Sometimes a little randomness is just what you need.
Recently, I received an email from Zack Hample (yes, that Zack Hample who has a ridiculous amount of baseballs, can be found on twitter, and maintains a Major League Baseball Blog) asking for help, and if anyone was interested in a road trip. This trip was not about baseballs, but it was about a ball. Specifically, a giant rubber band ball that Zack has been slowly building up since he was four years old, and that currently weighs 259 pounds. Which is why we nervously cracked jokes about not braking suddenly. We didn't want our cause of death to be: Crushed to death by giant rubber ball. I perhaps did not make things better by sharing that members of my family tend to die in strange ways. For instance, my Scottish uncle was run over and killed by an ice cream truck. I don't know if it was playing that distinctive music at the time.
259 Pounds of rubber doom. Ice cream truck not included.
I think everyone in the car wondered what customs on the Canadian side, and later, on the United States side, were going to make of this. Which is probably why the giant rubber band ball was covered with blankets, and a stealth black sleeping bag.
The black stealth sleeping bag the USAF wishes their B-2s were coated with. Camera man not included.
Or maybe customs just figured no-one who wanted to travel in stealth for nefarious purposes would state the following as their reason for visiting Canada: I have a giant rubber band ball that weights 259 pounds, and I am taking it to be interviewed on Discovery Channel.
I mean seriously. What question could a customs agent possibly follow that up with? "Did you consult a Zoltar machine to wish for success and that the ball will bounce if dropped from a dizzy height?"
"Why yes sir, we did. We even sacrificed some Mickey D's to it for good measure. It's not like anyone would actually eat greasy cardboard."
after getting lost because certain members of the car couldn't wait to go to the bathroom without any further ado we crossed the border, made it to Toronto by the skin of our teeth for a dinner date with lots of time to spare, and ate a super spicy ultra tasty Sri Lankan dinner.
Given the ball was supposed to be dropped the following day, and that there was concern it would freeze if left in the car overnight, we decided to back the car up to the hotel entrance, roll the ball out, and bring it with us.
By the power of Zoltar, I command you to levitate.
Based on the reactions of various hotel guests and staff, you'd swear no-one rolls giant rubber balls through the lobby on a regular basis. Very odd.
I can't make the obligatory joke because there is only one ball, even if it is blue.
In the morning the ball was raring to go and Zack had to run after it.
Us humans however, had a little more trouble finding our enthusiasm.
A tremendous saga ensued downstairs when four of us attempted to convince the ball it should jump into the back of the car. Unfortunately none of this was documented as all of us were attempting to give ourselves hernias and burst blood vessels in our reddening faces as we heaved at the ball in a futile attempt to lift it even so much as an inch. Between the plastic covering and the shape and weight of the ball, we quickly found out two things: this thing was bloody heavy and awkward, and it is REALLY handy to have a coach full of no nonsense Chinese people looking on, because next thing I knew there were six of us lifting and all of a sudden the ball was in the back of the car.
Point is, we did make it to the studio in good order. The taping of the show (Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada - Supersize This) went very well. They started filming within minutes of arrival, documenting the journey of the ball from the car to the studio, Ziya Tong interviewing Zack, and then dropping the ball - not once, not twice, but three times. After that we were kind of at a loss as to what to do next. What do you do after you've dropped a giant rubber band ball?
All I knew was that I was not going to try to pick the ball up again. Because it simply wasn't possible.
Actually, in all seriousness, you could have scraped my jaw off the floor when this guy did, by himself, what four of us couldn't.
So seriously... what else was there to do in Toronto but eat Tim Hortons donuts (way better than Dunkin Donuts which admittedly isn't saying much, but not better than Krispy Kreme donuts), and then go hang out in a radio station while Zack had an interview with Jeff Sammut and George Rusic of Sportsnet Tonight, on Sportsnet 590.
And when I say in a radio station, I mean I was worried the silent shutter setting on my 5D Mark III would be audible on air.
After that, what else was there to do but go look at more ice and snow at the Niagara Falls before making our way back to the United States for a relatively uneventful ride home. I added a Niagara Falls shot glass to my collection.
The ball obliged our exhaustion by suddenly proving to be super easy to get up the few steps into Zack's apartment building. I then promptly christened my shot glass with Bulleit Bourbon and stumbled on home.
A huge thanks to Zack for the invite, Mala for removing directional challenges (repeatedly), and Mike for the cheerful company.