Citing that the name “Cougar” is a derogatory term offensive to middle-aged women who still consider themselves a sexpot and not just referring to the scientific classification of Felidae Puma concolor, Arapaho High School Principal, Karen Watts, 42, denied the student body’s request for a high school mascot makeover.
“You don’t understand,” said a tearful Ms. Watts in a telephone interview, defending her decision. “They didn’t want an effigy of a cute furry woodland predatory creature to be their new school mascot. They wanted an effigy of me, an old woman past her prime, as their new mascot.”
When the student body gathered in the high school gymnasium for the presentation before the principal of the new mascot, everybody expected a student wearing a furry cougar suit to show up to the assembly.
Instead, what they got was a male student walking into the gym dressed in drag, as a protest.
“All I know is the kid didn’t know how to walk in high heels,” said John Manning, the school custodian. “I just finished buffing the floor, and he scuffed it all up. I told him, ‘Toe heel. Toe heel. Not heel toe’. But these kids today, they just don’t listen.”
“Everybody thought it was a joke and lol,” said Suzy Anderson, a paraplegic varsity squad “Wheel-Cheer” cheerleader. “Like the day people laughed at me.”
Sadly, Suzy knows all about laughter, but not the funny kind. She first heard it after losing the ability to walk. Suffering a near fatal spinal injury, after falling down onto defective gym mats when she lost her footing atop a three-story tall cheerleader pyramid. Trying to re-enact a scene from the movie Bring It.
“But people weren’t laughing at Timmy like they did at me that day,” said Suzy. “They…I mean, we were laughing with him.”
However, when the laughter died down, the young man in drag just stood there in the center of the gym.
“It was like he could see right through us,” said Mr. Manning. “Right through us. Right through our prejudices. Right down to the kind of dainty underwear we were wearing.”
“Then everybody thought,” continued Suzy. “‘Okay, maybe this is not really happening, you know?”
Perhaps because Timmy continued to stand there, staring down the people while dressed up like a chick.
“And not like a young attractive chick either,” said Suzy. “But like a really old ugly one. You know, like a ‘Cougar’ or Ms. Watts.”
After a long and awkward silence, breached only by the occasional dry cough, Timmy finally spoke.
“Well,” said Timmy as he twirled about in his little black dress with white 6-inch pumps, a blonde wig, pearl earrings, smudged makeup and a small turquoise purse. “What do you think of my ‘Cougar’ costume? I designed it myself in metal shop.”
The entire student body, along with the faculty and staff, erupted into cheers and applause. Coming to their feet, giving Timmy a standing ovation, believing he was asserting his sexual orientation.
“That was until Ms. Watts turned down Timmy’s ‘Cougar’ costume right on the spot,” said Mr. Manning.
Ms. Watts even instructed Mr. Manning to destroy the costume.
“A lot of handwork and craftsmanship went into this dress,” later said Mr. Manning behind the gym, as he held up the dress to his body, sizing it up. “So, um, I’m keeping it.”
Ms. Watts also prohibited Timmy from attending all scheduled school games for the rest of the academic year, unless he met her ultimatum.
“Not one game,” said Ms. Watts over the speaker, her voice echoing off the walls of the gym like thunder from some disapproving judgmental deity. “Not until you agree to wear a more traditional mountain lion costume.”
Timmy just stood there. Not saying a word.
The student body booed Ms. Watts as she left the gym.
“Those students have no idea how hurtful that term is to unmarried women over 40,” said a tearful Ms. Watts back on the telephone, blowing her nose. “They don’t know how hard it is to find somebody to love an older woman in a world obsessed with youth.”
“I’m really bummed about the ‘Cougar’ costume being rejected,” said Suzy, reflecting back on what would no doubt be the second most highlighted moment of her high school experience. “But I’m glad everybody supported Timmy coming out like that. And I’m so glad he didn’t freak out like that chick Carrie in that movie Carrie. But I heard he’s not into pigs’ blood. Do you know where I could get some pigs’ blood?”
Unbeknownst to Suzy, Timmy is the president of the school’s student chapter of PETA and has taken a vow not to hurt or to harm any animal.
“Or to portray them in an undignified manner,” Timmy whispered beneath his breath to himself, as Ms. Watts hurriedly walked passed him, careful to avoid eye contact with him on her way out of the gym.
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to keep our current mascot for now,” said a Ms. Watts sobbing as she hung up the telephone. “Somehow ‘The Arapaho Blood Thirsty Savage' doesn’t seem so bad anymore.”
Copyright © 2008-2012 by Robert W. Armijo. All rights reserved.