This was not the footage I expected to capture on this miserable, slushy day. When I overheard one of the workers manning the brat stand on Wisconsin Ave. exclaim, "Is that a fucking camel?," I assumed he was referring to some type of machinery. He was from the building trades union, after all.
However, a few moments later, the source of his amazement became apparent. At first I assumed the worst: Some union was using the wretched desert beast to make fun of the governor. Actually, the truth turned out to be worse.
It was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, that had brought the camel, said a man who refused to be filmed. They were going to do a bit with the show's correspondent, John Oliver.
Things quickly deteriorated. Notice Oliver tell me to turn the camera off as the disaster unfolds:
Later some firefighter protesters followed their instincts and came to the scene of the emergency.
The story ends happily, however:
A few minutes later, as I walked down East Mifflin, I saw Oliver standing in the doorway to the Mercury Room, talking nervously into his cell phone. I didn't hear what he said but I can imagine: "John, couldn't you have just sent me to Cairo? At least there they know how to handle a goddamn camel."