The hidden years in Canada 7, mama Fuzz and the bull

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Tuesday 10 March 07:56


Mama Fuzz and the bull

Day in and day out, we hauled drywall and Rico had been right, you formed calluses in your hand and in time our joints did not hurt anymore. We ‘muscled’ up. You lift not only with your arms, it’s the back part, shoulders, your arms naturally and your abs, they harden and develop. We ate like horses and grew strong. Very strong. After a few weeks I suggested to my board packing buddy to lift a few hours with the right arm and alternate that with a few hours left as main support arm. ‘Why,’ he asked, astonished? ‘Because that way we burden our arms equally and we develop equally.’ ‘I do not understand,’ he said simply. ‘Nobody does that, switch arms.’ The drywall was bulky and heavy, and after a while, you got used to carrying it a certain way, it was important if you had to climb stairs, or if you had to bring it over rough terrain to the place of destination. If you would carry that opposite way, you burdened your carrying arm, your left arm and your left knee, wrist and elbow joint, but you also used muscle groups that were otherwise not employed.

Mama Fuzz looked at me still puzzled. His real name was Harold and he was young. He tried to look older by not shaving. People with ginger hair have just freckles and a weaker beard growth. Mama Fuzz had a flax-like growth around his face. Louis the lip had just looked at him and said, ‘I baptize you mama Fuzz, Harold does not suit you.’ ‘Okay Fuzz, ‘I said, ‘it is not difficult. You can go to a gym and work out an hour a day or you can ensure that you get the same result with the loading and unloading. You can also ensure that you do not have a worn out right knee on your 25th.’ ‘Hey,’ he said, ‘that’s not wrong.’ He was a little on the chubby side, but that would soon, very soon change to muscle weight. Mama Fuzz was a stayer, he had no other options.

‘I’ll be glad when the lorry of Drystale comes,’ I said it was a catering truck with a large soup kettle on it, which was bolted on, plus a large coffee container. You could take a Styrofoam cup of coffee or soup or take a bottle of soda. Additionally Drystale had many sandwiches wrapped in plastic and candy and tobacco. He did great business. He came honking his horn on to the grounds and before he stopped, the men, like ants, formed a queue. Ten minutes later, people were back at the job. Drystale was the only one that had acquired the right to come on to the site. He had some nice girls along, with hardhats, but fun safety helmets and short mini skirts and the men thronged about to be served. Drystale did good business.

‘Ah,’ said Fuzz, ‘maybe some coffee that always goes down well but my sandwich  I prepare myself.’ He did not smoke and worked hard. We did not know then that Fuzzy would blow off the building a year and as with any newcomer, his first weeks were tough.


When he once took off his shirt on a hot day we saw the huge long zigzag scar on his chest and abdomen. The men were not very subtle and just asked, ‘hey, Fuzz, where is thatfrom? ‘ ‘A bull,’ he said. ‘what do you mean a bull,’ said the lip, ‘man speak clearly when spoken to,’ and he had kicked the sandwich bag of Mama Fuzz down.’ ‘Hey, that was my food,’ said Fuzzy. ‘Then you’d better be clearer next time,’ laughed the lip. I just stepped forward, ‘that, I said, was the last time lip. ‘ ‘The last time what’ Louis said. ‘That you pushed Fuzz about.’ ‘I decide what I do with Fuzz or not,’ said Louis, ‘you’ve got a problem with that?’ ‘I have no problem with you and I want to keep it that way, it’s simple, Fuzz is one of us and he must eat every now and then as well. Otherwise, he falls over. ‘ The lip rolled his muscles and made a balance in his head. ‘Boy,’ he finally said, ‘what have we become big and strong. Do you want to know how strong you are  big boy. ‘ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I have no problem with you and the great thing is that Fuzzy, as well, doesn’t have that with any no longer. ‘ ‘Maybe Mama Fuzz must first become a man,’ said Louis ‘and speak for himself.’ Fuzzy began to smile apologetically and pulled a face. ‘Stop that Fuzz,’ I said sharply, ‘that’s not necessary.

Everyone who works here is a man and you are our boss Louis.‘ ‘You hear it,’ said the lip, ‘you hear that big mama hey, everyone laughed a bit .. ‘I’m the boss man, I’m the fucking Boss.’ Hey Fuzz, ‘I said, ‘What is this that has happened to you, man, that you have such a scar.’ The tension was broken. ‘I wanted to work at a wild bronc group in rodeos and all,’ said Mama Fuzz, ‘you know the drill, wild bulls ride them for money. You must first get in there as well and suffer a lot of mess before you belong to the men. I come from a country estate, and thought that must go. But they had peppered the bull. ‘ ‘They had done the bull,’ Rico asked, ‘you said peppered? ‘ ‘Yeah,’ said Fuzz, ‘It’s a very different world out there’, he continued, ‘you must only muck out stables and then you can show sometime if you are suitable or not to stay on the bull..’


‘For example if someone is trampled to death by a bull or is injured, then a vacancy comes up and then they put you on a bull. You will be lifted on top of a bull which cannot move because it is in a pen and then they pull the gate away and the bull roars off with you there on top of him. Wild Bronc riding  it is called. The people who come to watch the show, secretly hope that someone gets killed or injured. The prize for the owner is huge if his rider wins. ‘ ‘How do you win?’ I asked? ‘Time,’ said Fuzz, ‘who stay on the longest, wins. Ten seconds is extremely long, it does not seem it, but in bronc riding it is unheard of long. You always end up in the sand and then some clowns dressed in red, come and distract the bull and you run out of the ring.’

‘But your bull was peppered,’ asked the lip interested, ‘what am I to understand by that?’ ‘Some great fun colleague had pushed a pepper in the ass of the bull. you can hold on with one hand otherwise you are disqualified, but when the gate opened the beast jumped meters from left to right to get rid of the burning pain, he rubbed me into a fence and threw me off. Clowns should have come but hesitated because the bull was so terribly aggressive. He put a horn in me and shook me like a puppet back and forth with a motion of his neck, he threw me far away from him. The clowns came to themselves and distracted the bull, while I was carried away by a couple of old cowboys. I was lucky, my lungs were not punctured, otherwise I would not be here. But I hung on my open and torn skin from the horns of the bull.


Fortunately I was well insured, because with infections and all I stayed a month in the hospital. ‘A silence feel over us. We did not see the zigzag scar, but we saw him hang with that scar from the horns, moaning and crying in pain and disbelief that such a thing had happened to him. ‘How did it end?’ Asked the lip? ‘I went back to the bronc riding outfit. But just like here, you got paid per hour and fired per hour and another boy was to muck out the stables. ‘ ‘You went back to those guys,’ I said in amazement. ‘Yeah,’ Fuzz said, ‘you have to eat anyway, huh? ‘ ‘Would you have gone back on a bull,’ I asked. ‘Absolutely,’ replied Fuzz, ‘there is big money to be made.’ I saw in Louis'  face something like admiration shine through.

With a loud honking the catering lorry of Drystale’s came on to the job site. Everyone dropped what he was doing and rushed down. When we were down there was already a long line of men. The lip just walked forward, past the line, he growled, ‘if you want to live, here comes the man who can shake waters, out of the way, hey let me through, were you stillborn?’ A moment later he was standing up front. When he came back he shouted from afar: ‘hey man Fuzz come here.’ Mama Fuzz, former cowboy Harold, came over. ‘Yes,’ he asked? ‘I've found your bread,’ laughed the lip and gave him two Drystale sandwiches. ‘Man, you have balls with bulls and all. Hey guys, Mama Fuzz is one of us. '

San Daniel March 2015

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