Dressing Up: It’s Nothing But Trouble

People in puppet costumes are having a tough time these days. It’s been all over the news. What the hell is this?

The most recent ones involve life-size puppets or puppets with people in them in Puerto Rico and Times Square. In Puerto Rico, the puppet is this gossipy big-haired woman with too much lipstick known as La Comay, who is just a big gossip. She holds forth on TV on a show called SuperXClusivo and has comments on just about everything.

Anyway, she was commenting about the murder of a 32-year-old man in San Juan and said, flippantly, that, well he was in this district frequented by prostitutes so maybe he was asking for this. And over 72,000 people signed up on Facebook agreeing to boycott La Comay, advertisers Walmart and AT&T and others pulled their commercials, and the lady with the big hair has been bounced.

In Times Square, a man dressed up as Elmo from Sesame Street was arrested after allegedly going on an anti-Semitic rant. People make anti-Semitic remarks all the time. But I guess it’s different if you are dressed up as Elmo. The man in the suit, by the way, is Jewish. They arrested him and he pled guilty to disorderly conduct, was sentenced to two days of community service and said he was off to Hawaii. “I had people yelling slurs at me, calling me a pedophile, saying I couldn’t be trusted around children,” he said.

That might have been because last fall the television voice of the actual Sesame Street character Elmo was accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with two boys when they were 15 and 16 years old. You could hear this man’s voice, as Elmo, right on television, this very person, talking to your kids. He denied the accusations, and the first accuser recanted his initial claims, but this person, Kevin Clash, resigned, his Muppet days at an end.

A few weeks later, also in Manhattan, but in front of the Conde Nast Building, another man in a puppet suit, dressed up as Super Mario was arrested for alleged forcible touching after a 58-year-old woman complained to a police officer that Super Mario, with his big furry glove, had touched her on her thigh. It’s probably a good idea to keep in mind that unlike in Disney World, anybody can dress up as practically anything and walk the streets. It’s the law. So there’s nobody doing background checks.

Finally, there was this piece about a man who as a child was the voice of Charlie Brown in those cartoon television specials. (They still re-air today.)

Peter Robbins had been living in California when his girlfriend Shawna Kern decided to have a breast enhancement. According to authorities, the work was done, Robbins paid for it, Robbins and Kern broke up, and then all hell broke loose. It all came out at his arraignment, which was reported by the New York Post showing Robbins in a prison suit looking up with the caption “ARRRGH!” underneath it—which is what 8-year-old Charlie Brown often says when he can’t figure something out. Robbins was charged with stalking and threatening his girlfriend and the plastic surgeon. He pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of making criminal threats and two counts of stalking.

According to court papers, Robbins put a note up on Dr. Lori Saltz’s office door that read:

Dr. Saltz, give me my f—king money back! You are a hack job! You butchered my girl and then throw her to the curb in pain, crying. I will break you in half today and all the kings men won’t put you back together again!”

There was also a phone message he allegedly left on the surgeon’s answering machine.

He wanted her to bring a $12,000 refund “at the Westin Hotel lobby by midnight [or] I will kill you.”

Robbins, according to Kern, had paid to buy a gun, though he didn’t pick it up, which the Post says authorities have confirmed.

His girlfriend, by the way, with the boob job in place, was off and living in L.A. The lawsuit says Robbins left 50 voicemails on his girlfriend’s phone, one of which allegedly said, “Bring me my dog immediately. You get $6,000 for a boob job. You can’t even feed yourself, can’t even feed your children. You’re an embarrassment to life.”

* * *

For each of the last two years, I have dressed up in a magnificent Santa Claus costume and sat high up on the last float of the annual Christmas parade in East Hampton Village. Me and the missus shout “Merry Christmas!” and “ho, ho, ho” and wave to the crowd. You can see knees buckle and the eyes widen on the four-year-olds. It’s HIM. He’s REAL.

After the parade, I repair to the lobby of the Huntting Inn, where I sit upon a throne and parents holding their kids by the hand line up to wait to see me. Some of the kids are too shy to jump up on my lap to tell me what they want, but others do. The kids like it. The parents like it. I like it. Is this okay?


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