Wednesday, March 17, 2010
a little bull
I have been running with the bulls.
Make that singular. Bull.
A small (but deadly) one.
My neighbors follow a very simple maxim. There is no sense in celebrating a saint's birthday unless you can maximize the possibility of maiming, trampling, or blinding a few innocent spectators each evening. Perhaps in the hope Pat will wow us with his ability to produce a miracle or two.
The local boys may show their bravery by running under the dying shower of sparks on the castillo. But the rest of us are no less brave for simply standing around in the jardin after the corona crashes to earth.
Some older folks (those in the know and with expiring health insurance) scuttle quickly away. But the rest of us gird ourselves for the release of the bull.
That is him at the top of the post. Getting his tail lit. Admittedly, his paper-mâché construction does not engender immediate fear. I heard a woman from Ottawa saw: "Look! A piñata!"
Not quite. If he is a piñata, he is a piñata who is packing.
Here's the drill. The fellow runs through the spectators with boys running in tow, and the crowd parting like the Red Sea. As he runs, mini-rockets shoot out of the bull into the crowd.
And I cannot overemphasize that verb. Shoot -- as in from a grenade launcher.
I tried to follow close enough to get a good photograph. But I was so busy dodging friendly fire, I could not get off a return shot.
Watching from the edge of the jardin, the rockets shooting over and into the crowd looked like those videos of Baghdad during the air war. But this was all in fun -- terrifying, adrenalin-rushing fun.
So, why does everyone stick around for the opportunity to be burned, terrified, and trampled?
I know why I do. For exactly the same reason we speed in our cars or pay money for a carnival ride.
We want to stand up, look at ourselves and our neighbors, and laugh that we have all survived another attack of danger.
And life is good.
Note: If you want your bull in larger doses, take a look at Gary Denness's site: Mexile. He has posted a BBC clip of a bull in Mexico City. Ours is not that large. But when it comes to causing pandemonium, size does not matter. The result in our little village is just as riotous.