It was ten years ago. I was an English examiner on something called The Review Panel - reviewing students' exam scripts in a traditional teaching laboratory in Sheffield University. There were about thirty of us. It was near the end of the week and our team leader was carefully explaining how to claim travel and meal expenses using the exam board's complicated claim forms. Of course with money in sight, everyone was concentrating fully at this point. The atmosphere was hushed.
Suddenly, at the back of the room there was a commotion. I turned around to see a rather large man in a gorilla suit. My fellow examiners and I all looked up, bemused. There were some other examiners at the doorway - I recognised a couple of them from the Literature Review Panel that had been meeting all week in the adjacent lab. Ha! Ha! A man in a gorilla suit. How spiffing!
Well the gorilla man worked down the side of the lab until he came to me. Now I am a substantial man - six feet tall and sixteen stones of pure muscle. The gorilla reached down and grabbed a hold of me. I didn't resist or struggle. What could I say? The gorilla man threw me over his right shoulder fire fighter style and carried me all the way round the lab.
By this time all my fellow examiners were laughing their socks off and as I was carried round I was wondering - why is this happening? Had I won the football pools, was it my birthday, had ERNIE delivered the big one? What the hell was going on?
As we achieved a full circumnavigation of the room, one of the Literature examiners at the doorway yelled to the gorilla , "No! Not him! Him!" pointing to another examiner a the front of the room - a man who was about my size with a similar moustache, wearing a blue shirt like mine. Apparently, it was his birthday and his mate from next door had arranged this jolly wheeze.
The gorilla left and we returned to our expenses forms. It was one of the most bizarre things that have ever happened to me. Since I started this blogging lark I have wondered was the gorilla man Brad the Gorilla from Seattle? He certainly smelled funny. By the way, I am writing this on the eve of "International Wear a Gorilla Suit Day".