The King of the Ferret Leggers
February 15, 2019 6:53 AM   Subscribe

What kind of person sticks a ferret down his pants for more than five consecutive hours? "Ay lad," said the 72-year-old champion, "no jockstraps allowed. No underpants—nothin' whatever. And it's no good with tight trousers, mind ye. Little bah-stards have to be able to move around inside there from ankle to ankle."
posted by calamari kid (47 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ferret legging and Reg Mellor previously on Metafilter (with a dead link, sadly).
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:55 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Dang it! I searched, I promise.
posted by calamari kid at 7:00 AM on February 15


As long as it's not for the purposes of gambling.
posted by Quindar Beep at 7:01 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


For those who've never met one, ferrets make charming and intelligent pets … but they're bright, intensely curious carnivores, with the placid temperament of kittens on crack.
posted by cstross at 7:03 AM on February 15 [20 favorites]




I had ferrets as pets for around 20 years, and this practice has always stuck me as quite abusive of the animals and not amusing at all. I'm guessing there would be quite a bit of outrage if it were "kitten legging."
posted by slkinsey at 7:06 AM on February 15 [16 favorites]


Dang it! I searched, I promise.

It's been 11 years. I think you're good. :)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:16 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Love the Steadman illustration, the article has a bit of a Hunter S. Thompson vibe to it.
posted by Spacelegoman at 7:20 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I... I can't even. I'm just gonna go watch my favorite part of Iron Giant again.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:21 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Good lord, I've heard about this -- cat juggling!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:22 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


What year is this? 1819? A wall of text about a contest where participants have to withstand ferrets roaming around in their pants without a single photograph or video? I call shenanigans - "pics, or it isn't happening"...

... and especially, considering the author spent a decade finding a publication and editorial staff who would send him on a "fact-finding" mission in-person... (if I were the editorial staff, extensive documentation would be required...)
posted by jkaczor at 7:25 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I've never been convinced that this is a real thing, and I'm still sceptical.

I've always thought the idea seemed a bit unfair on the ferrets, who have probably got other things to be getting on with.
posted by howfar at 7:29 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


What year is this? 1819?

To be fair, the article was written in 1983.
posted by JohnFromGR at 7:29 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I'm thinking this does not quite sound real. The author is having waaaaaaay too good of a time writing this.

While we're at it, can we discuss the veracity of cow tipping again?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:30 AM on February 15


To be fair, the article was written in 1983.

Yeah, I went back again - and mind was even more boggled... But now the lack of photo's makes complete sense...

And, well "Google/YouTube" provides some visual aids, if one is so inclined...
posted by jkaczor at 7:33 AM on February 15


This is one of the funniest things I've ever read. It's just brilliant. The writing, the illustration, the characters. I would probably be upset to watch this in person, but through the gonzo journalistic remove, it's hysterical.
But Reg Mellor refuses to acknowledge that his talent is made of the stuff of heroes, of a mixture of indomitable pride, courage, concentration, and artless grace. "Naw noon o' that," said the king. "You just got be able ta have your tool bitten and not care."
posted by MythMaker at 7:36 AM on February 15 [13 favorites]


Came here to thumbs-up the Steadman drawing. A blast from the past.
posted by greenhornet at 7:38 AM on February 15


It fills me with glee that Reg Mellor is obviously a Pratchett character.
posted by suetanvil at 7:40 AM on February 15 [21 favorites]


1983! Oh, gosh, I remember reading this article when it first came out. I may have even made a photocopy of it at the library to pass around.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:40 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]




From the wiki: "An attempt to introduce a female version of the sport—ferret busting, in which female contestants introduced ferrets down their blouses—proved unsuccessful."

And for MeFites who want photographic evidence: here ya go.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:51 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Alternatively referred to by professional ferret handlers as "a shark of the land," "a piranha with feet," "fur-coated evil," and "the only four-legged creature in existence that kills just for kicks,"

"A" shark of the land, I do like that there are, presumably, many sharks of the land.
posted by Hypatia at 8:09 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


> Ferret legging and Reg Mellor previously on Metafilter (with a dead link, sadly).

You're not missing anything since it's the same story.

Check out the byline, though: "Donald Katz is the founder and CEO of Audible.com."
posted by ardgedee at 8:16 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I enjoy the fantastical nature of the article, and Reg Mellor definitely would fit in in Disc World (especially with that name). But this is, undeniably, just animal abuse painted with a quaint english brush, no different from cockfighting.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:20 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


...one of my great uncles used to keep the ferret in his shirt...
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 8:21 AM on February 15


That is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Brilliantly written. *wipes tears*
posted by widdershins at 8:21 AM on February 15


And here I was excited for a second about a new Neutral Milk Hotel album.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:37 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


As long as it's not for the purposes of gambling.

Purely for the purposes of gamboling.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:52 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


"Naw noon o' that," said the king. "You just got be able ta have your tool bitten and not care."

I would pay good cash money to see this scene from Ridley Scott's Prometheus replaced with footage of Reg explaining the details of his sport. If only to see Michael Fassbender going "You just got be able ta have your tool bitten and not care" in a fake Scottish accent.
posted by Naberius at 9:00 AM on February 15


I have a collection of the author's work in book form around here somewhere; the only other story from the book I can recall off the top of my head was one about his visit to "king of the voyeurs", which wasn't nearly as ripping a piece. But this story is golden.
posted by maxwelton at 9:28 AM on February 15


Good lord, I've heard about this -- cat juggling yt !

Some people juggle geese.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:53 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]




Naberius: it's not Scottish.(AIUI it's a bad American attempt at translating Yorkshire dialect.)
posted by cstross at 10:36 AM on February 15 [2 favorites]


sidebar: "Call of the Ferret: Our former editor on the craziest and least taste-defensible piece he ever assigned"
posted by larrybob at 10:54 AM on February 15


Seventh Doctor Who, Sylvester McCoy began his performing career doing a sideshow type act than involved putting ferrets down his trousers. He wil be forever loved by Doctor Who fans for not being Colin Baker, the godawful Doctor he replaced.
posted by w0mbat at 11:09 AM on February 15


Is this a misguided attempt at self-medication by someone whose blood work has revealed low ferret-in levels?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:02 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


There's quite a bit of debate on the talk page of the Wikipedia article on Ferret-legging.
posted by larrybob at 1:56 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


"Toffs and Ferrets" = new band name
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:35 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the article was written in 1983.

We are as far from 1983 as 1983 is from 1819. Strange, but true!

(For values of “true” that include “not true at all.”)
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:37 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


So I'm on my nth re-reading of Wee Free Men (doing a quick sprint through the Tiffany Aching sub-series) and yes, this is a quintessentially Pratchett activity.

Also I'm not really convinced it's all that mean to the ferrets. They are quite at home in confined spaces and fighting/biting is their default state, aside from napping.

Man, I want to get ferrets again now. So much fun! If only they could be trained to use a litter box.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:00 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Naberius: it's not Scottish.(AIUI it's a bad American attempt at translating Yorkshire dialect.

I'm from Yorkshire - It's not just bad, it's appalling. Though given the horrors endured within I feel somewhat bad about complaining about the effect on my delicate ears of poorly transliterated accents.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:16 PM on February 15


Something that doesn't get mentioned is that Ferrets STINK. My sister was handed one and never could get the smell out of the sleeves. We visited a wild life refuge, and they had a section full of ferrets surrendered because of the smell.
posted by freethefeet at 6:18 PM on February 15


Oh dear lord, that video is real and Reg Mellor is name-dropped in it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:00 PM on February 15


Heck, the inside of trousers could be ferret heaven: nice and snug, warm, and with a few new and interesting things that have not been conclusively ruled out as a possible lunch.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:23 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


They do smell but I wouldn't say they stink. And they smell a whole lot less if you keep up after them. I dunno, I never minded it. But yeah, they have a smell and if you don't want a pet that has a smell, you have no business getting ferrets.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:40 AM on February 16


1983, you say? Then nobody's acknowledging the real tragedy here, which is that there was a solid 28 years in which this article could have been turned into a movie starring Pete Postlethwaite as Reg Mellor, and yet, as best I can tell, it never happened.

"Naw noon o' that," said the king. "You just got be able ta have your tool bitten and not care."

"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

(Despite his innumerable virtues, I do not believe that Peter O'Toole could have played Reg Mellor.)
posted by McCoy Pauley at 10:12 AM on February 16


A little song, a little dance
Some little ferrets down your pants
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:37 AM on February 17


« Older A time of debt   |   “s/he shook my rack/bookshelf” Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments