. Where is the guy throwing his red lantern at the back of the trailer because he came in last? The musher that locks himself in his trailer because he can’t speak to anybody, where’s his photo? The moody, crabby crew that is sick of the musher’s antics. The fans that are yelling, “What the hell is wrong with you?” The group shot of the team with jaws hanging on the ground, looking devastated. Yep, there’s some reality.
So come on folks, we have enough “fake” news out there, let’s make FB mushing real. Let’s laugh at our insane reality. We know you have lead dogs that poop, dogs that dip, dogs that don’t get along, leaders that don’t know gee from haw, the non-eaters and the non-drinkers, the loud dogs and the harness bangers. We can’t be the only ones! Join us in our truth!
“REALITY IS MERELY AN ILLUSION, ALBEIT A VERY PERSISTENT ONE.”