Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Monday, January 17, 2011

You say wasted time; I say grist for the mill….

I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don't. - - W. Somerset Maugham

I just realized (and, I know what you're saying: What took me so long?) that no one bothers to read what others post on any of these forums! Someone asked a really stupid question over on CRL on a Sunday morning not too long ago, along the lines of "what do you all think of 'our' bull fights?"

First, of course, I was confused as to just who the poster considers 'us' to be, because her post was also advertising for a bilingual receptionist for some place I never heard of, likely in the Central Valley. So, I first thought that maybe this place that needs a bilingual receptionist also puts on bull fights, and she's looking for some feedback from wannabe receptionist type persons.

But, then it occurred to me that maybe she was referring to the National Sport of Costa Rica (which is nothing more than simple Bull Riding, where some drunks are allowed to get into the ring where the 'rides' take place, before, during, and immediately after each ride). For some reason that I have yet to fathom, a number of misinformed gringos seem to think that this sport is equivalent to Bull Fighting, which is, of course, a 'bull' of another color, or maybe just so much Bull Puckey.

So, I posted pretty much that. I mean, I asked if her business was putting on bull fights, and then asked if she might not mean instead of bull fights, bull riding. I attempted to explain that the sport is properly bull riding (maybe because the main attraction appears to be that young men get up on the backs of the bulls in question), and not fighting (likely because there are no gloves, no swords, no knives, or guns involved), and that for me, personally, it is not very interesting. The next time I looked, there must have been a half dozen other posts (OK, maybe three – but that's half of half a dozen, and by today's standards, that's pretty close, isn't it?), all referring to Bull Fighting, and ignoring reality. So, they're off and running, all reinforcing one another's misinformation, compounding the error of the Original Poster (incidentally, this is shortened to simply 'OP' when posting to a forum, which is an insider term, for frequent users of online forums).

Eventually, though, somebody did notice my post, and then a couple of the other members decided that I was wrong, with one guy even going so far as to say that what takes place in Costa Rica is a corrida de toros, when what happens here (where I live) is called competicion de monte, which is competition of mounting (riding? Hello?), not bull fighting. He also said that he had found a lot of pictures online by googling corrida de toros that depict bulls with "swords sticking out of their withers." What he didn't say was that the pictures that pop up all link to Spanish bull fighting, not Costa Rican bull fighting. He then corrected my Spanish, saying that it has be competencia, because competicion is a gringoized (spanglish) word, and that his google of corrido de toros resulted in tons of hits, and implied that those hits all had to do with Costa Rica.

Now, the correct word may well be competencia, I don't know. I just remember the other, and that is the one that I use when talking with local Ticos. Another member of that forum, female this time, criticized me for not getting out enough, because she has personally seen 'clips' of all kinds of bull fighting, and never once did anyone intentionally try to get on top of a bull.

I really don't know how I am going to break this news to Tulio (our builder and friend). You see, he is the one who has educated me about bull riding, and he himself is a former champion bull rider. He has showed me the televised competitions, and even taken me to more than one redondel (that I could have sworn he called a rondel) to see a local level competition. I mean, what do I tell him? "Tulio, I don't know how to tell you this, but you see……..well, it's that…….I mean……oh, hell! You don't exist! That's because there is no such thing as bull riding competition here in Costa Rica. It's all about a bunch of idiots who tease a bull right up to the point of total frustration." Yeah, I can see that working very well. Actually, the events that I have attended, with Tulio, began with the introduction of the young men who are competing. Then, just like in an American Rodeo, they take turns riding bulls against the clock. When their individual rides are ended (usually with the young man being thrown), the idiots (who are already in the ring) then distract the bull by teasing it mercilessly. From my perspective, these idiots take the place of the Rodeo Clown, common to the American Style Rodeo. So, I figure the Tico event organizers save money this way.
Not a very clear image, but this is from a competition of bull riding, taken in 2002, at Playa Puerta Soley.

Well, another day has come, and the moderator of said forum has closed the thread, and admonished yours truly, saying that the event as witnessed by her, and all the others does NOT involve bull riding, only what I would call bull-baiting. She also took umbrage at my characterization of the Central Valley as the center of the known universe (I suppose I did get a bit sarcastic in my references to the CV), reminding me that she doesn't "believe it is fair to blame people for living in the CV for your error," whatever that means. My point was, and still is, that just because they have seen one event does not make it whatever they call it. You see, they persist in saying that the sport they are talking about is bull fighting, but I have never heard the term corrida de toros used here by any Ticos, and I have never seen any matador, or picador, or capes in use.

So, it has been brought home to me once again that I really HAVE been wasting my time on these forums. I know that I always referred to having wasted my time, but I'm finally realizing that I really was wasting my time. Really! A lot! Big waste! I mean, who cares, right? But, then, wait a minute. Think of it this way…… all serves as grist for the mill of my Blog, now doesn't it? So, I guess I'm not going to give up the time-wasting forums, just yet, after all. Stay tuned.

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