Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gilligan and Skinny Mulligan...the Untold Story

Long before the skipper's "little buddy" became famous on Gilligan's Island, Gilligan hung out with his best friend, skinny Mulligan at his home in north Phoenix.  It was a fun place to grow up...hiking in the mountains, catching giant chuckawallas (see picture), and playing military games with neighbors and cousins. I can still smell the pinto beans and my grandmother's homemade tortillas.

There is one particular moment that the Mulligan clan rarely discusses...a dark memory from a childhood prank gone bad.  You see, growing up in our family, it was normal to play tricks on people.  After all, our "grammy" was the one who taught us how to play practical jokes on others, much to the chagrin of granddad (may their souls rest in peace). It was not uncommon for one of us to crawl on the floor during class or stoop down in the boy's bathroom to untie a classmate's shoe in order to win a challenge.  In fact, I still double-knot my shoes to this day nearly four decades later!

The last day that Gilligan was allowed to play with us, we were hanging out in our front yard playing Red Rover.  I was the runt of the bunch, so Gilligan decided to exploit this weakness in the link.  Gilligan knew of the Mulligans' competitiveness, so he came at my cousin (don't worry, JRM...I won't reveal your name here) and me at full speed.  Just as he approached the weak side of the wall of Mulligans, my partner in crime (not even Alcatraz could keep us captive) and I let go, sending poor Gilligan right into my parents' blue '71 VW Van.  Gilligan went down hard and there was blood everywhere.  Luckily, we found the missing tooth and returned it to it's owner.

As I watched Gilligan on his TV show, I was always amazed at how good his teeth looked.  I think some of his quirkiness was a result of the brain damage from his encounter with the VW van at 30 mph.  He only brought my name up a few times on his show and it was nice of him to keep the Red Rover thing a secret.

As for the rest of the Mulligans, somehow, we managed to overcome our silliness and have grown up to become somewhat-productive members of society.  I am hoping to see some of my cousins at the concert put on by Mark Mulligan (see family/friends link above),  on August 26th...he's the one who lives on the real Mulligan's Island.  If you see Gilligan (or any of my cousins) at the concert, let's keep the Red Rover story between us, he was never really the same after that little accident as you can see any time you watch him in the re-runs.  Thank God the skipper was able to keep him in line, unlike we Mulligans.

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