Too often, public outpourings of affection are reserved until after the person of honor has shuffled off the mortal coil.
So it was a delight on Wednesday to witness some love lavished on a guy who has brought joy to generations in Morristown.
And at 50, Eric “Fluffy” Glover should have lots of years to bask in the afterglow.
Eric is known to thousands (according to his Facebook page) as the Ticket Taker Guy, the fellow with the peculiar make-believe ticket-stamping routine at Clearview Cinemas in Headquarters Plaza, where he has been provoking bemused smiles since the Reagan administration.
His birthday bash brought twenty-somethings and Golden Agers to the Dark Horse Lounge, where Eric also moonlights as Fluffy the Bouncer.
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Mike Walsh and his crew at the Horse wanted to do something extra special for Fluffy, something beyond giving him a cake and his usual platform to sing The Candy Man and Riders on the Storm.
They knew that Fluffy’s old Cadillac (from Reagan’s second term) was not long for this world. The driver-side door would not open, the ignition would not start.
So they dug deep and came up with a surprise befitting this BIG 5-0: A shiny silver Cadillac DeVille, circa 2003, in fine health.
Eric, who tips the scales at about 350 pounds, became Fluffy years ago thanks to a t-shirt that proclaimed: “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy!”
When the Morristown High grad saw flatbeds from Morristown Auto Body replace his jalopy with the DeVille, he really was fluffy. As in, feather-light, dancing-in-the-breeze euphoric.
Pro-FESS-ional! Fluffy kept repeating.
A crowd chanted Fluf-fy, Fluf-fy! and Er-ic, Er-ic! on DeHart Street until police chased everyone back inside the bar.
This was an evening to be savored.
Donna and Matt Giordano, both retired, have enjoyed Fluffy’s cinema act for 13 years.
“It always makes me smile,” Donna said at the party. “My husband tries to do it back, but it never quite works.”
Taylor Buonocore and Abbey Arwady of Mendham have a long, long way to go until retirement. Yet they feel like they go back a long way with Fluffy.
“He’s a tradition,” Taylor shouted above the throbbing beat of a deejay mix. “He’s contagious!”
Abbey remembers Fluffy from trips to the movies when she was 12. “He was part of our childhood,” she said.
Fluffy soaked it all up: The kudos, the hugs, the free beers. He sang his signature songs with gusto, and then greeted his silver surprise with the wide-eyed wonder of a kid on Christmas morning.
“This is a great night, a real great night,” Fluffy said. “A night I’ll never forget for as long as I live.”
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