Towards the end of September of 2012, I was hired to perform at an apple festival in the parking lot of Martyr’s on Lincoln. Basically they wanted a “Johnny Appleseed” character to entertain the kids. This gave me the chance to put my own stamp on the Tall Tale of Johnny Appleseed by creating a sidekick for him. A talking apple named Bob.
Things went very well; most of the kids liked Bob, and seemed far more interested in talking to him as opposed to Johnny Appleseed (though one kid did comment that if I was the real Johnny Appleseed I looked very young for my age. “Moisturizer” I explained.) In fact, one little girl kept trying to feed Bob apples, which proves once again that children have no concept of cannibalism.
Then, around the final hour I was performing, an odd thing happened. This one seven or eight year old kid showed up at the festival and just glared at me. I was confused and waved, and he just shook his head angrily in my direction. I shrugged it off and went about my business, when suddenly the same kid walked right up to me.
He looked me dead in the eye and said “I don’t trust you.”
“You’re not the real Johnny Appleseed. You’re just a wretched mime!”
I was taken a bit aback by this statement, and simply said “Mime’s don’t talk…”
His response? “You’re a mime and you have a hand puppet!”
“Why don’t you like hand puppets?”
“I have a marionette! Get yourself a marionette!”
And with that, he stormed off. I assumed never to be seen again.
Later on I’m speaking with Mark Sutton, who’d arrived at the festival, and as we speak the same kid walks up to me.
“You’re not the real Johnny Appleseed! I heard someone call you Sam!”
I was caught off guard by this, but luckily Mark stepped in. “They called him Sam because that’s an alias! He’s a wanted man! In some states giving out apples is considered Socialism!”
Phew! My cover was nearly blown for a second.
But the kid persisted, “He’s not Johnny Appleseed! He’s a wretched mime!”
I reminded him that mime’s don’t talk, and Mark chimed in once more, “That’s right. Mime’s have their vocal chords removed at birth.”
The kid was confused, kicked my leg and ran away. Mark looked at me and laughed “That kid is obsessed with you.”
“Yeah,” I replied. “Now I know how the guy in the Bugs Bunny suit at Six Flags feels…”