Me and you and a dog named ‘Ripperoo’
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Sometimes the e-mails Husband-Head sends to me are just plain weird.
The other day he sent one from work that had a subject line which simply read, “Too bad it doesn’t pay much, but I think this is my calling in life.”
I was a little afraid to open it, and as it turned out, with good reason.
It was a job description for “Ripperoo” – a dog mascot for Vail Resorts who entertains the kids in the lift lines and joins their ski classes as well.
“You mean you want to be Ripperoo for Halloween?” I wrote back, trying to clarify. “I thought you were going to be the ringmaster of your evil Halloween circus.”
“Nope,” he replied. “This is a real job. And I think I’d be good at it.”
Apparently this “Ripperoo” character was a popular icon amongst children and visitors to the Vail ski area and plays an “integral role in creating exceptional experiences that make our resorts premier destinations for travelers from around the globe,” the job description said.
Ripperoo is responsible for promoting ski and snowboard activities and must be an advanced level skier who can ski while wearing a costume with limited visibility, greet guests and entertain.
“Must be comfortable in a confining suit that is very warm and must be willing and able to stay in character while in costume,” the job requirements said.
I laughed when I read it.
“You can’t even stand to wear your WEDDING RING because you say it’s too constrictive!” I pointed out to Husband-Head when he came home. “How the hell are you going to walk around, much less SKI, all day in a big dog costume?”
But Husband-Head was pretty convinced that he should be the next “Ripperoo.”
“I know I can do it!” he said with enthusiasm. “It’s like Vail Resorts’ answer to Disney! I love dogs and I actually have experience!”
Not to rain on his parade, but I needed a few clarifications.
“Ummm, you may love dogs, but as long as I’ve known you, you’re not really a big fan of little kids – although, God knows, you act like one yourself – which is why we don’t have any,” I reminded him. “And what, praytell, experience might you have for this position? In 20 years together, this is the first I’ve heard of it…”
Husband-Head folded his arms over his puffed out chest.
“I’ll have you know that in college in Wisconsin, I was hired as the moose mascot for Moosehead Beer,” Husband-Head said proudly. “So that certainly qualifies me to be the Ripperoo ski dog.”
He was quiet for a moment before he continued.
“Although, the Moosehead gig was kind of short-lived,” he confessed. “My job was to hand out beer and I jumped off the bar and landed on a bunch of sorority girls and I got fired.”
That sounds about right …
But the more I read about the Ripperoo job description, the more concerned I became about Husband-Head’s qualifications.
He was OK with the high school diploma and the ability to read, write and speak English and his skiing skills were in line with the position, but some of the other requirements didn’t seem like a good match.
“Do you realize that you would have to speak ‘in character’ the whole time?” I asked Husband-Head. “So you’d have to talk like Scooby-Doo all day long..”
Other requirements included a “desire to work directly with young children, work weekends and holidays and children’s entertainment experience preferred.
“He’s sort of like Santa Claus,” the marketing description summed up. “Since there is very little skill involved, it’s an effective way to assuage the egos of children who just don’t take to skiing.”
However, it does not mention whether or not the applicant needs to know what the word “assuage” means…
“I just don’t think this is the right job for you,” I admitted. “You don’t have the required experience and I don’t think putting beer on the floor for the dogs during a football game is the kind of entertainment they’re after.”
Husband-Head put on his pouty face.
“So, you won’t let me be Ripparoo?” he said with disappointment. “I thought it sounded so perfect for me.”
I walked over to Husband-Head and gave him a big hug.
“Honey, in your own way, you already ARE Ripperoo,” I said soothingly while stroking his head. “Every time I make French Onion soup …”
– Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the Citizen Telegram and Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com to see more columns or buy her book collection. Contact Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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