Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Swiss in Chicago

       People are an enigma. Even those you know well, you don't really know. A public face, a few private facets, but the rest is hidden, mysterious.
     Monday I had to be at Chicago Police Headquarters at 10 a.m. to pick up my press credentials, and later had lunch with a journalist new to the city from overseas. At Harry Caray's, of course, the first restaurant I always take newcomers to, to give them an idea of the richness and heritage of the city. He's going to a football game soon, and I found myself trying to explain the intricacies of American football, all the while having to keep from laughing and saying, "Boy, do you have the wrong guy for this." But I know about the four downs and the the 10 yards to make a first down, and passing and running, and made the best of it. 
    He had no idea about the Water Tower, and that seemed a lacuna that could cause trouble, so I walked him there, so he could clap eyes on the thing, trotting out Oscar Wilde's classic description of the structure as a crenelated fairy castle with pepperboxes stuck all over it.
     On the way back, we ran into these two inexplicable characters posing. I asked if I could take their picture—at first they were in profile, belly to belly and that would have been the better shot. But I wasn't quick enough about whipping out my phone, and they posed, which wasn't as good, and ignored my suggestion that they face each other again.
    Of course I asked them what they were doing, because I had no idea. With the masks, it seemed vaguely sexual, some kind of cosplay fantasy right there on Michigan Avenue. I got the sense they weren't promoting something. This wasn't commercial, it was personal.
     At first no reply. I asked again.
     "We're on holiday," said one, in some kind of accent I couldn't place. Which wasn't an explanation, but was a start.
     "Where from?" I asked.
     "Switzerland," one replied—I couldn't tell who was speaking, green or blue.
    Well, Switzerland. Say no more. I got the sense that I had overstayed my welcome, and moved on.
    Back at home, I started to dig. They are wearing what are called "Chub Suits"—$33 and you can buy your own on Amazon. A small battery-powered fan keeps them inflated.
     Maybe the hive can step in. I should have quizzed them further, but it's a free country, so far, and people should be able to caper about in large inflatable blob outfits without being badgered by the media. On that note, I bet no reader looked at that get-up and thought: we can't see their faces; that should be illegal. 
    Not like it was a face veil or anything. Covering your face for religion is bad. But for some freaky public thrill, well, who would even think to criticize? 


  1. I didn't think it should be illegal, but then it didn't occur to me as something sexual, either. I guess I have a limited imagination?

  2. People should be allowed to wear whatever they please, and we have a right to judge them harshly, mocking them for those ridiculous outfits.

  3. These Swiss are just too weird to even speculate on their motives. Thanks for "lacuna," however. I looked it up and the word means just the opposite of what I'd assumed it meant; I thought of it as a shard of pottery or a scrap of a Dead Sea Scroll, i.e. the presence of something rather than the absence thereof. I hope some EGD reader will encounter the blobs and interrogate them further as to what the hell they're doing.


  4. "Swiss? Say cheese!" (whipping out phone) "Your story is full of holes, pal!" Sure, that's a chain-yanking reply, but it sounds like they were yanking yours.

    In other words...they were probably yanking your chain.


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