Encounter number 2 - The Human Zoo

This afternoon, I ended up doing a second ride, this time around a section of Sherwood Forest near the Visitor Centre. Towards the end of the ride, I twice came within hailing distance of a family of baboons, presumably on a weekend break from the local safari park. There they were, all dressed up in their best XXXXL (short) sports gear, and broadcasting to the world at full volume a conversation which seemed to rely on a small but expressive vocabulary and a very simplified syntax.
Then one of them noticed me on my Coker. Putting his limited command of arithmetic to good use, he pointed out to everyone within 2 miles that I had only one wheel. This was the cue for a string of abusive remarks and requests for Dad to have a go. I ignored them, diverted onto the roughest track I could find, and disappeared into the forest.
Unfortunately, the diversion spat me out in front of the same fine advertisements for the Welfare State, and this time they were prepared for the encounter with a wider selection of abuse, including references to my supposed solitary sexual practices.
But all was not lost. My job brings me into close contact with such people, and over the years I have picked up a few rudimentary phrases of their dialect. They were behind me, shouting abuse, and suddenly the correct response came to mind. I stopped and did a still stand, bent forwards and farted loudly. This met with general approval and hilarity, and the abuse stopped.
Fortunately, I am a vegetarian. ;0)


Lmao thats hilarious

How can you put up with that? You make it sound like it’s normal for people to abuse unicyclists over there. In 10 months of unicycling I got my first abusive comment yesterday (apart from things being shouted from cars that I can’t understand and could go either way). I was riding to the local ATM and some guy sitting with a few other people yelled out “Faggot” as I rode by. That was where the ATM was so I stopped and withdrew some money while shaking my head in disgust. The guy sitting next to him said, “Shut up man, those things’d be mad fun to ride.” Come to think of it I really should’ve turned around and found out what he had against unicycling (because it doesn’t make any sence to me why someone would say thaat) but without saying anything it sorted itself out anyway. Generally people are really nice to me.


Re: Encounter number 2 - The Human Zoo

“”“Come to think of it I really should’ve turned around and found
out what he had against unicycling (because it doesn’t make any sence
me why someone would say thaat) but without saying anything it sorted
itself out anyway. Generally people are really nice to me.”""

—< I think something that is easy to forget for most of us is how
the average Joe (or Jane) Public reacts to shock. They get
bewildered, a little confused and go on the defensive automatically.

It’s hard for us to imagine someone going into shock by seeing someone
on a unicycle, but if we didn’t ride, we might react that way too.

Of course there are just idiots out there who will yell abuse, but
don’t for a second think you are the only one they have abused during
the day. You happen to stick out like a sore thumb so you are aprime
target. Other prime targets include people on oldbanged up cars,
people of above average weight, some one with a limp, etc etc.

But, everynow and then, some normal person, who is normally quite
nice, has a small reality fit when he sees you on your unicycle (this
means he gets a serious shock). How he reacts after that is dictated
more by his body’s reaction to that shock than by his brain.

I think it would be nice if we simply accepted that if we want to ride
in public, we will suffer a little verbal abuse.

Do a head count too, how many people have you ridden past that DIDN’T
say anything nasty? A hundred? A thousand? and then one guy spoils
it…I’d say we have a pretty good ratio this days…

Just my own personal rambling, and of course, only my own opinion.

Charles Dolbel - Corporate Entertainer
New Zealand

Who cares?! Life is too short to worry about what (or whether) these guys think. You’re young, but I’m almost 40 - I doubt I’ve got more than 80 years left!

Spend your time thinking about all the smiles and good comments you get - let the rest of it be like water off a duck’s back.


Tim, I really agree with you, life’s too short to get twisted in a knot about the occasional confused, negative comments. When I think about it, the postive by far outnumber the negatives it’s just we’re so much more offended by the negative and somehow it is as if we think we deserve the postive comments and therefore forget them more easily.

Every day I hear, ‘wow, that’s great’, ‘now I’m really impressed’, ‘wow, cool’, ‘you make that look easy’, ‘great’, ‘way to go’ and the list goes on… let’s not forget these type of comments or start to take them for granted. :wink:


Re: Encounter number 2 - The Human Zoo

now THAT is eloquence

I posted the story because I thought it was amusing, not to moan about the posterior orifices who provoked the situation. However, as the discussion has moved on, I will say I’ve had it up to here (raises hand above head height) with people who think they are entitled to be rude, abusive or even aggressive just because I’m doing something unusual.

I make all allowances for people never having seen a unicycle before, or never having seen one away from the stage/circus. I make all allowances for people spontaneously reinventing the wheel, as far as funny comments go. What I do object to is gits who feel that they have a right to behave so boorishly.

A throwaway remark as I ride past is one thing - perhaps irritating, perhaps not - but a sustained torrent of abuse and ridicule is uncalled for.

I have no understanding of why people find football so fascinating, but I don’t feel it appropriate or necessary to shout abuse at people playing football. Ditto for anglers, waterskiers, birdwatchers, rock climbers, even clowns…

We claim to be a liberal democracy - freedom of speech, freedom of the individual, and all that, yet the witch-burning mob mentality is very close to the surface, and seems more so year on year. It would be easy to despair for the future, if only we could be sure that there is one.

Other than nothing at all, my choice response for this one is “Nope, sorry, you’ll have to keep looking.”

When I read the original post, I thought Mikefeule was actually describing baboons. Assuming Sherwood Forest has changed (and probably become commercialized) since the days of Robin Hood, and with the mention of a visitors center, I assumed they were real baboons and this made the story hilarious!

Anyway, his reply was I’m sure very appropriate.

Aaagh! I’m caught in an irony vortex and I’ve lost track of who’s joking and who’s being serious! :astonished: :thinking:

Surely the reference to sports gear and requests for dad to have a go indicated they were nominally human - I think they were Homo Umbronikeadidas. I have to say, though, that if these people bough a house in Gibraltar, the apes would say, “There goes the neighbourhood,” and sell up.

Imagine the original post had been written about real babboons in a real zoo. This means Mike was inserting what he thought was appropriate text for the babboon-language. Hilarious!

Beyond that, drunk (or whatever their non-excuse would be) people aren’t worth the time of day.

The implication sugests there is a negative conotation that would arouse the ire of the heckler; I’d be more inclined to take a different tack and strike a suggestive, contemplative still stand, then retorte, “Why, yes, but you’re not my type- I don’t do anything lower than simmian.”


On a couple of threads recently there has been reference to hecklers suggesting that unicyclists are gay/faggots or some other term referring to homosexuality and intended to be insulting.

All of our responses (until this one from Rhysling) have overlooked the fact that there is no reason to treat such a question/allegation as an insult. Indeed, to treat being called gay as an insult is, in a way, an insult to people who actually are gay. So well done to Rhysling for suggesting this response.

Most people who would use gay/faggot/poof etc. as an insult are just a little bit afraid of homosexuality, so if you are prepared to leave them in a little bit of doubt about the person they’ve just heckled, you’ve got them on the back foot. :wink:

It’s such a strange hang up to have.

That would be pretty damn funny but I don’t think I could bring myself to say that (not that there’s anything wrong with it [I just watched Seinfeld :)]). There were a few other people around. That’d be good to see their reaction.


Re: Encounter number 2 - The Human Zoo

andrew_carter <andrew_carter.kpmdd@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

> I was
> riding to the local ATM and some guy sitting with a few other people
> yelled out “Faggot” as I rode by.

To which you should have replied “Hmmm - Brains” in a
Homer Simpsonesque manner.


Paul Selwood
paul@vimes.u-net.com http://www.vimes.u-net.com

Re: Encounter number 2 - The Human Zoo

Forgive me for resurrecting this thread, but it occurs to me, is the USA Skills Committee paying attention here?

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: Re: Encounter number 2 - The Human Zoo

and if they are, will this kinda thing be allowed in freestyle routines?
“COMPLETE tastelesness at unicon” beckons
i reckon with a decent chilli con carne under the belt u should be able to paint your uni in the appropriate colours and, stomach on seat, do a fair immitation of a tomahawk/patriot(sic).

forget the USA skills committee,
is jamey listening?