Halloween is for sportsmen


I think I’m making progress with my Animal Control skeleton and I have my years of experience as a sportsman to thank for it.

I’ve had several vexing problems regarding AC (as I call him). First, the stand that is supposed to work for this type of skeleton is either poorly made or I got a poorly made one. Based on Amazon reviews, it could go either way.


Theoretically, the design of the stand is well-thought out. It has little wire “grips” at various points on the stand to snap in the skeleton at the spine, legs and pelvis. Sadly, the “snaps” are so thin that they simply bend outwards at the weight of the skeleton (surprisingly hefty) and it just falls forward.

Another devilish issue is that the stand is made for a (forgive me) bare bones skeleton. When clothed, the ability even to use those flimsy grips becomes problematical.

Ingenuity was required and that’s where we bring in a lifetime of sporting.

First, understanding that even were the clips effective, I was challenged to actually make use of them, I decided they should only be involved as an “if available” function. Instead, I drew upon my years of fishing with Dad.

Through many, many years of fishing trips (locally and down in the Keys), Dad slowly built up my skills in the art of fishing. While I never managed to properly filet a fish, I learned the ways of tackle well. In this particular instance, the art of tying a hook or leader was the skill I employed.

Battling through barracudas or groupers, each of whom had their own techniques for removing your tackle from your line, learning how to tie an “unbreakable” knot was key to surviving vast amounts of tackle loss on the reefs of South Florida.

Of course, real fishermen know that there is no “unbreakable” knot, but for purposes of discussion, “nearly” is close enough.

Using monofilament line and knot tying expertise, I bound AC to the stand. I did have to undress him a little first, but neither of us suffered any trauma.

Then came AC’s net. Though I had spray painted the plastic handle black, the paint was not bonding to the plastic and kept revealing the blue beneath. No problema! Bring on the tennis skills!

Over the course of many years of playing tennis, I came to like a particular grip for my rackets (a Wilson Cushionaire). Though I needed a pro shop to string my rackets, learning to wrap my own grips was natural and necessary. More than once in the steamy South Florida weather, I needed to do a grip replacement on the court.

AC wasn’t going to be swatting any fuzzy round things out there, but he did need a black grip on his net. A roll of electrical tape and those aforementioned tennis grip skills were the perfect solution to his problem.

Once all this assembly was done, a new problem presented itself: the stand was front-weighted. AC kept leaning forward and pulling the stand with him. If you squint, you can see something in the picture at the back of the stand. That’s a gator statue my sister gave me once to paint and put in my garden. My sister occasionally gives me stuff that causes me to do the Spock eyebrow-raise.

I think I can use the animal cage as a strategic counter weight on the back of AC’s stand and it should still look natural (a loose concept, considering we’re talking about a bunch of skeletons).

Now my only problem is the net. It looks good in the picture, sure, but five minutes later, the double-backed tape came off the skeleton hand. Both objects are non-flat surfaces, so I’ll need to come up with a new solution.

If only boxing had been one of my sports expertise; they certainly know a lot about taping up hands.

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