This past weekend was momentous for the Carolina Lowcountry. Local TV personalities from all three networks gathered at Gaillard Municipal Auditorium for a 48-hour telethon to promote a worthwhile cause. The event featured local talent including musicians, dancers, magicians, clowns, gymnasts, sleight-of-hand artists, puppets, pole dancers and much more.
Dubbed Cootiethon 2012, this event was a joint effort to raise funds for the National Cootie Foundation (NCF), a non-profit research association that seeks to increase public awareness of a little-known scourge that has wreaked untold grief and psychosomatic illness in children from ages 3-10. Left untreated this affliction can extend into the teen years and, in rare cases, into late adulthood.
For the most part, the event was characterized by fun, laughter, and entertainment. There were serious and touching moments, however. WCIV newsman Dean Stephens recounted his lifelong struggle with Cooties. Dean spoke about the abject terror that he experienced as a five-year-old when a neighborhood girl snuck up from behind and kissed him on the cheek.
Subjected to the taunts of his friends, Dean ran frantically from the scene and hid in the crawl space under his home. He was there for two days until he was finally located by a search team and dragged out from his hidey hole kicking and screaming. Tearfully, Dean confessed that he remembers being covered with dirt, insulation, spider webs, and a rather large molted snake skin.
There was hardly a dry eye in the auditorium when Dean broke down and confessed that it took years of therapy to overcome his abject fear of Cooties. He also spoke about the twelve step program that he joined three years ago after his phobia returned full force while he was riding the Ferris wheel at the county fair. Stuck at the top when he was afflicted, Dean rappelled down the ride and ran to the nearest corn dog stand where he stuck his foot in a vat of hot grease to kill the nasty little bugs.
The highlight of the event came in prime time on day two when Bill Walsh agreed to a friendly wrestling match with a Mexican midget known as El Pecarino. Bill treated the whole thing like a gag until the little fella got him in a headlock and threw him off the stage. Bill landed in the bell of a marching tuba in the orchestra pit. He emerged to a standing ovation with two thumbs up and a sore back.
Tom Crawford, the WCIV weatherman, interviewed Dr. Heinrich Gottbuggs, chief researcher at the NCF. Dr. Gottbuggs brought numerous specimens with him and expounded on the biological and psychological aspects of this affliction.
Dr. Gottbugg’s groundbreaking research has led him to conclude that Cooties originated in specific animal populations and was transmitted to humans through contact with seals.
When Tom accidentally dropped a live specimen on the stage floor the crowd was alarmed. Their fears were laid to rest when Dean ran on stage and dropped an anvil on the hapless critter. I guess we have all had our own Wiley Coyote moments.
Keke Collins, Victoria Hansen, Bill Sharpe, and Raphael James helped on the phone banks while Debi Chard and Brendan Clark acted as emcees. After expenses over $200 was raised for the NCF. Participants were effusive in their praise for the event and promised to return when hell freezes over.