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The Fur Will Fly

There’s heated debate about what makes a furry. In short, it’s a subculture of sorts in which adults dress up as animal characters. Picture a person walking around as Tony The Tiger. Or a team mascot.  Some say it’s art; some say it’s just fun; and some say it’s depraved. Well, doesn’t matter what it was, it’s going mainstream. Furries have now been deemed essential.

While people are freaking out about the possibility that beaches will be closed this summer, there are emergency contingency plans in the works. I am here to report that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have made a request to the federal government for 2.6 million Personal Protection Furries (PPFs). These PPFS come in both full body size suits and head-wrap only.

There has been concern in some corners that such protective garments might not be suitable for the beach. But such concerns were allayed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper who donned a Tickle Me Elmo PPF on Rockaway Beach last week. Mr. Cooper held up his furry arms and told viewers, “The PPFs shed, just like real animals. The balls of fur that fly away are biodegradable.” With that, he spun around and dashed into the water shouting, “Waterproof, too!”

The Army Corps of Engineers has been directed to mass produce PPFs —although they have to put it out to bid first. 

There has been some pushback. Some in Congress have called for “furry-less” furries demanding sleek Spiderman and Black Panther protection gear be made available for already-hairy people and beach communities. “Tickle Me Elmo might shed, but it’s still balls-hot,” Gregory Meeks said. “And New York is not getting its fair share.”

Yes, just as with the SBA loans, states such as Nebraska and North Dakota are getting the lion’s share (and I do mean lion — 317,000 Lion King protection heads were sent to Omaha and 219,000 were sent to Bismarck, North Dakota). One rancher told a TV reporter that the federal effort was justified. “We need lion garments to stop the virus and chase away wolves.”  The clip went viral because the TV reporter he was speaking to was wearing a Big Bad Wolf’s head.

Locally, when asked by reporters why he wasn’t wearing furry protection yet, de Blasio said his Big Bird costume was made on ETSY but they delivered it to Gracie Mansion by mistake. He’ll have it on the next time he gets driven to Prospect Park for a workout.

Some people in the Deep South and right-to-carry gun states have reason to be careful. A 6-foot man in a blue coyote outfit was shot in the tail. He refused medical treatment, refusing to go to a nearby hospital, at which he said they were “Handing out the virus like valentines.”

Meanwhile, in some other states, those in protest of lockdowns and social distancing are demanding they get Captain America outfits (which don’t have mouth or nose covering). Others in this group have gone the DIY route and painted themselves green like the Incredible Hulk. Like hydroxychloroquine, science seems split on green skin paint as an effective remedy against stupidity.

Some are trying the less reliable, but better than nothing option: the inflatable. Adults in dinosaur and unicorn inflatable costumes were seen in Rockaway over the weekend. These might catch on because they have potential as floating devices, perfect for the ocean on calm days.

The furry project (inflatables have not yet been approved) is designed to allow for social distancing to be minimized. The preferred head gear (the N95 of the PPF) comes with a snout or extended forehead allowing people to get close, but not too close. These PPFs are considered essential for bars and nightclubs as these places try to navigate the new norms. (Footnote: A couple of Rockaway bars have actually been full of furry customers for more than a decade).

 As wild as this seems, the PPFs have already been tested out in Australia. The accompanying photo at the top of the column shows hipsters lining up at a concession at Bondi beach. In Rock away, Caracas and Low Tide are expected to have unisex DFD furries available for rent. Boarders will sell wetsuits with Mickey Mouse heads. Diver Dan outfits will be available for old-timers.

Lana’s Loft is considering a spring-line of fashionable furries. Once yoga studios reopen, ladies will have a choice of Tweety Bird or Cat Woman outfits. For the time being, men will be forced to wear Cowardly Lion suits. In many cases, The Tin Man would be redundant.

Some Rockaway people, never slow to complain, said the furries are useless without built-in straws. One nutcracker vendor said, “How you gonna get blurry in a furry, if you ain’t got no straw, dog?”

Bill Gehlhaus, administrator of the popular Friends of Rockaway Beach Facebook page, has changed with the times, now posting Furry of The Day photos. He posted one of a guy wearing a furry chipmunk head and a t-shirt that said, Strange But Smart.

And one last note, there are now plans for a Furmaid Parade in September.

 By Kevin Boyle

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