Ferret-Down-Trousers - Something That I Hoped Wasn't Real
From the Yes, This Really Happens Department, I bring you the terrifying sport-slash-torture-ritual of Ferret Legging, also known as "put 'em down" and the much more descriptive "ferret-down-trousers." Yes, folks, here's how it works: you get yourself some ferrets, you open your trousers, and you place the ferret in the trousers. The man (and it generally is men who do this kind of crazy crap) who endures the ferret's presence down there the longest wins. Um. Congratulations? (Wikipedia claims: "The world record is five hours and thirty minutes.")
This is one of those things that I really, really thought was a joke. Perhaps a very well-research Wikipedia hoax or something. I read the citations behind the very well-sourced Wikipedia snippet below, and I'm now convinced that, yes, ferret-down-trousers is a Thing, and people do it. From Wikipedia:
Ferret legging has existed for centuries, but the sport made a brief resurgence in popularity during the 1970s. According to a 2005 report published in the English Northern Echo newspaper, whether due to a "lack of brave contestants or complaining wives", ferret legging is now "a dying sport" that is being replaced by ferret racing, in which the animals race through a plastic pipe. Although the sport is now uncommon, annual competitions have been held at the Richmond Highland Games & Celtic Festival in Richmond, Virginia since 2003. In 2007, the Manitoba Ferret Association held a ferret legging competition in St. Vital Park, Winnipeg, to raise money in support of the organization's shelter for homeless ferrets. Marlene Blackburn, who works with the Ferret Rescue League to ensure that no ferrets are harmed in the sport, claims that during the years the competitions have been held in Richmond no contestant has ever been bitten, although some may get a few scratches. According to Kelly Yager of the Manitoba Ferret Association, the animals actually like small, confined spaces. Jay Lugar, spokesman for the Richmond Highland Games & Celtic Festival, said ferrets are "generally very harmless, fun-loving creatures." Reg Mellor, however, commented that at their very worst, they can be "cannibals, things that live only to kill, that'll eat your eyes out to get at your brain".
Yeah. So Reg Mellor, who is something of a champion, was interviewed at some length in a 1992 Harper's Magazine piece written by Donald R. Katz (official, pay-only version here). It includes, among many other memorable snippets, this gem:
"Well, Reg," I said. "I think people in America will want to know. Well -- since you don't wear any protection -- and, well, I've heard a ferret can bite your thumb off. Do they ever -- you know?" Reg's stiff mustache arched toward the ceiling under a sly grin. "You really want to know what they get up to down there, eh?" Reg said, looking for all the world like some workingman's Long John Silver. "Well, take a good look." Then Reg Mellor let his trousers fall around his ankles.
But, you know, "pics or it didn't happen." Here's video from a ferret-legging competition. This might be NSFW, depending on where you work. There's no nudity or obviously objectionable content, aside from, well, ferret-down-trousers. Enjoy:
I really wonder how the ferrets feel about all this. Any ferret-down-trousers competitors out there want to speak up?