There was some kind of Muppet at Jack Layton's rally in Vancouver Island North Tuesday afternoon.
It was a fuzzy, blue, googley-eyed, doll-like puppet, about 70 centimetres tall with a hand-sized hole in the seat of its pants.
The puppet had grey hair — made of the real human stuff, I've learned — was wearing an orange T-shirt and was perched on the hand of a woman.
When Jack Layton had a good line, the puppet's mouth would flap (along with the hand inside it, I suppose). When Layton said something that kind of made ya think, the puppet's mouth would close and its head would swivel, turning to look at the people standing nearby.
It was, to say the least, strange.
I mean, who brings a puppet to a Jack Layton rally??
Fact is, the puppet was kinda creeping people out. Seriously. It was weird.
But maybe the puppet was there for a reason: Perhaps it was some kind of aid for an exceedingly rare speech pathology.
The puppeteer looked fit and healthy, and she seemed to be using her own mouth to speak, rather than the puppet's.
The puppeteer also had company: a clean-cut fella who seemed to have things together, too.
There were no outward signs of social awkwardness that might require puppet mitigation, no blindingly obvious indications the puppeteer was anything other than a regular Jane Doe who just happened to have a puppet on her hand (or, more to the point, her hand up a puppet's, er... hand access port).
Allow me to explore this a little further.
If, for instance, you were to walk into a political rally and see a woman wearing Dutch wooden shoes, white knee-high tube socks, a pink ballerina's tutu and purple angora sweater with a Carmen Miranda fruit hat on her head, you would not be so surprised to see a Muppet on her arm.
It would be expected.
But this really was a normal woman.
And in the end, there was a normal reason for her to be carrying the puppet.
Turns out, the puppet belonged to local NDP MP Catherine Bell. It was actually made by the guy who made the Muppet Show's puppets.
Bell recently put the Muppet up for auction at a campaign fundraiser. The woman bought it and brought it with her to the rally in Vancouver Island North — a kind of talisman of support.
But it was still a little creepy.
— James Cudmore
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