Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fun With Shame

In a previous blog I mentioned a former wife and me hiking through the Arizona desert. I mentioned the torrid heat. I mentioned that she was hot and miserable. I mentioned that she asked if I thought it okay if she removed her blouse and suffered along in only her bra. I mentioned that I said, “Sure, there’s no one within a hundred miles." I also mentioned that within a hundred feet--not a hundred miles--we ran flush into four embarrassed young men. And so, speaking of shame . . . let's spread the wealth.

Back in the late 1950's, on one of our periodic trips to the Grand Tetons, my parents had stopped at a small park in the Bighorn Mountains for lunch. There were absolutely no other people in the place at the time. While Mom was making the sandwiches, I raced away toward an outdoor toilet. When I finally reached the structure, I discovered, to my eleven- or twelve-year old horror, that the sign on the door said "Women." Nevertheless, there was no time to dash across the empty park to the other outhouse.

I had not been in the dark box for more than a minute, I suppose, when the door creaked open, light flooded in, and there, of course, with terror etched all over her face, stood an eleven- or twelve-year-old girl.

"Oh! . . . I'm sorry!" blurted the startled intruder as she let the door slam shut.

That walk back to the camper may have been the longest trudge I've ever made in my life. Sure enough, another car was now in the park. So great was my panic and embarrassment, that had it been possible to secretly circle around in the mountains for a day or two and enter from the back way, I would have gladly done it. But given the location of the toilet, such a feat was not possible without detection. Thus, acting with all the indifference I could muster, I began the lonely mope back toward my suddenly distant sanctuary. And as I did, and with each step seemingly done in slow motion, it was with the full awareness that every eye in that family was now riveted on me; ME the buffoon, ME the clown, ME the silly weener who didn't know what sex he was.

After what seemed like an age, I finally reached our camper and I crawled in like a shamed dog. Mom and Dad had seen the whole thing and were still laughing. Though we remained at this park for an hour, I refused to come out.

It was, I believe, on the very same trip that I got a measure of vengeance. At some desert hamlet, Dad pulled up to a gas station restroom. Mom hurried in. Directly, a man soon walked through the same door she had entered. Almost as quickly, the man came out again with a startled look and a blush. When Mom reappeared a minute later we could see from her face that she was indignant. Indignant, that is, until she looked up and saw the word "Men."

Dad had tears in his eyes from laughter.


Hobo Hall of Horror--Seems just as some sorta Death Wish draws Florida geezers to canals, seems just as some sorta Stupid Wish draws meth zombies to Walgreens, seems just so are the homeless drawn to railroad tracks.  I mentioned the bones found up by Ocala at dawn the other day down by the tracks.   Now, another homeless-sapien, a woman, was killed by a train up in Tampa.  Seems the train had stopped momentarily at a switch.  Seems the woman and her boyfriend decided to cross under a car rather than walk all the long way to the front of the train.  Seems the male half got across okay.  Seems half of the female half got across okay too.  Seems the train then started to move.  Seems the woman was cut in two.  Seems the guilty train fled the scene and continued on for ten miles unaware.   

But damn!  Bad enough to be a homeless drunk or drug addict, living in the woods, sleeping in the rain, fending off gators and snakes, but to then see your girl friend cut in two and then watch helplessly as a zillion tons of train roll slowly over her again and again!  Lots of thin-skinned folks these days get counseling for some of the most trivial and marshmallow stuff, but if ever a hard-luck hobo needed some kind words and understanding sent his way, this man is the one.

About this time last year, also in Tampa, another hobolisimo, one Luis Romo, 71, was struck and killed by a train. 


Big Deal—At the final tally, a grand goombah of 87 snakes were captured and killed in the Big Burmese Python Everglades Roundup and Beer Chug-A-Thon. A thousand hunters from all over earth participated for fame and fortune during the past two months.  Well guess what?  Either these giant invasive nightmares have learned the secret of invisibility, or the "Immortal 1000" are the worst hunters in history.  Eighty-seven!  EIGHTY SEVEN!!!  In the same report yesterday, the reporter mentioned that “one female python can lay as many as one hundred eggs (pretty scary when you think how many eggs a male python can lay).”  

In any event, by my math, t’would seem just one female python can squirt out 13 more little nightmares in a single grunt than these nimrods can kill in two months.  By my math, looks like nature loses again.  Anyone wanna bet that if you go out alone in the Glades in a kayak and the last thing on the menu you wanna see is an 18-foot nightmare swimming your way that this then is exactly what you will see in five minutes or less? 

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