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Ah, Greasy Pole.

The ancient Negmarron tradition of trying to climb a very greasy pole to capture a prize at the top. It’s kinda like a WWE Wrestlemania event, with high falls, smackdowns and suplexes, except that no one is fighting.

They are all co-operating.

They have to. The pole, like life, is greasy. Very, very greasy. The pole is conspiring to make sure no one can get the prize. It is also scheming to thwart all efforts at co-operation. But a funny thing happened on the way to futility. The oppressive history that ripped families apart, rent the social fabric and destroyed any pre-colonial sense of identity and worth damaged them deeply, yes. But it also failed to kill their sense of humor.

Hence, Greasy Pole.

Negmarron have conspired to turn the epic tragedy called life into a game that’s both fun and painful to play and to watch.

In Anse la Raye last weekend, the most able bodied and thirsty young men and grown boys gathered by the pole on the beach. Atop the pole in a bag that looked like it had ham, were two bottles of booze, a packet of crackers and a tin of tuna. Obviously a subtle commentary by the organizers on the state of the economy and politics and the effect that it has on…um…stuff….


Over and over they tried to climb onto each other, these Negmarron heroes, but over and over the pole thwarted them. Frankly, they looked more like crabs in a barrel that human stacks of bricks. A part of me wondered if a group of white teens named Tiffany couldn’t have done a better job of getting the fake 21st century ham from the top of the pole.




Everyone was laughing and kixxing off at every fall.

I don’t know when the fun turn into a meta-gory for epic national fail on the part of Negmarron from Haiti to Brazil. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t take life so seriously.

Approaching the unit of Negmarron, I engaged their commander.

“Stay low and stack the fellas. You need four layers of fellas to reach the top. Don’t try to climb before you stack all. Then when everyone is up, all of y’all stand up…and you’ll probably reach the top.”


I didn’t think he even heard me, far less listened.

But in the next two minutes it was over.

They stacked themselves low and then stretched upwards, just holding the pole for balance. And there it was.





While I took pictures of the celebrations, the commander pointed at me: “Look da man that tell me how to do it.”


I looked behind me.

There was no one there. For a moment, the sweet sensation of pride and its incestuous sister hubris filled me with ecstasy. Without even touching the pole, far less falling into the sand from a great height, I had won Greasy Pole.


And then, it hit me.

If this method goes out, it could ruin Greasy Pole forever. Every Greasy Pole event in the future would be over in two minutes. And then we would only be left with Greasy Pig, which is not only ethically questionable, but often smells like fear and pig shit.

Dammit, eh.

My only consolation here is that most people who would climb a Greasy Pole are not spending their days reading blogs.

There is only one way to save the tradition now. Women. Girls. In tights. And shorts.

Iif we can get the girls to play, we might be able to rescue it. Yes Girls. Greasy Pole. Yes. It does sound that like something the sponsors would like, doesn’t it? Chauvinist pigs.