The Tigger suit
Twice a year, on Halloween and on April Fool’s day, I dress up in a big, orange, furry, Tigger suit. Why do I wear the suit and how did I come to possess it? Those seem to be good questions for an essay.
I have three sons. When the oldest was young (four or five), we went to get him the obligatory cute Halloween costume. We ended up picking out a Winnie the Pooh costume. (Michelle is a big fan of Winnie the Pooh. She even suggested naming each of our children Christopher Robin.) While we were looking, I noticed a rack of adult costumes. And, there amongst the costumes was a large (well, XL) Tigger costume. It was expensive, particularly given that we had recently purchased a house and were paying off student loans, so we had to debate a bit. In the end, lack of sense won out, and we purchased the suit. And, that Halloween, I wore it with eldest as we went from house to house. Middle son (and, I think, youngest son) helped me continue the tradition.
Somewhere along the way, I decided to wear the Tigger suit to class on Halloween day (including to Tutorial, where it ended up in the Grinnell Magazine). I’ve done so ever since. I’ll explain why in a bit. But let’s look at how the Tigger suit has been used otherwise.
I generally also wear the Tigger suit on April Fool’s day. It seems to be a way to celebrate frivolity and such.
Because our high school teams are the Tigers, all three of my sons have worn the suit to school on homecoming day, or some day near homecoming day. Middle son looks particularly good when he wears the Tigger suit along with a football jersey. I think I have a picture of him in marching band with a tuba or trumpet. They’ve also worn it for Halloween.
The Tigger suit played a role in a Titular Head film entitled
Post Halloween walk of shame.
I try not to make the Tigger suit exactly the same each year. I’ve worn it with a lab coat (
Doctor Tigger), my graduation gown (
Professor Tigger), a black face covering (Either a dementor dressed up as Tigger, or Tigger dressed up as a dementor"), a LOLcat face, and more.
As Michelle said the other day, we’ve gotten a lot of use from what seemed to be an excessive and frivolous purchase.
Why do I continue to wear the Tigger suit? There are a host of reasons. It seems to make people who haven’t seen it before smile. Not everyone, but a lot. I still remember selected incidents of pure joy on students’ faces when they see the costume. It also seems to provide some comfort to students who’ve seen me in it before; there is some fraction that makes sure to stop by my office and peek in to see if I’m wearing the suit again. It’s also a good way to remind myself not to take myself too seriously. The variants on the suit are also fun; I actually freaked out some people today with the LOLcat mask as an addition.
The Tigger suit lets me tell two of my favorite jokes, one of which actually gets laughs.
Sam, why is Tigger so fat?
Mmmmmm … Winnie the Pooh goes rumbly in the tumbly!
Sam, aren’t you hot in that costume?
Yes, but for some reason, I never get any chili peppers on RateMyProfessors.
In the end, I wear the Tigger suit each year because it seems to bring a net increase of joy to the world. It’s nice to have something that reliably does so.
Version 1.0 of 2016-10-13.