Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I suspect that the closest any mortal can come to truly knowing the travails of a can of beans errantly placed in a microwave is to don a full suit of armor on a sweltering and cloudless day in Tennessee, but that is merely speculation on my part. At any rate, combine this with the added factors of a sweaty horse, heavy wooden lance, and other armor-clad individuals with heavy lances on big sweaty horses and you have the medieval equivalent of NASCAR. Have all this occur within fifteen minutes of my house and I will have no choice but to attend.
So it was that Mrs. Camino and I enthusiastically accepted to the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Scarborough to witness the Gath of Baal National Jousting Tournament on the last day of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. Mrs. Scarborough was quicker on the blog trigger and has already accurately relayed the details and posted some pictures of the day. Each of them is an ubelievably talented artist, and I can only hope to soon see jousting inspired work on each of their sites.
Now, the more hardcore of your renfest goers will look something like a cross between a science fiction convention and impersonators of the original line-up of the Allman Brothers Band with assorted roadies and groupies. I mean this in a good way. Far be it for me to mock those who have experted themselves in the forgotten arts of fire breathing, axe tossing, and falconry.
However, not all renaissance festivals are so professional. I can recall attending the Alabama renfest while growing up in Florence and being thoroughly entertained by half-drunk rednecks in suits of armor pummeling one another with wooden swords, their mullets swaying from behind their helmeted heads. They would strike with shouts of "On guard, mutherfucker!" before an audience that sometimes included the visiting mayor of Florence, Italy.
It may have happened differently, but that, along with a "Don't Fear the Reaper" soundtrack, is how I remember it.
Part of the lure of medieval culture is that famous medieval violence, and, much like the aforementioned sport of NASCAR, those who attend full contact jousting do so with the hope, though sometimes not expressing it as fervently as Mr. Scarborough and myself, that they will be witness to something gone horribly wrong. However, there were no men or beasts impaled on lances this day. The most one could really hope for is to see a good unhorseing, and there were a couple of those within the contests we watched. Still, it is really something to just lie in the grass within feet of full contact jousting. You can feel the thundering of the horses, crashing of sudden contact, and then, if you are lucky, you will get to dodge the occasional shattered lance.


As for the rest of the festival, I managed to accomplished my goal to avoid being the poor bastard chosen from the audience to participate in any of the various carney stage shows laid out within the makeshift village. It is one of my three main fears.
My second and less rational fear in no particular order would be that of sunken ships. I watch documentaries on the sunken Bismarck and various other ships with the same adrenaline fueled anxiety that others watch horror movies to achieve.
The third and least rational will remain nameless, as it is a common children's toy that friends and coworkers, were they to discover its kryptonite-like effect, would no doubt chase and/or taunt me with.
People can not so easily chase one another with sunken ships.
But I digress.
We may have "poached in the stew of the day", as Mrs. Scarborough so eloquently described it (Mrs. Camino and I noticed our stench once back in the air-conditioned Camino mobile. Swampy ecosystems had taken root upon each of our persons, and methinks it was akin to what one could olfactorally expect to encounter when meeting another in medieval times), but a festive time was had by all. It was good to see the Scarboroughs for the first time in a few years, even if our hopes of witnessing a good impaling were left unfulfilled there on a muddy jousting track.


Blogger ceeelcee said...

"On guard, mutherfucker!" Classic!

I have attended the Ren Fest in about 10 years because I got tired of the authentic beggars panhandling after every 15 minute magic show. And I can smoke my own turkey legs at home. Or let the Knucklehead do it now.

(Come to think of it, that sounded dirty...)

Regarding your secret fear, I will admit to what I think is a very rational fear of Koosh balls. Of course, that's because an ex-girlfriend once playfully threw one right into my nads while I wasn't looking, and I almost spit up blood while laying gasping on the floor for five minutes.

"What's wrong, honey? It's just a Koosh ball?"


Thanks for the chuckle.

9:58 AM  
Blogger saraclark said...

Damn, someone else said it first.

This is going to be my new motto..."on guard, Motherfucker!" especially if I can say it with the right amount of Alabama accent thrown in.

Very funny.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

I can't think of anything that would be acceptable to throw at one's nads when he isn't looking. Even the Koosh ball can be deadly.

I think, "Own gar, Muh'fucker" would be the correct way to pronounce it in the Alabamian dialect, Sara. Try it out on friends and coworkers today.

9:46 AM  

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