(ed. note: read part 2 here)
Once, when I a kid, I was told by some Baptist kids that I was going to hell. The reason, I was told, was that I was Catholic. According to the Baptist religion, at least as interpreted by elementary school practitioners, that was enough to condemn me to eternal hellfire. I found this very disconcerting. Not nearly as disconcerting, however, as being confronted by sasquatch worshippers.
They were a ragged-looking group of mostly middle-aged people dressed in a mashup of styles, including hiking boots, twill shorts, hemp shirts and J. Crew backpacks. It looked like they couldn't decide if they were on their way to a summer camp for rich kids or an organic farming convention.
"You know, that's not a sasquatch. It's just a dirty old man. I mean, a filthy old man, not like a pedophile or something. Or maybe he's a pedophile, I don't know. Anyway, he's not, you know, Bigfoot." I was babbling.
I was met with gasps of disbelief, as if I had just admitted to something evil, like garotting a baby or voting Republican. Murmurs of "you lie", "it's not true", and, more disturbingly, a single "kill the unbelievers" washed over me like a wave of ignorance and patchouli.
The apparent leader (the tall, thin man who had spoken earlier) replied, "He is the bringer of knowledge and the teacher of a simpler life; one of smaller ambitions, lighter burdens and greater rewards. We follow him utterly."
He continued in that vein, but I wasn't able to focus on his words, as he was leading me away from the others by the elbow as he talked. Lowering his voice, he said, "Of course he isn't a sasquatch. He's some nut who runs around the forest with no pants eating pine cones. He doesn't hurt anybody and he gets me laid, because these people do believe he's a god. (louder) PRAISE BE YUCCATINGO!" That last was met with a hearty chorus of "WAGGA-WAGGA!"
"So this whole thing is a scam to get with hippie chicks?" I said, lowering my voice at his frantic hand waving.
"Yes, and I'd appreciate it if you'd not blow it for me. Take your little friend and hit the road."
"Seriously? I mean, these women?" I said, looking dubiously at the eight decidedly unattractive granola gobblers among the sasquatch worshippers.
"YES! Now go away!"
"Really? These women here? Because --"
"COME, CHILDREN OF YUCCATINGO! THE BLASPHEMERS MUST --"
"Okay, okay, we're going! Come on Tony."
We headed back to Tony's Subaru. It was just as well, as we were out of beer and beef jerky and needed to get back to our stash in Tony's back seat. We drove back to civilization and didn't speak a word the entire way.
A week later, the whole thing seems hard to believe. But now you know the story of why I didn't post for a week. My adventure, and the trauma it inflicted on my body and psyche, rendered me unable to write. It was horrific, truly.
The lessons to be drawn from this are several: don't wander into the Minnesota woods unprepared. Bring a backpack big enough to carry all your beer and all your beef jerky. Don't give up on finding that perfect ten woman; otherwise you might end up inventing a religion and living in the woods just for a chance at a three, four at best. If you're a man and you have to choose, wear pants and skip the shirt, not the other way around.
Anyway, posting should be back to normal now, though I am getting ready for another trip. This one will involve beer but hopefully no de-panted men or religion of any kind. I'll prepare some things to post automatically while I'm gone.
Till then, wagga-wagga.