Balloon Animals

Being the new guy on the volunteer staff at CWD’s Family Support Weekend, I made a point to introduce myself to as many of the other staff as I could.

The night before the opening session, I crossed paths with Neil Benchell, who helps keep the tween’s entertained. I’d met his wife, Jill, earlier in the week (Kerri & I were doing a session with her on Friday). I can’t remember where I heard (or read) that Neil does magic tricks for the kids, but when I introduced myself I said that I was going to learn how to pull a quarter out of his ear or something the next time I saw him.

Fast forward to the next morning at the breakfast. He walks up to me, hands me a balloon, tells me to blow it up, then walks away. As he’s leaving, he says “let me know once you get that blown up”. I figured that he had to be up to some sort of mischief…

I gave the balloon a quick once over, just to make sure it wasn’t coated in jalapeño pepper or something like that, then tried to blow it up. I could not do it. I blew with all I had, but that damn balloon wouldn’t budge. I sat down at my table and figured there must be some trick or technique to it. So I googled it.

The top two google results were 1) use a pump, or 2) do six weeks of lung strengthening exercises. Right then, Neil sits down next to me, pulls another balloon out of his pocket, blows it up and transforms it into a parrot.

I asked him for another, different, balloon, and went at it again. Nothing. I was eventually able to blow up a couple of balloons, but I had to watch Neal do it a couple more times. He had some subtle technique involving stretching the balloon, releasing it, and blowing at a very specific time during the stretch and release.

It took me about two hours to create those masterpieces in the picture, with 95% of that time spent blowing at (not blowing UP) the balloons. I’ve never felt so incapable before in my life. Well, wait…I did feel pretty incapable of hitting a whiffle ball

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5 thoughts on “Balloon Animals

  1. Scott I got worried for you that morning. You looked like the guy out of Scanners! Neil was a trip with his balloon animals – a big hit with Tweens & ‘older Tweens’ alike.

  2. Which is why I LOVED it when he handed me the “easier” balloon and told me to go blow it up in front of you. Look… it’s a worm, a snake, a lower case L. 😀