No Good News – Dwarf Tossing

Sometimes it just hurts to look at the news. Sometimes a news article or an editorial or even just a photo twists my sense of how people generate thoughts so badly that I have to go lie down or write an angry column for the internet.

YEAH. EXACTLY. Remember when we lived in 2012? Remember when even if you’re a creationist, that means the world is 2012 years old? The worst part is that the headline makes the two camps seem equal somehow: fans of dwarf-tossing and critics of dwarf-tossing. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? People fighting for their right to party or killjoys who want people to have dignity?

The dwarf, a Windsor resident whose stage name is Tripod, refused an interview and was not interested in disclosing any details of his life.”

Dwarf-tossing, guys. A WINDSOR RESIDENT NAMED TRIPOD. And why would we expect him to disclose any details of his life? He gets tossed. Maybe you aren’t going to judge books by their covers, but I’m assuming this is a depressing book. Let’s scroll back to the photo. Did you notice, first of all, that the sign for “Leopard’s Lounge & Broil” (Broil?) says “You’re In For A Real Treat”? I guess that’s the “Broil” part. And why are there so many women in line? Seems like a real date night. Dinner and a dwarf-toss. Or, better yet: a place to meet the kind of men you want to snag as husbands. I’m going to leave that plural. It’s a dwarf-toss. But wait: there’s more. Underneath the photo is says: “This is the second time in a decade Leopards has hosted this type of event”. Does that mean there’s a limit to how much fun we can have?

In pairs, participants took hold of a harness that was attached to the dwarf and threw him as far as they could. The club was packed to capacity and the boisterous crowd laughed, clapped, and applauded while the four-foot, eight-inch man was chucked across the stage. Five air mattresses were laid out to ensure a safe landing for Tripod.

Last I checked, Tripod was usually a name given to rescued dogs. Would you put a rescued, three-legged dog in a harness and throw him across a stage onto air mattresses? Already, I am entirely too close to the pro-dwarf-tossing camp by implying that someone born with dwarfism is like a three legged dog, and not a human being with a mind, emotions, life experiences, a capacity for suffering, a need for dignity, a desire to be given reasonable opportunities for employment… also, did I say throw? Because the Post’s word was “chucked”. And the crowd was “boisterous”. I am tempted to say that the activity, like the description, was “medieval”. These terms are subjective. Live your life, reader!

The competition has drawn a swarm of negative feedback, with critics citing issues of human rights and dignity. But Leopard’s general manager Barry Maroon said he sees nothing wrong with the event.

I feel like we’re really lucky that this guy’s last name is Maroon. Who else would run Leopard’s Lounge & Broil? Who else would see nothing wrong with chucking poor Tripod around onto a bunch of air mattresses (can we pause to think about safety? And reflect on the use of the word harness, earlier)? But let me spell out why I think “maroon” is so apt here.

“This is an athletic guy that’s an entertainer that has been doing this for a while that approached us,” Maroon said. “It’s not like we went behind a liquor store and offered some bum twenty dollars to come and fight on stage.”

Something about the details in this bum scenario tell me Maroon has put some thought into offering a bum twenty dollars to come and fight on stage. But this is no bum! This is an athlete named Tripod. Or at the very least, someone being treated like an athletic support named Tripod. How has this even been allowed to happen? Surely, we don’t need legislation to make us not do something so obviously morally reprehensible. You know, the legislature has never seen an Act to Ban Wiping Your Ass With A Puppy, or an Act to Ban Dwarf Tossing. Right?

In 2003, former Windsor West provincial legislator and then-deputy Liberal leader Sandra Pupatello attempted, but failed, to pass the Act to Ban Dwarf Tossing that would have banned these sorts of competitions in Ontario.

Maroon said in terms of legislation being passed to outlaw dwarf tossing events, more important issues should maintain focus within politics.

“They may want to look at the real issues that are in our province and try to fix some of them before they try to delve into this guy’s personal business that he’s created for himself,” Maroon said. “I think this fella is entitled to earn his living the way he sees fit for himself.”

Possibly, the issues that drove Tripod into the frankly insalubrious world of dwarf-tossing? It’s funny that in an article about dwarf-tossing in a paper started by Lord Conrad Black, the word insalubrious is never used. Nor is squalid, vile, disreputable, fetid, wretched, shameful, discreditable, or “spiritually gone to rack and ruin”. The phrase moral leprosy makes no appearance, let alone ethically bankrupt, which even The Toronto Sun might use. But what did the people there think? The people who stood nothing to gain but to toss a dwarf? What of their blackened hearts and/or sloping foreheads?

A man who went by John C. from Belle River, Ont., attended the first dwarf toss at Leopard’s. He took part in the competition then — hurling the little person eight feet — and was back this year for more. He said the midget taking part in the event is using his misfortune to his advantage.

“If someone wanted to toss me, I would let them,” said John, adding he weighs 300 pounds. He said although people are raising concerns in terms of ethics of this dwarf toss, “this is nothing compared to what happens in Vegas.”

Nothing compared to what happens in motherfucking Vegas? I suppose they are tossing 300 pound men in Vegas. Dwarfs are tossing fat guys, even. Standard fare in Sin City. Windsor, by the way, is a sort of Vegas of the North. So they need to get up to Vegas standards. You know what kind of advantage can be taken of misfortune in the world today? Have you seen baby fighting?

 

Kingsville, Ont., resident Fred Vigneaux and his wife Laurie grabbed a hold of the bonnet-wearing, bottle-bearing dwarf and tossed him nearly six feet. They said they enjoyed themselves and would attend another dwarf toss in the future.

“It’s something he doesn’t mind doing and it’s all in good fun,” said Fred. “But I was surprised at how heavy he was. He’s a solid little bugger.”

Words cannot convey how sick to my stomach the following phrases made me: “bonnet-wearing, bottle-bearing dwarf”; “would attend another dwarf toss”; “solid little bugger”. Windsorites (mostly Americans and strippers, apparently) seem keen to defend the dwarf toss. Here are some solid arguments for dwarf tossing:

Richard McKenzie, 24, crossed the border fromAnn Arbor,Mich.along with four friends to attend the event. He said he wishes he were a little person so he could be the one being tossed around.

Hey, dream big, fella. Wishes can come true. Oh wait: no they can’t, and dwarf tossing is proof of that. Or how about that stripper I mentioned? A lefty like me is sure to side with sex-worker’s rights, so let’s use that lens to make dwarf tossing positively uplifting.

A 32-year-old stripper, who only wanted to be referred to by her stage-name, Kahlua, said she was excited about the event and said it was similar to her job.

“He’s using his body and what he’s been gifted with by God to use it as a stage show. Same thing here,” Kahlua said. “I use my legs and my looks and I wear makeup that I wouldn’t walk down the street wearing and I shake what I’ve got and I make money for it. And I’m proud of that.”

Even the critics, quoted finally at the very end of the article, seem OK with it in terms of using your body as a business. Windsor resident Brad Kalbefleisch, reluctant attendant at the evening’s frankly Nathaniel West-ish affair after strongly disliking it a decade ago (what isn’t happening in Windsor that he was convinced to go a second time?), sees it as a symptom of the recession.

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About Matt Collins

Matt Collins is a musician (Ninja High School), cartoonist (Sexy), jock (Manhunt), and comedian (Matt Collins) in Toronto, Ontario. Please buy more Matt Collins. [Other Posts By Matt]