The older boy and I were driving back from Scranton a few days ago, on a busy four-lane stretch of road, when something fairly amazing happened. Amazing to me, anyway. A few folks I’ve told about it didn’t seem to be amazed in the least. You know, because they’re so worldly and have seen it all.
In any case, a giant bear emerged from the brush to our left, bounded across two lanes of traffic, leaped over the guardrail in the middle, and proceeded to cross the other two lanes — right in front of our car. In fact, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the thing. It was RIGHT THERE. And it was huge. This was no Boo Boo, it was full-on Yogi. There was a steep hill to our right, and the impossible beast went flying up there with the dexterity of a cat. It was crazy.
I’ve seen bears a few times, but none that large. If it stood on its hind legs it would surely be as tall, if not taller, than Bea Arthur. I mean, this was a big bear.
And when I tell people about it, many of them say things like, “Yeah, there are bears in the world, and other animals too.” What the? This was in town! I wasn’t hiking the Appalachian Trail, asshole. There was a liquor store about a block down the road. And it was like some creature you’d see on nature shows, pulling salmon from a river in Alaska. But everybody’s soooo worldly.
What improbable animals have you seen while driving? Anything? Please share in the comments.
We also talked to a travel agent this past weekend. We’re considering — and it probably won’t happen — a trip to an all-inclusive resort. Maybe in Mexico, or the Dominican Republic. Our 25th wedding anniversary is next year, and we want to do something we haven’t done before. The thought of a cruise sounds unappealing to me, although I’d be willing to do it once for the experience. But I do like the idea of staying at some ocean-front five-star resort where there’s endless food and drink. That’s right up my alley.
So, we went to an office and sat across from a travel expert. She was nice, and seemed to know her stuff. We told her our expectations, and she convinced us the Dominican Republic is the way to go. She gave us four or five different options, and broke down the pricing of each resort, including airfare. It’s not as expensive as I thought, but also not cheap. However, you can make monthly payments, etc. We’ll see how it goes. We’re still kicking around the idea, and will almost certainly not do it.
Anyway, she made a comment that I thought I’d pass along. Seeing as how it amused and confused me. And maybe you guys can enlighten us on what she was getting at? ‘Cause I still don’t really know.
She was telling us about one of the resorts — and it seemed like she’d stayed at all of them many times — and said she needed to be clear about something, so we didn’t get blindsided. She had our attention, and proceeded to inform us that the place is generally “full of Canadians.” Huh? What is the relevance? I don’t really have any negative connotations of Canadians, except maybe the ones who speak French. But even with them… it’s not a fully-formed bias. Yet.
What should we take away from that comment? I can see a travel agent in Canada maybe warning someone about all the loud and rotund Americans they’re likely to encounter. But the other way around? Help me out, won’t you? It seemed bizarre to me. Blindsided by Canadians? It’s weird. I did enjoy the slightly inappropriate nature of the comment, however. I’m a connoisseur of the inappropriate.
Finally, Toney was telling me about a friend whose teenage son is demanding that everybody now call him Alec. That’s not his name, not even close. But it’s what he wants to be called now. It reminded me of Walter White Jr. on Breaking Bad, who announced he wanted to be known as Flynn.
Would you go along with something like that? I’d have a hard time with it, because I think it’s stupid. And I’d feel like I was endorsing dumbassery. What are your thoughts?
Also, have you ever known anyone who attempted to change the name everybody called him or her? Did it take? I went to school with a girl who went through three different versions of her name: her actual first name, a different pronunciation of it, and a shortened rendering of the original. But she didn’t go completely rogue, and demand that everybody start calling her Barbara or Denise or something.
Please share any stories you might have of people attempting to artificially change their names, or coming up with their own nicknames, etc.
And I need to go now. It’s late again. Why is it always late again, except when I’m at work? It’s always early again there. Wotta rip-off.
I’ll see you guys again on Monday.
Have a great weekend!
Now playing in the bunker
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I know someone who hated their family so much they changed their first and last name. I saw a bear do the same thing once. It was somewhere on the PA/NJ border.
I had no idea bears had last names.
And, in any case, I believe that was Chris Christie. In both cases.
LOL (Laugh Out Loud)
And here I thought you meant Lollygagging On Line Thank you for clarifying.
Basket O' Deplorables says
Wasn’t Hillary out in the woods recently?
IIRC Chris Christie covers picnic baskets over the tri-state area. He didn’t furlough all those state park rangers for no reason.
An all-inclusive is the most relaxing vacation you can take. Nowhere in particular to be, not trying to budget everything out while you’re there.
I can’t see the point of going to an all-inclusive if you’re a teetotaler, paying for something you won’t utilize. Excellent beaches and ocean in the DR. I know some who stayed at a DR all-inclusive and they said the food was terrible. I’d rather go on a Celebrity cruise with free drinks – unlimited good food and drink.
I’ll bet spending a week with everybody ending their sentences with ‘eh, can wear on you.
When I was 10 I tried to get everyone to call me Jake instead of John. Jake sounded like a bad-ass compared to John. Nobody took Jake seriously.
Beloved and I went to Sandals/Royal Bahamian many years ago and it was probably the best vacation we ever took. All inclusive was perfect for us, the place was beautiful and the people were fantastic.
I had a coyote shoot across the road in front of me. And once in a blue moon traffic comes to a screeching halt as a snapping turtle decides to wander around near the reservoirs. Usually at rush hour.
The teenager who wants to be known as Alec needs a good hop in the hole. That’s not a young child that wants to be indulged in a make believe kind of way. He sounds more like a little asshole and they need to put the kebosh on it big time.
Now, if he wanted to be called Alice, well that’s different. I’d say go for it.
I was driving home late one night on a pretty deserted road and as I went around a curve a HUGE bird swooped down right towards my windshield. The wings must have been 3 or 4 feet wide.
I have no idea why this went through my mind, but my first thought was, BAT!
Maybe it was all the Hunter Thompson I had been reading.
After I got home and calmed down, I’m pretty sure it was just an owl.
This reminds me of that snippet from a police blotter where someone called the police to report a large black bird with a wingspan 4-5 feet wide in their backyard. All day it would fly up and then settle down. An officer was dispatched and it turned out to be a barbecue grill cover. But grill cover or actual bird, that’s a pretty terrifying size…!
Goin’ home late last night,
Suddenly I got a fright
Yeah, I looked through a window and surprise what I saw
Fairy boots are dancin’ with a dwarf
All right now
Lee Harvey Ramone says
I recall a young lady in college that changed her name from whatever her plain-Jane name was (Lisa, Jenny, cannot even recall now) to ‘Zalia’ which everyone assumed to be short for Azalia. Another cohort of ours joked that this inspired her to change her name to ‘Fodil’ (short for Daffodil), which still makes me chuckle some 30 years later.
I knew a girl that went from Melissa to Noel and a guy that got into a fight in 8th grade so his parents built a new house in a different school zone so he could change schools to get away from the bully that punched him (yes, really) and he went from David to Dave and took up wrestling.
I wonder if “Canadians” was code. I recall a lawsuit involving a restaurant where they referred to a certain race (or was it ethnicity?) as Canadians.
Lew in Bama says
I’ve heard this as well….
Ferd Berfle says
I have heard acquaintances use the term “Canadian” as code for a certain race also. That way they can speak their racist crap out loud and most people around won’t know what they are talking about. It amazes me how much racism there actually is in this country.
If that travel agent was actually using that term as a ‘code’ for that, I’d say don’t book anything through her, ever!
You’re amazed? A couple of days ago a guy casually described some decor as niggery to me, like that’s a perfectly good adjective to use in 2017.
250 years of slavery, 150 years of Jim Crow, and the current Attorney General was denied a position as a federal judge because he had said that Civil Rights had “been shoved down the throats of people”, and accused a white Civil Rights attorney of being “a disgrace to his race” for representing African Americans.
I’m with the Canadians on this one.
Also known as Nordic Separatists, and if I were you, Jeff I’d take any such information seriously. Bleeding heart flaming apologists for their behavior notwithstanding, those Canadian Nordic Separatists in large groups have consistently shown themselves to be extremely belligerent toward any non-members of their particular group. And if that hurts anyone delicate feelings, feel free to collect your play-doh and teddy bear and head for the nearest “safe space”. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Wisey in Ttown says
Racism will always be around because it goes hand and hand with ignorance and we have some stupid MF around here and always will. I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about it and I don’t like people preaching to me about it. We all have obstacles to overcome in this life and I bet we can all find some excuse to fail if we try hard enough. Rise above ignorance and work hard and you will be better off for it.
Didja know there’s a Racial Slur Database?? Me neither, but Google did. And it confirmed the Canadian slur: http://www.rsdb.org/slur/canadian
Well that gives a new perspective on Canadian bacon.
Wisey in Ttown says
Well, I just about choked and died on that one. Good one Limey, you racist bastard. JK
Well damn, now I know why the tone of peoples conversation change when I tell them I am Canadian… Stupid fuckers, of all the cockamamie names to use as a racial slur…
As for Alec, that kid needs a swift kick in the ass with a frozen boot. I hate when people call me Alec. Its AleX. damnit.
I knew a girl in high school who thought she’d try and climb the nationality ladder and insist people use the french pronunciation of her last name. Her parents used the common english version. And she, being named Susan on her birth certificate, insisted she be called Suzanne. So, french for the last, and cold hard english for the first name.. Alrighty then Susan…
I have never seen a bear. Yet. We do have the occasional one that makes its way into the city along the river, but I havn’t seen one yet.
Deer a plenty.
Seen wolves a couple times.
Wild turkeys really like being on the roadway.
See a turtle once a year usually.
Not Oprah says
Maybe the issue at the resort is us CDN folks going around kicking unsuspecting fellow
vacationers in the a$$ with frozen boots. I haven’t tried this myself but certainly sounds entertaining.
Um, Alex, you don’t tap dance do you? I’m just trying to understand the confusion, eh.
Well you see, yesterday I was… Oh Look, over there! Is that a bear???
(sidesteps over to another website quickly)
Living in Florida I get to see all sorts of critters near the road (and also sometimes smooshed on the road). But one time I was driving on a two-lane back road on my way home one late afternoon. This road’s got some residential areas throughout but a good majority of it is undeveloped woods. There’s a pedestrian trail going along one side of this road next to the woods, and as I was driving along I could see up ahead what looked to be a large white dog standing at the edge of the trail, wagging its tail furiously. I slowed down a bit in case it wanted to run out in front of my car, and as I passed by I saw that it was not in fact a dog but an enormous white pig just standing there with its mouth open in kind of a smile, and tail still wagging away. It was one of those “WTF” moments for sure. About 50 feet further down the road a kid on a bike was coming up the opposite way, and I chuckled to myself thinking how bad he was gonna shit his pants when he came upon that pig.
Maybe it was his pig, and he was out on his bike going to lead it home.
We went to one of the Sandal’s All Inclusive resorts on St. Lucia for our 25th. High end, excellent restaurants and booze everywhere. My favorite was the swim up bar…no need to get out of the pool. It was the top spot for the seriously thirsty. The beaches were crawling with locals selling weed and sea shell trinkets but I never knew Canadians were about…plenty of Dutch and UK couples though, …very friendly and hardy resort participants. All of the resort’s guests were either getting maried, on their honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary. Key words: adults only…no kids to be seen. Pricey but an excellent time and excellent memories.
Alek,…this is Dad. Either stick with the name we gave you or get a checkup ftom the neck up.
Lew in Bama says
Swim up bars gross me out… people just sit there all day in their own chlorinated piss chugging fruity frozen drinks made with the cheapest rot-gut liquor they can get in bulk.
Wisey in Ttown says
Damn, that sounds awesome…
A roadrunner ran alongside my car for quite a distance, which I thought was pretty awesome. It was near Tombstone, AZ.
Went to a NASCAR race in Brooklyn, MI in the early 2000’s, and the Michiganders we associated with hated Canadians. “Always hanging around, mooching your liquor…” WTF? And when we were leaving the grounds on Sunday, Canadian family trying to leave in their RV were being accosted (yelled at, bird flipping, etc., etc.) by the locals. Weird, man. First time (and only time) I’ve ever experienced that.
Whatever you do, do NOT go on a cruise. I barely made it off mine without throwing myself overboard in misery. (https://hannahsphere.blogspot.com/2016/04/my-hateful-vacation-diary-or-why-i-will.html) Then again, I had to spend a week away from my sweetie which alone was unbearable and you’ll be with yours so maybe your experience will be much nicer. But I’ll never try it again to find out.
So strange about the “Canadian” warning. WTF?
Dying laughing at the whole bear story: “This was in town! I wasn’t hiking the Appalachian Trail, asshole.” LOL.
Stay the fk out of Cancun and Cozumel, apparently:
A high school acquaintance decided (at age 14 or 15) that she was no longer Karen, but Linda. She had it legally changed, and would berate those that called her by the wrong name.
I live in the middle of nowhere, and often see animals wandering around the neighborhood. It’s usually goats, but piglets have tried to follow us home. We once had two large horses in our ‘hood. They stood in our neighbor’s front yard and wouldn’t let her leave the house. I would have loved to see the look on her boss’s face when she explained why she was late for work. (The police had to be called, because animal rescue NEVER shows up when we call.)
My FAVORITE animal encounter involved driving down a country road (2 miles from home). A large buzzard was attempting to take flight, but didn’t get high enough before my van crossed his path. He proceeded to TRIP OVER MY HOOD, then flew/crashed into the woods on the other side of the road. I almost crashed the car while LAUGHING.
Joe T. says
Knew a guy who’s name was Francis. He went on a summer trip to Africa. When he came back, he wanted to be called Kip.
Lighten up Francis…..
Root 66 says
I LOVE that scene! We still use that line regularly. The younger ones probably have no idea…
Joe T. says
Touch me, and I’ll kill you…
late at night in a desert dust storm outside Victorville,ca. two highway patrolmen wrestling a ostrich.
Nice writing. Somewhere between a caption for an imagined photo and a short story, juiced with consonance and assonance. Sort of an acid haiku. Thanks.
Hubsters early morning jog somewhere in southern NJ. Emu pops out of the woods and joins him for a mile. Nope not as good as Randal but I tried.
Stuart in Oz says
Plenty of Kangaroos here in Oz and lots of Wombats – either of those will wreck your car!!
Root 66 says
Not really too wild of an animal, but for some reason Canadian geese love to parade their goslings across busy 4-lane roads with not a care in the world. Traffic totally stops for them. I get right in front of them and start honking, however, they honk right back and don’t move any faster! They used to be endangered, but I think we can take them off the list now–at least in Ohio! Those suckers are everywhere.
And as far as “Alec” is concerned, as a parent I would just refer to him as “the child formerly known as ___.” I wouldn’t tolerate such ridiculous nonsense. I gave you that name for a reason, get over it! For the most part NOBODY likes their given name. It’s like a rule or something…some kids are just pretentious little precious snowflakes! Sheesh!
Some people where I work have gone to those “all-inclusives” before and their only caveat has been to “never leave the complex–for any reason!” Evidently, it’s rough outside the compound?!? I wouldn’t know because I’m one of those hillbillies who has never strayed far from his holler!
My two favorite animals-on-the-road encounters: three peacocks out for an early morning stroll; a great heron standing in the middle of my lane on a downhill curve – those things take forever to become airborne.
Riviera Maya in Mexico, outside of Playa Del Carmen, is the shizz. Best reasonable 5 star hotels ever. Best service and hospitality. I picked it over the DR, but you do what you want. Lots of Canadians there, too.
Son of Sam says
Been to the Dominican a couple times. We loved it both times. Deep sea fishing was a blast. One of the locals hooked me up with the trip. We went to this awesome village that full of ultra high end condos and the place was completely empty. My buddy said man this is like the twilight zone. Huge yachts and other big dollar fishing boats everywhere. Everything but people. Place gave me the creeps. Resorts kiss your ass the whole time and the water is great.
One time I came home from work and one of the neighborhood cats was sitting on my fence with its butt facing me. I gave it a pet and said “hi, kitty.” It turned around and said “excuse me, but I’m actually a possum.”
And I have a Japanese-American friend whose given name is Atsuya. We always called him Ats, pronounced Ott’s. At some point as an adult, he decided he wanted to be called Alexander or Alex. I’m having difficulty with that.
We were on a ski lift in Canada last winter and the two other people (Canadians) on the lift asked where we were from. We told them we were from the US and they remarked there were too many of us up there. One said they were going to build a wall to keep us out but the other one said no, they were green so they were going to build a hedge (and make us pay for it). I love Canadians…
Wisey in Ttown says
Check out Belize. Ambergris Caye specifically. The people are wonderful, they all speak English and it’s pretty cheap down there. The Belizean dollar is exactly 1/2 a US dollar and they all take greenbacks so you don’t even have to exchange money. They will give you back change in BZE money though. The food is good and the Belikin beer is cold. There is a lot to do and it’s pretty safe. I have been all over San Pedro both day and night and have never felt threatened.
I was on Ambergris Caye back in 1985 and I’m happy to hear that it is still a nice place. I think there were only 2 hotels back then and the landing strip was that gravely pavement. Do they serve the Belikin beer in its own Belikin glass? I still have the set I “got” on my trip.
Wisey in Ttown says
The landing strip isn’t much better but the terminal is. 9 times out of 10 you get Belikin served in the bottle. An annoying fact is that Belikin recycles bottles so they are heavy. You always think you have a little more beer in bottle but sadly you don’t. Belize has some nice tax incentives to lure US retirees so we see quite a few Americans there. Actually Canada now offers non stop flights into Belize City so they are heading that way as well. Good folks.
Jesus help me. At this point, when commenters reference Canadians, I can’t discern whether they’re talking about Canadians or Canadians. As of yesterday, I was blissfully unaware there was a difference.
I believe I need a little mojo . . .
Not Oprah says
Me also. My Dad & Grandparents are European immigrants that moved to Canada. I didn’t know this was also a racial slur. Ignorant people try to paint everyone with the same brush. There are obnoxious people everywhere in the world. Look at our “Leader’s”
Travel is such a personal thing…. I adventure – just because this is what I like- the world is an amazing place. Maybe I can afford more than the luxuries that I allow myself – but that’s not experiencing life didn’t do it when I was younger because I have traditional immigrant parents who worry constantly…
Had 2 deer swim up on the beach in front of the house the other day. I figure they came from one of the nearby Boston harbor islands. Still a hell of a trip.
Name changing: Worked with a woman who when she married her second husband and blending families they agreed to both change their names to a new unrelated name so all of their kids had last names that were not the same as their parents. They were from California and when they divorced he took community property so seriously that he took the mattress and left her the box spring and 1/2 the bed frame. My hubby worked with a guy back in the 80s who was frustrated with his ability to get promoted so he changed his name to Blue Sky Clear Water and began to identify as ‘Native American’ and he got hired at a new company at a much higher position and salary.
Bears- Living in SE PA I don’t see a lot of them. But back on 03 I was driving to CT from Philly via the back roads and saw a dead bear on the side of the road. I was shocked and a little confused, what could kill a bear, what did the vehicle look like afterward? I am accustomed to deer, fox, possums, ground hogs, turtles, house pets and birds. Driving in South Jersey in the winter I had a heron or an egret fly right across my windshield.
Which brings me to Canadians – Wildwood New Jersey was once a haven for Canadians. I think they advertised heavily there. I went to college with a guy from Watertown, NY and he heard them speak of Wildwood like it was the French Riveria. My frequent visits there made me seem exotic. Until I explained that it was a terrible tourist trap filled with tacky hotels and stores selling overpriced tchatchke. There was some reason that I can’t recall that people didn’t like the ‘Canucks’. One was the speedos, on the men. When I traveled to Europe I learned the Germans have the same sort of reputation. They brought their own food to France which was considered a massive insult.
Not Oprah says
Yes – all Canadian men wear speedos….
Not Oprah says
Good look with snowshoes.
The Germans also brought their own food to Poland and the Low Countries. BOTH types of Canadians helped escort them back to Germany (see also, Juno Beach, the Tuskegee Airmen, the 761st Tank Battalion, etc.). I am unaware of the use of speedos during the conflict, but Canadians in general served with distinction.
. . . and the story of Blue Sky Clear Water doesn’t precisely explain why the unemployment rate for Native Americans has been consistently double that of white folks for as long as unemployment stats have been collected. I hear these stories about faking minority identity and getting a great job, but, almost always, when you get close to the actual facts, they disappear like a fist when you open your hand. Not saying it’s never happened — only saying white folks in business do statistically better in hiring, compensation, and promotion.
Blue Sky Clear Water ought not be confused with Sky Low Low, three-time World Midget Wrestling Champion, who I saw wrestle in Seattle in the 1960s. Sky and Little Beaver once wrestled in front of Queen Elizabeth and King Farouk, although neither monarch actually participated in the action.
Sky was Canadian, by which I mean he was born in Montreal, and, along with many of his fellow countrymen and bros, helped escort the Germans back to Deutschland. His specialty was riveting inside the tail section of bombers where full size riveters couldn’t easily fit.
I have no idea how Little Beaver got his name.
In high school this kid named Daniel , who was about 4′ 9″ , showed up one day and wanted everyone to call him Stubbs. It didn’t stick , but I thought the idea of a self imposed nickname was pretty stupid. I have an aunt who’s birth name was Chris. She always thought her parents wanted a boy and resented them for giving her that name. So when she got older she changed her name to Jo.
Yeah, you don’t get to choose your own nickname. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. And as for Aunt Jo, yes, I understand why she would go with something less androgynous than Chris. Wait…
Not Oprah says
I’ll always remember androgynous Pat from SNL – I’ve met a people like that.
I know a gal whose daughter changed her name. She was given the feminine version of her father’s name. He smacked her in the back of her head with a board that had a long nail that ended up embedded in her brain. She changed her name a couple years later. She was a bit slow after the nail was pried out.
Stuart in Oz says
It’s not about the Nail Suz!
Daughter is back from a trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Everyone she talked with wanted to know what was up with US politics. My kid actually understands the electoral process and explained the electoral college. It left them scratching their heads. And yes, they thought we all wanted this joker.
Be careful of picking your own nickname. George Castanza liked “T-bone” but his boss and colleagues preferred “Koko”. Another Seinfeld moment…
Joey Jo Jo says
“Canadians” absolutely means “Black people.” It is 100% code in the restaurant business.