Saturday, July 26, 2008

Phylox, the Wonder-Spatula


It’s spooky in the woods, especially when you’re not wearing underwear, at least not underwear in the strictest sense of the word. I suppose that a cup is not really underwear, and honestly, it’s not all that easy to keep in place as I walk. I have to hold onto it with my hand, and this keeps me from brachiating properly, even though I switch hands fairly often, dependant on terrain. If I’m crossing a fallen tree trunk, for example… I have to look over it to see if landfall on the other side is lower on the right or left side, and then I hold onto my cup with the opposite hand. I suppose I could have worn shorts under my jeans if I’d had any clean ones available, and if they were the ‘jockey’ style, but planning is not my long suit. Boxers are technically more comfortable, but they have no containing structure for a cup. I tried scooping up a very large amount of leaves and putting them down the front of my pants, situating them such that their bulk, in theory, might form a support structure that would prohibit my cup from moving. However, gravity tends to have the same effect on leaves that it has on cups, unfortunately, so within a half-mile or so, not even the massive bulk of my boys could keep it in place without assistance from my fingers.

That’s why I envision myself looking a bit like a chimpanzee as I make my way through the underbrush and branches. Chimps don’t brachiate like humans when they walk. Their arms tend to hang rather than swing opposite the leg that’s being advanced, and since I can’t swing both arms, my stride might appear as much simian as human. It’s a little demeaning, but I don’t worry as much about it now as I might have when I first left the trail. Decorum becomes much less important when outside the range of other human eyes.

Damn… it’s beginning to look like my choice of a sidearm might not have been the best, either. Although in retrospect I recall my mother using the very same weapon as an effective deterrent against a little boy’s hands that assaulted the rack of cookies cooling on the window sill, an ordinary wooden kitchen spatula might not provide the sort of firepower capable of convincing a marauding leopard that he’d committed a serious logistical mistake by choosing me as his prey. How much pleading on my part would be necessary to dissuade a two-hundred-pound growling, biting, flesh-rending killing machine with razor-sharp claws and jaws capable of crushing the skull of a deer fawn, even if I am slamming his head with the business end of a wooden spoon? I suppose that if all else fails I might try to smother him with my cup. I know that would work if I were that jaguar… but Bubba doesn’t play that game, that’s just nasty. Ain’t no part of a cup getting anywhere close to my face. Just the stank alone would be enough to make me run off into the woods.

Okay, so let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that I'm not dead now. Maybe the jaguar had a change of heart and decided that the cup had already skunked his prey and I wasn't fit to eat. I mean, even jungle cats won't eat just anything, will they? His cousin who lives with me is pretty picky about what she eats, so there's a possibility that I'm still sucking oxygen... I'm just sayin'...

Honestly, I’m really starting to think that the author of my Outdoor Survival Guide might be full of crap. I should have known better, though… it’s really all my fault. With a name like Betty Crocker, how good a survivalist could she be? Possum flambé, indeed…

I am not a pearl hunter of any repute whatsoever, a fact whose sudden realization troubles me greatly. Vines, lianas of all types, certainly… recognition of their presence would not have seemed out of place at all. I can locate them at any time by merely extending my arms and they project a thousand years in any direction; the soulless appurtenances are omnipresent. So if I had envisioned a crudely fashioned ladder climbing intrepid to the forest canopy, I’d have merely shrugged and started climbing. Nevertheless, the vision of all manner of shells appeared before me; pukas, cowries, conch, abalone, spirals, starfish, you name it… piled alongside a strange flattop wooden stump decorated with the carvings of strange and elegant glyphs, some form of quasi-Byzantine or perhaps Maori tribute, no doubt. It is at times like this that I wish I had not dropped Cultural Anthropology 217 in college… Dumbfounded is a state of being that visits me more often than I’m comfortable admitting, so I shall refrain from emphasis upon the condition’s presence except to modestly and circumspectly (did I include casually?) mention it. I could see no path leading in any direction, no wood shavings to identify a carver’s influence or any other indication of a human presence. Yet there they were—graphic representations of intelligent origin, apparently created by carbon based beings of corporal substance.

I sat down upon the glyph-stump, hoping I wasn’t committing some undefined sacrilege against the spirits of the forest, and paused to take stock. Yes, I was lost; yes, I couldn’t be sure of east from west, inside from out… but now I knew I was not alone.

(Editor’s note** The author has concluded the ‘story’ at this point, citing his desire to do a bit more research on ‘glyph-stumps’, but he promises to re-visit the tale at the appropriate time, sending along his sincere apologies to anyone foolish enough to read this far in search of something making sense.)

8 comments:

kaylee said...

LOL !!!
Way to go.
Happy is the travel
who has a cup.....
you rock my world.

Julie said...

This is awesome, as always, Bob. You're an excellent writer!

I'm having a lot of fun this weekend reading your autobiography and stories. Thank you again!

Jo Janoski said...

I dunno. Surely the cup must be a deadly weapon...I must go and ponder your cup...being careful not to get too close, of course...

Anonymous said...

1. jo, you are a very brave soul.

2. after looking up "glyph" in my Funkin' Wagnalls, and if your research turns up anything even remotely similar, I venture to say, given the superior skill within your pen (or fingers as it were), that this glyph-stump cup story has a magnificent future...

R.L. Bourges said...

oh good. Jo is pondering the cup, so I can concentrate on This Info Just In from a carbon based non-corporeal being:

he/she/it suggests you look into heroglyphs intead of hieroglyphs. In other words, your brave chimp mit a cup may be looking at the stumps of heros foolish enough to venture that far into the woods before him. just sayin'...

But as a good storyteller knows (therefore, I need not tell you), too far is not far enough. Venture forth, Bubba! We'll follow you (at a safe remove).

Good luck and send postcards y'hear?

Jo Janoski said...

Nan, I looked up 'glyph' too--what does that tell you about us?

Bubba said...

Kaylee-- Yea, I wouldn't dream of stepping out of the house without mine. Ha! ;)

Julie-- Ah, shucks, ma'am... just a little sumpin'-sumpin' I whipped up on short notice. Cheers!

Nan, Jo, and Lee-- Could it be I sense a 'glyph' fetish in the midst? If this is the case, I suggest we form a corporation immediately and start marketing the things! They could be the new tiger-elephant-whatever that every woman needs hundreds of for her collection!! Whaddya think?

paisley said...

apology accepted... on to part two....