Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's a good thing I'm too salty

Cleveland, Ohio, is a strange place to take a vacation. However, there is a surprising amount of fun to be had there. Too much for just one post.

Guy has a good friend that lives near Cleveland. He calls him Damize. Damize is one of the most interesting people I have ever met, and his wife is one of the nicest. Just getting to hang out with them was a great part of the trip.

The thing is, they live in a small town in Ohio, outside of Cleveland. The population there is about 22,000. The average attendance to a high school football game is about 18,000. I'm not even kidding.

Damize grew up in this town, and his wife in the next town over. Aside from a stint as road manager for Yes, he has lived there all of his life. And yes, I just said that he toured with Yes, as in Owner of a Lonely Heart Yes. Strike a pose with me now. No no. Whank!

Back to Damize. He toured with Yes, has famous musicians texting him at all hours, and yet, is a thoroughly small town dude. It's quite fascinating. The thing about him is, that even in his small town, he has done really cool things.

Like train tigers. Again. Not kidding.

Each year, the high school gets a new baby tiger as their mascot. We were lucky enough to meet this year's little squirt. She was a 2 week old baby whose mama didn't want no part of mama-ing. She was one ticked off little gal. Her eyes weren't even open yet, but she could already scream and showed us how well she could.

While at this strange part farm part refuge place where the little baby was living, we parked next to a zebra, walked past some llama, and got screeched at by tropical birds. Some of the animals we saw are possibly animals you have seen on Letterman or Leno.

We also met one of the previous tiger mascots. He is 850 pounds. I crept over to the fence to see if I could peek into the shaded are where he was "napping." And by "napping" I mean that he was laying in the shade pretending to sleep with his HUGE eyes wide open and staring at me like a tasty snack.

The sign on his fence read, "I can make it to the fence in 1.8 seconds. Can you?"

It was quite a surreal feeling, knowing that the cyclone fence between me and the 850 pound tiger was really only a suggestion. Had said tiger really wanted to eat me, he would have began his meal in 1.8 seconds. Flat.

I backed away from the fence, laughing nervously. Damize said, "So you saw him?" To which I replied, "Yes, and he saw me."

We left shortly thereafter, but not before Guy tried to smuggle out the cutest otter you have ever seen.