park ranger2

"I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. That or His Dudeness... Duder... or El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing...Oh, and welcome to Yellowstone."

Yellowstone guy starts his spiel.

“Yellowstone is America’s first national park. It was established in 1872. Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The park's name is derived-”

I wave my hands in front of the guy’s face, and he stops.

“No dude,” I say. “Get to the good stuff.”

He nods.

“Yellowstone is home to both grizzly and black bears,” he says. “Although the risk of an encounter with a bear is low, there are no guarantees of your safety…”

Patch starts rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

“Ooo, is there gonna be a bear attack?” he says.

With a snap of my fingers, the Yellowstone guy goes mute. His lips are still moving, but no words are coming out.

“No, there’s no bear attack,” I say. “We’re just establishing tone and atmosphere.”

Patch gives a dismissive wave of his hand.

“Aww, come on,” he says. “If I get bored, I’m inserting a rabid bear into this.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say.

Yellowstone guy’s lips are still moving in silence.

“So anyway, this is where the guy tells me how to avoid being eaten by a bear – don’t hike at night, secure all food, don’t run, yada yada – and then he mentions that earlier in the season, there was an incident after a guy cooked some bacon. So I, of course, ask what happened, and he says-”

I snap my fingers so we can hear Yellowstone guy again.

“Let me put it this way,” he says. “Bears aren’t the best at figuring out where the bacon ends and your butt begins.” He lets out a hearty laugh, then turns quickly somber. “But seriously, be careful with the food.”


Also advised: Not inserting children directly into bears' mouths.

Finger snap and he’s muted again.

“So then I say ‘I’m sure this is a stupid question, but are there any TVs around here?’ and he says…”

I snap again and he’s audible.

“That depends. Did you bring one?” he says, and laughs, then goes somber again. “But seriously, not a chance. There are no TVs anywhere in the park that I know of.”

I snap again and Yellowstone guy is gone.

“Ok, so we have bears brunching on asses, a Footloose-style ban on televisions, a nighttime temperature of 30 degrees, no tent-side outlets, no WiFi, and the map-” I produce a Yellowstone map out of nowhere. “-gives conversions of how long it will take to drive anywhere in the park. According to this, construction, wildlife, and treacherous, twisty roads mean it takes at least an hour just to go 20 miles, thereby preventing me from trying to Fast and Furious my way to a city outside the park to watch the game. I am, in every sense of the word, trapped like an animal.”

I put an index finger in the air to accentuate my next point.

“Despite all of these factors, I have kept my word. I have put my family ahead of the Celtics. I have dropped my concern about the rapidly approaching Game 5 and managed to be pleasant. I have been so pleasant, in fact, that I think I’ve actually fooled myself into thinking I’m having a good time. The Tower Falls were cool, Old Faithful was faithful, and the mud volcanoes were something else. I have actually been having a good time, and yet-”

Finger snap and there’s the tent. Shannon can be heard weeping inside.

“I get this,” I say, staring resentfully at the billowing fabric. “It’s the second of three nights here. Tomorrow night, Game 5 will happen and I won’t see it because I will be in this tent. Still, I haven’t complained once.” The sobbing continues. I look forlornly toward the sound. “I wonder to myself, ‘What have I done wrong? Maybe in spite of my genuine positive attitude, I subconsciously said or did something that made her think otherwise, crushed her spirit, made her hate me.’”

The group looks at me with a mix of admiration and concern reserved for an astronaut heading into space. I put on a winter hat and gloves to prepare for the cold of a Yellowstone night. Taking a deep breath, I unzip the tent.

Time to face the music.


Travelling: Intro / Book Jacket, Chapter 1: Cribbagegate, Chapter 2: Two e-mails, Chapter 3: Pattern, Chapter 4: Shattered, Chapter 5: Hilarious Pee, Chapter 6: Suicide, Chapter 7/8: Coaching High school, Shark attacks and appetizers, Chapter 9: June, Chapter 10: 18 and oh no, Chapter 11: DNA, Chapter 12: Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Chapter 13: Tom Brady and the McGuffin, Chapter 14: Game 1, Chapter 15: Who the H is John Havlicek?, Chapters 16 - 17, Chapter 18: Game 2: Great White, Chapter 19: Pickle, Chapter 20: Marty McFly, Chapter 21 / 22: standard deviation, all the pretty flowers, Chapter 23: Game 3: Black Hills, Chapter 24: Twister, Chapter 25: Game 4, Chapter 26: Patriotic Agony, Chapter 27: Locusts, Chapter 28: skype, Chapter 29: Click, Chapter 30: Superman, Chapter 30: Ass Brunch Chapter 32: Mammoth

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Blogger Peter Sean said...
I know that this is a literary technique and all to leave us in suspense, but dang, man, I have to sit through all of work today now on that cliffhanger.

Really enjoying the posts.

Blogger Will said...
The park ranger looks more like Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein than the Dude.

Anonymous JJ said...
ET, good stuff as usual! Thanks!

By the way, I don't know if you guys are aware, but there actually was a bear attack there last week. Don't mess with the grizzlies!

Anonymous ROP said...
Dude, I loVed the pictuRe of the bear! SounDs like there’s no obVious way you’ll see the game…inteResting.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Peter Sean - Sorry you need to wait, but I am glad you're anxious for the next bit. It's a doozy.

ROP - I'm not lost on your cReatiVe capitalization, but let's face it, trying to keep yourself ignorant of a series for which you have a massive rooting interest is damn near impossible, and never works the way you want, DuDe. Even if you don't see it when it happens, you're going to want to know. Live is the only way to go. All sports fans are aware of this. The farthest I take DVR is to start recording, wait an hour, and start watching the game so I can zip through commercials...any longer than that is pointless. AND it's a seven game series - your DVR would get the other hand, maybe I'd have lost 4th quarter of Game 7, and remained in blissful ignorance.


Blogger Evil Ted said...
JJ - Thanks timely tragic news!

Will - Dude quote is better though.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Dude quote is better though.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

(To be fair, both are great)