Truggdon the Grundo: Slave Turned Icon
In the days leading up to Grundo Independence Day, many fans of Neopia’s celebrated Grundos have shown their support by lavishly decorating their homes with posters of Virtupets Space Station’s top chef Gargarox to fashioning themselves in their favorite Spider Grundo T-shirts. But lately the spotlight has focused on a different kind of icon; one that did not start out as a superstar nor necessarily ended as one. However, no one can easily deny that he achieved what few Grundo slave descendants hope to do: escape the lackluster lives they lead at Virtupets Corp. Nowadays many look up to this new kind of hero, this icon; Truggdon the Grundo.
Truggdon started out in his early years at Virtupets Corp. just like every other Grundo slave descendant: poorly treated and without much to look forward to. But at an early age, the young Grundo seemed to see in a different perspective. Unlike many of the workers around him, he always believed there was another way, an escape route to slave-like life he led.
Says Trigdon the Mutant Grundo, a recently retired security guard of Virtupets Corp, “I always thought he was a little dolt. Never seemed to get it through that thick head of his that freedom is a right to only those who deserve it. And then, if you’ll believe his stupidity, he went and joined Sloth’s Army. A miracle he didn’t trip himself to death.”
And join the Sloth Army Truggdon did. At the age of 30, Truggdon decided to join Sloth’s Army, at the time a sure way of escaping manual labor at Virtupets Corp, though with the obvious catch. Jumping in at once, Truggdon kissed his pot-scrubbing days goodbye and braced himself for a year of hard army training.
According to a quote in the Neopedia, the new Grundo recruit recalls the first weeks of his army life as “a nonstop blur of pain and anxiety”. Despite these hardships, Truggdon also constantly reminded himself to stay on the bright side and has said: “It was always, 'Go Faster!' or 'Work Harder!' but unlike washing dishes, at least I knew it wouldn't last forever.”
True to Truggdon’s optimistic beliefs, he was accepted as a full-fledged member of Sloth’s Army. However, due to his bottom-of-the-barrel rank, Truggdon had to suffer a bit more labor and was continuously given petty grunt assignments such as domestic jobs. In a past interview for ‘News... in... SPACE!’ Truggdon has openly said that Sloth’s Army was “not for the faint of heart” and later saying in an interview for Modern Lupe Magazine “I thought the kitchens were a pain. But I was wrong: being a low-rank Sloth soldier was not only boring, it was pointless.”
But Truggdon’s luck was about to turn. At the age of 32, two years after applying for a position in Sloth’s Army, the Grundo, famished from a hard day’s work, came across a scene that fired him onto his feet and onto a different road.
As quoted in the Neopedia, Truggdon thought, “it was all pretty interesting, that folks would stand around and watch such a thing, but I really took notice when I saw that the winner got 500 NP. 'Hmmm,' I thought to myself, 'I can do that... and make a lot of money, too.'”
In the weeks to follow, Truggdon found his new-found skill at the game of Tug-O-War to be as addicting as his favorite meal of Cherries Jubalee, which he was able to afford quite easily as his winnings began to pile up. In a matter of weeks, Truggdon was earning close 10000 neopoints a week: far better pay than his role in Sloth’s Army, which paid almost nothing except the so-called “freedom” he had been promised. However, as the game of Tug-O-War led him to befriend many people of Sakhmet, Truggdon began to realize something other than his profound brilliance at the addictive game.
As the hours of Truggdon’s game practice increased, his military performance suffered accordingly. Truggdon has openly confessed account of his days as a beginning Tug-O-War champion in public interviews, including the parts about his failing status as a Sloth solider. One lengthy anecdote Truggdon has been known to reminisce with pride for a number of years concerns a row with an army chef.
“I had skipped an entire shift at the kitchens and there weren’t enough clean pots to cook anything in, though I don’t recall ever eating off a clean plate during my time at the army. The head chef, a great big bully who couldn’t tell between a Rockfruit and his reflection, started off with a couple of nasty threats. Then it turned into a full-blown fistfight as it progressed to insulting the game of Tug-O-War and Sakhmet. That’s when I decided I’d had enough.”
Truggdon went in hiding with a group of families, all of them having lost homes in terrible attacks by Sloth’s Army. The days trickled into weeks and soon months. But he was strongly determined to be brave with the helpless families around him. Supporting each other, Truggdon came out of hiding alive with the group of families. The Sloth Army had been defeated and Truggdon returned to Sakhmet.
Starting a new life as a citizen in Sakhmet proved to be somewhat difficult as many did not trust him to be one of their own. With his ominous record as a soldier in the despised Sloth’s Army, many citizens believe him to be a remaining spy. Yet, with the help of the families he had spent his days in hiding with and his kindhearted nature, Truggdon eventually won Sakhmet’s trust.
These days, Truggdon is still an avid Tug-O-War contestant, having competed against many accomplished Tug-O-War participants. He has won a number of them and even with the occasional dispirited loss, Truggdon is happier than he has ever been.
“I believe this is where I was supposed to be. Putting my energy into rope, hearing the splash of river as the loser falls head in. Of course, sometimes that splash is made by me. But I’d never give up this freedom for anything. Not even for two spaceship loads of Cherries Jubalee.”
This last statement by Neopia’s latest Grundo icon ends this episode of Truggdon the Grundo... for today. Truggdon will undoubtedly be supported by many of his fans in the upcoming Grundo Independence Day alongside many of the other Grundo celebrities. Truggdon, the Tug-O-War champ, has indeed come a long way from pot-scrubbing slave to being a truly free Grundo.
*Further comments on this article are welcome to be discussed with the writer.