I Believe in Bigfoot, But Does He Believe in Me? A Question That Doesn’t Really Need to be Answered

As may or may not be evident by the photo accompanying this post, I believe in Bigfoot. I won’t say that I believe completely in his existence; instead, I believe in the idea of Bigfoot and his plausibility as a living creature.

But is the reverse true for Bigfoot, if he exists? Does Bigfoot believe in me? As far as I’m aware, Bigfoot has never seen me. I’ve certainly never seen him. If he believes in the few representatives of Humankind he may have seen, he at least believes in me by proxy and this brings me some sort of comfort.

I like to think, though, that there are fringe Bigfoots (Bigfeet? Thank you Tolkien for your Proudfoots/Proudfeet exploration. It intrigues us still today.) out there that, being more adventurous than their contemporaries, have sought out the strange sounds blasting through the woods and laid eyes upon a Human or group of humans. Perhaps these “outsider” Sasquatches lope home and grunt excitedly to their families and peers about the small, hairless, bi-pedal Sasquatchoid creatures they have seen.

Perhaps Bigfoot, too, knows the sting of being thought crazy by the majority of his society.

Maybe there are even Bigfoot Human watching groups. Perhaps it is called something like the H.uman B.eing R.esearch O.rganization or the Bigfoot grunting/howling equivalent of that. Perhaps they try to imitate the sounds of shotgun blasts or are hard at work producing the fluorescent orange colors they’ve seen during deer season. Maybe there’s some enterprising young Bigfoot developing scents he associates with people. I don’t know what they would be. Something unique that we probably can’t smell since woodsmen and hunters generally avoid scented aftershaves and colognes and such while searching for creatures to eat or study. Perhaps to Bigfoot we smell as bad as I’ve heard Bigfoot smells to people. Skunk Ape indeed. How crude and completely uncalled for.

And what if, just what if, the responses people claim to hear when they are call blasting into the night aren’t actual Bigfoot responses at all. What if these recordings people play to attract Bigfoot are something else altogether and Bigfoot, hearing these strange sounds and sometimes then seeing people, thinks these are the noises people make and is simply regurgitating what he hears in an attempt to attract us?

What if somewhere there is a Bigfoot attempting to imitate human speech and some Bigfoot researcher or frightened camper will one day hear from back in the tree line a tentative and gravelly “Hello?”

Just some food for thought. Bigfoot, whether real, imagined, hoaxed or misidentified, is a veritable buffet of such mental edibles.

And maybe he even believes in, or doubts the existence of, us.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try to see both sides of all arguments. Some arguments, however, have two different sides from two or more distinct sub-groups. These 4 or more dimensional arguments are worth looking into from every angle.

A don’t…get caught up in the Bigfoots/Bigfeet plurality conundrum. It just isn’t really worth it. After all, rather than aruging semantics, you could be busy looking for a group of Big…well, you get where I’m going, I’m sure.

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Tome Travel

I’ve heard on multiple occasions from multiple sources that reading can be like time travel. I never thought that it was. I suppose it’s the closest we can get, but our own timeline advances as we read about previous times or exotic and maybe even fantastical locales. I suppose, even if we did actually travel in time, our own timeline would continue to advance even thought we could, in theory, return to the exact moment we left, I assume we’d return older than when we left.

Never mind.

This post isn’t about time travel.

I like to read. This likely isn’t a shocking revelation. I assume that most others who maintain blogs or read blogs also enjoy reading. I like every aspect of the act of reading. My tome travel begins with the discovery of the book on its shelf. When I pull it down, I commit the grievous sin of judging it by its cover. I think I do this in a very positive way, though. I’ve read many a book with a dull cover. I’ve read books with blank covers. I’ve even read books with no covers. The cover has no bearing on my deciding not to read it. Some covers have, on occasion, caused me to purchase books I have no intention of reading.  After I pass judgment on the cover I hold the book close to my face and flip the pages. As the scent of the ink and paper and perhaps the elements of the binding process become noticeable, I plunge my face into the volume, usually fairly close to the midway point, and breathe deeply. When this is done, I enjoy the weight of it in my hand as I look for other books. When I’m looking at a book in terms of its bookness only, size really matters. I especially enjoy paperbacks that are close to a thousand pages. If I’m picking a book to have for no reason other than that it’s a book and I want to have it (which I do often to the dismay of my wife, whose books are ever on the verge of being crowded out; my wallet, that could well have a perpetually lit neon “vacancy” sign sticking up out of it; and my overburdened bookshelves and the walls they’re attached to), it’ll be a monster. Then I drive home with the book on my lap or, if I’m not driving, I clasp it in both hands and stare at it.

With all that said, you may be wondering what on Earth I’m getting at. What does any of that have to do with tome travel?

Well, new books are strangers. Before I’ll surrender my mind to it and let it take me somewhere, I have to get to know it. Would you time travel with someone you barely knew? Likely not. You’d want to get acquainted a little first. Gathering all this information is necessary to insure an enjoyable excursion with an acquaintance, if not yet friend, rather than a blind foray with a stranger.

Once the book and I have shaken hands and I’ve had a chance to look over its opening pages (and run my fingers over the contours of any embossments that happen to be present on the cover) I can crack it open and go wherever its going to take me. I don’t think of it as time travel, though. It simply isn’t. No matter how involved I become with the story, I’m still in my house. I can hear the tv in the background and the kids playing. I can smell my dog as she walks by. I haven’t gone anywhere and I know it.

But last night I had a slight epiphany. As I was reading I suddenly became aware of my eyes reading the page and my brain interpreting the words and providing vague visuals as two distinct and separate phenomena. I have never been aware of the distinction before, but as I continued to read this way, I began to notice that what my brain produced for me to “view” and what was actually read by my eyes could be completely different things.  Specifically, the author described a character as an overweight male mowing the lawn in bathing trunks. I pictured him in a speedo. I didn’t even realize I’d done it until I went back and re-read the description wondering why this guy in my head had a speedo on. The author specifically said trunks. My brain showed me speedo.

Why?

No idea. I have no desire to see any man in a speedo, subconscious or otherwise.

I realize now that, yes books can be considered comparable to time travel. They can distract our minds with visions of other times and places and events. They can evoke emotions and cause distress to a degree. But no matter what the author has written or what he envisioned as he was writing, the reader’s interpretation will never be exactly in line with the author’s.

Books take us on journeys, but not necessarily the ones we are expected to take.

But reading isn’t time travel in any sense.

It’s tome travel.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…tome travel as much as you can. The author will have quite a say in where you go, but your own tome travels are unique to you. Open your eyes and enjoy the ride.

A don’t…forget to respect the fact that others want books too. Make sure to leave them at least a little space on the shelves.

Identical Breakfasts and Misplaced Plates; A Parable About Eating Good Food and Trusting Intuitions

A few weeks ago my wife and I took a trip to her hometown for a chili cook-off. We left early and met up with her friend for breakfast at the Boom-a-rang diner.

The Boom-a-rang is a hole-in-the-wall home-town home-owned kind of place and, being such a place, there seems to be much care put into the food, service and atmosphere. Like many diners, it is decorated in ’50’s nostalgia-esque style. This is a real style of style. I’ve seen ads about style. I know what I’m talking about. Once I saw a commercial that had a Kardashian in it. Trust me. It’s a style.

They had an Elvis statue and pictures of Marilyn Monroe and other such icons, but my favorite bit of décor was (were? I’m not sure on this one) the white coffee mugs with their logo on them. They don’t have a gift shop and if it wouldn’t have constituted theft, I’d have taken one.

Anyway, it was charming is what I’m getting at. My kind of place.

I and my wife and her friend all ordered the exact same thing. Eggs, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and sausage gravy. We even asked for our eggs to be cooked the same way. The waitress took off and soon returned with three identical plates of food. I being who I am stated to my wife in a monotonous voice “Look at that, she’s given me yours.” I then nonchalantly switched the plates.

My wife knows me too well to have been surprised at this. She, saying nothing, simply fixed a withering gaze upon me with pursed (read with the emphasis on the -ed) lips and narrowed eyes until I broke and switched the plates back.

We then proceeded to enjoy a rather tasty breakfast. The sausage gravy at the Boom-a-rang is some of the best I’ve ever tasted and it didn’t cramp up my stomach they way most sausage gravies do. The hash browns were nice and crispy as was the bacon.

When I got around to the eggs, I found a bit of shell hiding amongst the whites.

I knew it all along.

That waitress had given me my wife’s plate…

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the lesser known local spots sometimes. You might strike out, but you might also strike pay dirt as we did with Boom-a-rang.

A don’t…let someone give you a plate meant for someone else, no matter the opposition you may encounter. You could end up eating eggshells.

Disclaimer: The bit of shell was very small and if I hadn’t seen it I’d probably have eaten it without even knowing it. It was a simple mistake, easy to make, and it shouldn’t dim your view of the Boom-a-rang should you ever consider eating there.

Europe and the Sights You May Not Want to See or A Confused and Innocent American Abroad

It seems I look like a drug user. Now, before you get up in arms and accuse me of stereo-typing or profiling, consider the following facts:

  1. Substance abusers often tend to develop certain physical traits. These traits are generally the result of the havoc their substance of choice wreaks upon their bodies. These traits have nothing to do with the individual on a personal level and are therefore not stereo-typical of anyone of a certain race or background, rather of people with a proclivity toward certain substances.
  2. If you want to accuse anyone of profiling, accuse those who deal drugs on the dark street corners of Berlin and Amsterdam. They apparently assumed that I use drugs based only, I assume, on the facts that I am a white male and that I was passing through the dark street corners of Berlin and Amsterdam.

I can say this because I did not travel to Europe alone. I went with a Vietnamese friend and not once did anyone offer him drugs of any sort. I would say that perhaps these dealers assumed my friend spoke no language they would understand. This cannot be the case, however, because when a small man stepped out from behind a statue in Berlin he walked directly to me and said, in English and with no hint of question, “You want hashish.”

I asserted quite strongly that I certainly did not. He then, without ever addressing my friend, melted back into the shadows of Germany.

In Amsterdam a similar occurrence occurred. We passed a dark corner and from the shadows leapt, actually leapt, a small man. He, also without inflecting his voice to indicate a query, offered me illicit substances. This time it was cocaine. This time, he also used default English, though it sounded as if he barely spoke my language himself. Upon my decline he also faded back into the night, never addressing my friend.

It seems as if these discriminations are poor business practices for these guys because, based on a later incident at an Amsterdam coffee shop, my friend showed that he was in no way opposed to obtaining at least certain types of drugs. Perhaps he only wished to procure legal intoxicants and perhaps somehow these street dealers sensed that.

But how? And why didn’t they sense that I wanted no substances, legal or otherwise?And why did they always start with English? Unless they’d been following us and heard me speak, they’d have had no clue that I’m aware of that I speak English. What is it about me that identified me as an English speaking potential purchaser of illegal drugs? I wasn’t overweight at the time, although the Army with their nearly anorexic guidelines said differently, but I was by no means emaciated. I wasn’t covered in sores. I don’t have any involuntary twitches or any of the other tell tale signs of drug use I’ve come to recognize in the time I’ve worked at my current job.

So what was it?

No idea.

And apparently, whatever it was, it was pronounced enough that it wasn’t only drug dealers that recognized it. My friend and I, after landing in Frankfort, visited Berlin, London, Edinburgh, Wexford (a coastal town in Ireland with a very cozy B and B that had three or four beds to a room and a husband and wife that showed up at the door early every morning with a very satisfying breakfast and a newspaper), Paris and Barcelona. After Barcelona we sailed to some port in Italy and made our way to Rome where we were robbed by Gladiator impersonators who take your picture with your camera in various “I’m being killed by Gladiators” poses in front of the Coliseum, then demand an egregious amount of money for the honor of being photographed, on your own device, as they “kill” you.  After all this we took a train back to Munich to catch our flight home.

As we attempted to depart the train station three German police officers, one male, one female, one canine (a German Shepherd, of course), approached me. Me. Not my friend. The male officer asked, immediately in English although this time that was understandable because I had my touristy backpack on, “Where are you coming from?”

“Rome.”

“What is in your bag?”

“Clothes”, and reluctantly because I didn’t know the import/export/customs laws and had no desire to go to German jail, “A bottle of wine for a friend.”

“You have drugs in your bag.” Again, no hint of a question.

“No.”

“I will look in your bag.”

“Ok.” I said. I removed the pack from my back and held it out to him.

He sneered at me and then said, in what sounded like a Schwarzeneggeresque attempt to be intimidating (he was successful) “Get out of here.”

I gladly went. But so did they. They never once addressed my friend who had only barely remembered to rid himself of his remaining “legal” substance before we left Amsterdam.

I know you likely don’t know me, but there is nothing about me that I can see that indicates I have a desire to buy drugs or do drugs. Perhaps it’s simply a European thing. I’ve never been offered drugs on the dark streets of California or Seattle or even Las Vegas.

Who knows.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…visit Europe if you have the chance. There are many beautiful sights and sites to see. Stonehenge is especially impressive, as are Windsor castle and Notre Dame. Try the Donor Kebab. They are prolific and quite tasty.

A don’t…go unprepared. If you share whatever characteristic it is that identifies me, somehow, as an aspiring drug addled fiend, expect to be fending off small men at every shadow you pass. You could simply stay in at night, but where’s the fun in that?

Time Travel: The Perfect Vacation Idea if You Can Figure Out the Quantum Mechanics

I posted about time travel a while back. Ignoring the risk of time travel talk fatigue, I’m going to post about it again.

My initial time travel post dealt with the following scenario: You meet yourself from the future. Your future self is suicidal and has come back to kill yourself before yourself lives through whatever event causes your future self to want to kill yourself/himself/herself, pronoun dependent upon situation.

This post will deal with a different aspect of time travel.

I won’t discuss whether or not it’s possible. Nor shall I deign to theorize whether or not time is a flowing stream on which one can simply ride the current or attempt to paddle backwards against it. I won’t be pondering the idea of multiple universes so closely connected that one might somehow step from this one to another because this wouldn’t be time travel at all.

In other words, I won’t get into the science of it all. I am, after all, no severely physically handicapped brilliant physicist. I will make the quick statement, however, that I do believe the particular physicist I refer to, whose name I uselessly omit, has a few flaws in his/her logic. Don’t ask me to explain because we will all get bogged down in the ucky-mucky of science vs. religion vs. theory vs. layman logic vs. all sorts of other things.

Nobody wants this.

I will simply bring up a sentimental aspect, not of time travel itself, but of time travelers themselves and the people they meet.

The thought I had is very simple, but could withstand much philosophical discussion. Say you were to time travel (should the aforementioned physicist figure out how and I suspect if it can be done he will, if he hasn’t already) to the middle ages or some similar period when life’s basic staples are homegrown or handcrafted by people who have dedicated their lives to producing a single product or service. Let’s say that you, like me, are fascinated by illuminated manuscripts. You seek out a monastery and befriend a monk who is hard at work on a Bible.

The simple thought is this; you, as an outsider looking in, have no real concern for anything. If things get rough, all you have to do is find your way back to your machine, if machine is needed, and go home. The monk, on the other hand, is firmly entrenched in his life and his work and doesn’t have the option of simply disappearing if things start to take a sour turn.  If he commits some crime or angers some monarch, he has to deal with it in real world terms. You, on the other hand, can commit any crime you want. You return to the present day and, even if someone does remember what you did, the statue of limitations will most certainly have expired.

Criminal intent or not, time travel would be the most relaxing form of vacation ever taken. I’ve been many places and, no matter where I go, I still worry about back home stuff. Time at home is still passing. Responsibilities still press and time to complete certain obligations grows ever shorter. Not so with time travel. Decided to get away for a while in the middle of some important business meeting? No problem. Spend two weeks rescuing a damsel in distress or learning calligraphy from monks, relax, think, return to the meeting the moment you left, relaxed and happy and ready to work. You won’t burn any vacation time and the only loss you’ll experience will be that you’ve aged a couple of weeks.

Which brings to mind a topic for another day: Isn’t it weird, when considering time travel, that no matter to what time period you travel you carry your own personal time-line with you?  You continue to age although you can return to a point in your own time in which you would be the same age you were when you left except you aren’t. You’re older by however much time you spent in another time. Personal timelines. The only pain in the neck involved in an otherwise perfect form of recreation.

Well, that and the fact that, as far as we know, it can’t be done anyway.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…time travel whenever you can. Read a history book or something. A lot of interesting stuff has happened and since you can’t see it for yourself, why not at least read about it?

A don’t…commit crimes if you ever have the chance to physically travel in time. It was just as wrong then as it will be now.

Prescription Windshields; Exploring an Entertaining Idea for a Very Poor Business

It seems to me that perhaps prescription windshields could be a viable business idea. The positive aspects are many. Firstly, and quite obviously, for example, you won’t have to worry if you forget your glasses or lose a contact lens. Actually, you’ll probably want to remove any ocular assistance device before sitting down behind a prescription windshield. I haven’t studied the effects of being “redundantly-glassesed”, however I suspect the only effects would be ill effects. Secondly, your vehicle would be less likely to be stolen. If it was, and this is the fact that holds the distinction of being the third positive aspect of prescription windshields, recovering your vehicle should be fairly simple. If the thief doesn’t share the need for the exact same eyeglass prescription as you, they’ll either be stopped for suspected commission of the crime of DUI or they’ll develop a severe headache and crash into some ditch or tree in your immediate vicinity. Should the thief be equally ocularly under-developed, the police can simple scour optometrist records and contact everyone in your area that shares your corrective lens needs until they find they culprit.

The negative aspects of prescription windshields are also many. To break the monotony of paragraph style blog reading, I’ll present these factoids in bullet point fashion below:

  • Prescription windshields would be cost prohibitive.
  • Prescription windshields would also indicate the need for prescription mirrors and side windows incurring even more cost.
  • Any passenger in a prescription glassed vehicle would suffer greatly if they didn’t share the driver’s prescription eyeglass needs.
  • Probably no one else in your family would be able to drive your vehicle. This aspect could also be considered positive, dependent upon circumstances.
  • Those who require bi- or tri-focals would, in addition to incurring even further expense, be forced to operate their motor vehicle with their necks alternating between the natural straight up orientation and various absurdly odd orientations depending, of course, upon whether or not they are attempting to read road signs, check for oncoming traffic or simply drive down a well known road.

I recently discussed this idea with my co-workers and one of them pointed out a hard and fast reason why prescription windshields and side windows would be a wonderful thing. He suggested that car doors could be designed to be easily removed so that, in the event the driver forgot/lost/broke their much more plausibly designed portable prescription eyewear, he or she could simply remove their car door and carry it in front of them, peering at whatever requires their peering through their prescription side window.

I originally loved the prescription windshield idea because I found it comical in its base form. My co-worker’s addition of the hilarious visual of someone using a car door as glasses has become my new favorite reason for supporting the prescription car glass proposal.  Hats off to this man, who shall remain nameless unless he reads this and demands credit, who took my already funny (to me, anyway) idea and improved it in such a wonderful way.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…feel free to invest in this idea if you have extra money laying around that you never care to see again. This idea will go precisely nowhere, but I’m not opposed to accepting free money if someone is willing to offer it.

A don’t…forget that many a business plan has been laughed at before becoming a huge success. Keep it in mind. Just a thought.

Halloween and Trust; A Holiday We Love Incorporates a Virtue Society Needs

This Halloween I left my house at 6:30 to pick up my kids from their mom. As I drove through my neighborhood, I saw the first few early bird trick-or-treaters flitting quickly from house to house and it brought a tear to my eye. I didn’t understand exactly why until I got home with the kids and we began our own evening of candy hunting. As I watched the kids running from door to door, crossing the street on a whim, laughing and hollering about which house was next, staying just within the boundaries of what I thought to be a safe distance from me, I realized I had teared up earlier because Halloween is such a trusting holiday.

This may sound like a strange idea, but our Halloween actions truly denote a level of trust in our neighbors that I hope we never lose. We put our children in costumes and canvas neighborhoods, sometimes not even our own, in attempts to take candy from strangers in the strangers’ own territories. On any other day of the year, we’ve lost our minds! But that one night a year it is perfectly fine to throw all the rules out the window and trick-or-treat.

I worry a lot. I worry about things that most other people probably wouldn’t even consider.  When I first published my book I got back onto social media, which I had shunned for approximately two years, and I was sick to my stomach with worry that I’d somehow overly complicated my life. My wife is a saint in sinner’s clothing though, and she showed me the ridiculousness of my concerns when she stated, in a whiney sing-song voice, “Oh noooooo….I have a Faaaacebooook!” It really put the situation into perspective. The point I’m making here is that, despite my sometimes crippling worry and anxiety, I felt no concern as we walked in the middle of the street in the dark begging for treats from people we didn’t know. The few cars we saw drove so very slowly as they passed that a kid would’ve had to really try to get hit.

What about the candy?, some might ask. But in all my own trick-or-treating years and the 8 I’ve so far shared with my children, we’ve never suffered any illness other than nausea induced by over-indulgence. We’ve never found a razor blade in a caramel apple or rat poison in a candy bar. In fact, the only behavior approaching inappropriate I’ve witnessed has been on the part of my own children. Last year, the first year we handed out candy after our own trick-or-treating, my four year old son innocently enticed other children to enter our home. He is fast, reached the door before we could, and stood with his arm outstretched into the living room pleading, over and over, “Come in, guys! Come in! We have caaaaaandyyyyy!!!!” This year he and the girls stood at the door, with my wife and I close behind, and at the first hint of the sound of trick-or-treaters they bolted. Most of our visitors this year were met halfway down our driveway and had three children excitedly encouraging them to take candy from three different buckets. Most of the candy they handed out was candy my children themselves had just collected. If an adult were to act in these ways the police would surely soon be summoned. And the treats they offered would’ve lacked candy’s inherent sweetness.

In short, there are some creeps and weirdos out there who ruin Halloween for some, but they are few and far between.  And, despite the mild risk, we still dress up every year and go out with trusting hearts to bring joy to our neighbors and ourselves. I especially enjoy the smiles the elderly candy-givers display as they try to decipher my son’s over-excited babbling. Most times he is complimenting them. A few gems from this year: “I like your rocks!”, “We have that ghost!”, (in reference to an inflatable yard decoration) “You should get three ghosts!”, “Thank you for candy, you have nice pants, I like your dog!”. And a less polite offering from my picky seven year old daughter as she held aloft a bag of granola (that was delicious, by the way), and in a horrifically loud voice in close proximity to the house from which she’d received the granola, “That guy gave me food!!???!!”

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy Halloween for what it is. A display of neighborly trust that we desperately need in these times of danger and uncertainty.

A don’t…be too hard on your daughter if she’s mildly (very) rude. After all, kids have been trained by the very name of the act of trick-or-treating to expect things they consider treats. But adieu…gently advise them not to look a gift ghost in the black cavity that represents a mouth.