An Amazing True Story for Mother’s Day


When I was a little kid, I went to a county fair-type Halloween festival in Pittsburgh. There were haunted houses, fried foods, games, and sideshow acts.

One such act was a “half man, half gorilla.” He started the show as a man but turned into a gorilla by the end.

Being a tiny jerk of a human, I hid in the pavilion after one of his performances and saw him change out of the gorilla costume. Apprised of the truth about this half man, half gorilla, that he was a fake, I stuck around for his next performance and right at the moment of the big reveal – when he turned into the gorilla – I yelled out from near the exit “It’s a costume!”

For whatever reason – likely something to do with the fact that this guy’s job was to be a gorilla-human at a Pittsburgh sideshow – he snapped. He jumped off the stage and began running straight at me in full gorilla costume.

I booked it, turning around and running out into the fairgrounds. He kept chasing me. I don’t like to think too much about what his endgame was if he caught me, but we ran around and around the grounds, eventually coming to circle Ivan the Impaler’s stage, another sideshow act (and local weird artist) in which Ivan hammered objects up his nose. We ran in circles, with the man picking up ground on me.

By this point, I began screaming my parents names and fortunately, fans of Ivan’s that they were, they weren’t far away and sprang into action to stop the grown man trying to kill their daughter.

Timing things as only my mother (and maybe some NFL players) can, my mom managed to launch herself into the gorilla man at just the right moment, tackling him to the ground.

I don’t remember what happened after that, but I think we just left the fair. My parents probably didn’t blame the guy for snapping, being small-time artists themselves who know how short a fuse a bad performance or hostile audience can leave you with.

My mom and I have had a rocky relationship at times but today, on Mother’s Day, I’d be remiss to deny just how special she is. And knowing as I do how consistently she reads this blog, I’ll end by saying: hi mom, happy Mother’s Day.

2 thoughts on “An Amazing True Story for Mother’s Day

  1. As I recall, you were broadcasting a nonstop earsplitting screech as you bolted through the crowd with that maniac in the gorilla suit after you. You twisted and dodged like a champ — all those games of tag with your brother served you well.

    Some things never change. You gleefully called out a phony (then ran for your life), and your mom came through (in her outrageous, heroic, unstoppable way) to help you.

    Great Mother’s Day story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Station Square became “Station Scare” for Hallowe’en, likely 1999 – if so, you were 7. I don’t remember you screaming, I just remember being hypervigilant as you stayed in the wings of that man-to-gorilla act for a couple of incarnations and I hovered between Rob and Sam at one spot, and you at another (I would never leave my 7-year-old out of general earshot/sight).

    That said, wow, you and that guy were boomed out of a cannon when you exited the sideshow tent at full blast. It took a couple of passes for me to be able to take him out at the knees. You’re right, we just left at that point, likely not wanting to risk a carney posse coming up on our little family.

    Thank you for this great Mother’s Day gift.

    Liked by 1 person

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