When I (DJ) first started working at WDEL, a group of us went to see a Wilmington Blue Rocks game.
Who doesn't love a good ball game? Though I was unfamiliar with the team, while there, coworkers regaled me with tales of a mysterious dancing vegetable mascot who would appear should the Blue Rocks score. An alleged giant stalk of celery. Not just any celery, though, oh no--a Mr. Celery.
I would see two games that would turn into pitchers battles during which the Blue Rocks scored no runs. I started to think, after so many assertions to the contrary, that the group was pulling the new guy's leg. It didn't make any sense. Why would a giant piece of celery come running out to dance for a run? They already have a mascot, and it isn't a vegetable.
I wish I had the words to describe seeing him for the first time; initially disbelief, then a kind of rightness in the world, and finally overwhelming adoration. Mr. Celery was real, and seeing him was akin to what I imagine any good citizen of Pawnee, Indiana, spotting Li'l Sebastian must feel like.
When you see him, you just get it, or you don't--though I don't know how you couldn't. You'd have to be some kind of cuckoo to not deeply appreciate him down to your bones.
I found the merch store, and I bought the hat and T-shirt immediately. I attended the Mr. Celery birthday party. I was a full-fledged Celery Stalker.
The video above chronicles what followed that high; a collaborative gift from a number of the wonderful people who work at WDEL and the Wilmington Blue Rocks, who came together to make a grown man's boyish dreams come true.
I didn't just get to meet Mr. Celery. This is the visual telling of when I became him. And dammit, I did it in grand style and with overwhelming panache.
But just barely.
I'm not married and I have no children, but should those things happen, I will cherish every moment while sharing the story of why those particular events are the second and third best things to ever happen to me.