How to get Hustled in Five Easy Steps.

Now I’m not talking about the disco dance though that is pretty entertaining.  Nor I am talking about moving rapidly which is useful if you’re being chased by a bear, honeybees or your mother when she found out you put a big hole in the wall. Nor I am talking about the mean spirited hustlers of the day, ID thieves and other nasty bits of work.

No, I’m talking about a good old fashioned hustle, the kind where you get a little something and the hustler gets a little something and it’s a fair deal on all sides.

The first thing you have to do is to go to Saint Louis, Missouri. It’s a beautiful city and the people are so pleasant. Ridiculously pleasant. Like there’s something in the water kind of pleasant.

The second thing you have to do is to run around taking photos and letting everyone know you’re a tourist.

You could even think about taking a River Cruise, if the man in the lower left wearing a chemical protection suit and spraying down tent wires doesn’t worry you too much. Now it could be that that guy is just a conscientious type who worries about germs on tent wires but you don’t need a chemical suit for that. I mean you can wear any old thing to wash down tent wires. I’m sure there’s probably a reasonable explanation but I have been watching an awful lot of conspiracy theories on TV and that kind of mindset is catching. How can one resist blaming everything that happens on extraterrestrials beings who apparently have nothing better to do then come from galaxies far away to mess with us. Or on intelligent Yeti super militia forces or on top secret experiments that have turned squirrels and chipmunks into living eavesdropping devices so that the government can find out how much we’re gossiping about each other or talking all about what we’re going to wear tomorrow.



Or you can walk away from the man in the chemical suit and take some photos of  sidewalk art featuring fish people in high heels.

Fish heads, fish heads. Roly poly fish heads. Fish heads! Fish heads!

Eat them up..Yum!

You can ask a Fish Head anything but they won’t answer because they can’t talk..

(if you’ve never heard that song, do yourself a favor and youtube it).


And then for step three you have to go inside the Arch.  At which point after giving the armed Security Guards your belt and any metal objects, having your purse x-rayed and walking though a metal detector you will see this lovely mural.

As you can see from the mural the Arch is actually bigger then the Statue of Liberty, the Washington monument, Mount Rushmore and the Delicate Arch at the Arches National Park in Utah. It’s also bigger then the Eiffel Tower and the Seattle Space Needle. And yes it was designed by a man, how did you guess?



After looking at the mural and coming to the realization that these people assumed that you didn’t notice how big the Arch was even though you had to walk to it to get inside it you will then come to a rather nice little museum.

There’s historic portraits and covered wagons and cowboy hats and guns and all those fun things

And then you walk around a corner

And then..

You come to an understanding of why they took your belt.

It’s so you don’t freak out and whip the heck out of these creepy ass animatronic beings that are all yakking away and moving like B-movie horror characters.

(Side note: my spell check keeps trying to change animatronics to fornicators! Fornicators! My computer either has a dirty mind or was programmed by a Southern preacher. I’m sure there’s a conspiracy theory that could fit that)

This one here was some sort of medal making metallurgist. I’m not quite sure what that means but I like the alliteration.

He seemed to be trying to get me to take his medal but I didn’t fall for that.  I’ve seen too many Syfy movies. I knew if I took it, I would spend the rest of the day running around Saint Louis trying to avoid being annihilated by angry animatonics. (Or fornicators as my computer insists on typing.)



This one, wouldn’t make eye contact at all. He just kept talking and staring around at the ceiling. So to be neighborly I stared around at the ceiling too. Other then coming to the realization that their custodians must be awfully tidy, I mean there was not a speck of dust on the ceiling, the pot lights or the beams, I never did figure out what he was looking at.

Saint Louis Arch animatronics.


This one here was looking for tracks. He seemed to think that some rustlers had come through the museum. I didn’t spend much time with him seeing as he was so busy and those rustlers can be nasty. You don’t want to get caught up in the crossfire between a rustler and a lawman.



And then the last one was a historical rendition of the Used Car Salesman. He was pleasant, had a nice voice, lovely manners and moved really smoothly but like all car salesmen everywhere he made me a bit leery.



Okay, now step four is very important. You have to run out of that museum before the last guy sells you a two hundred year old covered wagon with rickety wheels, no warranty and 18.5% interest to boot. I’m telling you he’s good, run as fast as you can.

Take the tree lined path. And forget about taking any more photos of the Arch because the leaves while pleasantly providing much needed shade block the view. Then stand around aiming at the leaves as if your camera can magically see through them. Perhaps, you could sigh a little for effect.



And which point we are at Step Five and in comes the Hustler who while watching you trying to get a good shot and sighing over your inability to do so ingeniously explains to your husband how he likes to come down to the Park and act as a private guide and info center for visitors in the hopes of hustling up a bit of spare change.

Then this kind man will take you by the arm and he will walk you right through the woods into an open field and Voila! there’s the perfect shot (barring the overly bright morning light that is).



And then this kind hustler who has already informed you that he’s going to hustle you, goes into a nice long spiel on how good the chicken wings are over at this particular spot. And how for five dollars he can get enough chicken wings to fill his stomach for the day. Then he’ll blink and smile innocently. And you will give him ten dollars cause he might as well get a beer to wash his chicken wings and he was probably most likely going to get one anyway..

And it will be all be very pleasant because that’s how they do things in Saint Louis.

And if you want to know where those chicken wings are, well you just run over to Saint Louis and talk to this man. He’ll be happy to tell you all about them.

For five bucks.



Now if you’ll excuse me, my sister keeps sending me emails telling me to paint a hippo. I’m not sure what she has against hippos. They’re already a nice enough color.  But I aim to please so I am going to have to go find a hippo. And I think I need to get more paint. Hippos are awfully large animals, I don’t think I have enough paint to cover one up.

Have a good one, folks!




©Virginia Spencer, thepurpledogpaintingblog, 2012

8 thoughts on “How to get Hustled in Five Easy Steps.

  1. This is completely off topic, but your photos are a very interesting (if these things interest you) study in the “uncanny valley” effect – the point at which something goes from being a really good imitation of a real person to being really really creepy. I noticed that as I scrolled down through the fornicatronic creatures, they started out looking very convincing, then suddenly flipped to “Hey, that ISN’T A REAL PERSON IS IT OH MY GOD.”

    The top of the head is just fine. And the forehead. And eyebrows. Now, I would have guessed that the giveaway would be the eyes – but no, they looked human. And the nose. No, the creepy unnatural aliens-have-landed appearance has something to do with their mouths. They’re just wrong.

    But your chicken wing hustler? Definitely human. Whew.

    And good luck with the hippo painting.

    1. The “uncanny valley” is interesting. For those who aren’t sure what it is, the uncanny valley effect is when an object (doll, robot, CGI animation) resembles a human enough but isn’t human so it causes revulsion in humans. It’s not surprising but many people are freaked out by the antique Victorian dolls. I have two and many people just don’t like them. Their eyes are very realistic.
      I was telling a couple of preteen girls that attached themselves to me at this exhibit (they were a little freaked out and yakked my ears off, I didn’t mind though) about Disney’s Abe Lincoln animatronic that unsettled so many people.
      It’s all quite interesting really.

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