Damn Beavers

Good morning!

I said good morning!

Much better. Welcome to the Introduction to Northern Michigan’s Aquatic Mammals. I’m Ranger Steve and I’ll be leading you through this marvelous journey today. First a few rules. No matter how cute, cuddly, and friendly the wildlife may appear, we are not to pet or touch them in anyway. That’s their protection as much as yours. To be honest, as a duly licensed and recognized forest ranger, it’s for their protection. If you want someone to care about your safety find a police officer. I’m trained to protect the wildlife.

The next rule is do not feed the wildlife. It’s alright that you may have brought your granola bars, fruit by the foot, and go-gurt. But that’s human food and only disrupts the delicate diets of our woodland friends. To be honest, that isn’t really very good for you humans either. You’re just buying into the marketing hype.

That done, let’s walk down this way and you’ll see a genuine beaver dam. Beavers will cut down trees and stack them to flood a stream and make a calm shallow pond. A common misconception is that beavers live in the dams. The reality is they live in lodges. Though I must admit that I think they just sort of spend the day in the lodges. I think that the North American Beaver is much more sophisticated than we give them credit for. They spend their days in the lodges and at night, (whispering) they sneak into the unoccupied cabins and hotel rooms here in the park and live the life of luxury.

What’s that? You scoff at the accommodations of our national park? Well let me begin by pointing out that this is a National Park. Not skyscraper on Sax Fifth Avenue. You’re lucky the accommodations aren’t a canvas tarp and a bed of pine needles. I can’t believe that you have the audacity to criticize the luxurious accommodations that Ranger Pete, Ranger Mary, and myself provide for you here. Our wilderness retreat lodge (note the word lodge in that naming convention) is recognized in travel journals world wide. But I digress. Forgive me, I’ve let my pride get in the way of my educational duties. (big sigh.)

Regardless of they young lady’s opinion of our accommodations, I’d like to point out that she didn’t laugh, scoff, or guffaw at the notion that the beavers spend their nights in the unoccupied rooms. She knows. Yes deep in that urbanized brain of hers; rooted in the DNA of her more primitive ancestors, she knows that the North American Beaver is a creature of comfort. It longs and pines for spending its nights in a memory foam bed. A down comforter wrapped about it’s flat tail to keep it warm. (aside) It’s a little known fact that beavers lose 80% of their body heat through their tails. (end aside). They brush their teeth with the designer tooth paste each of our rooms is stocked with every morning.

Why do we permit them? I’m not certain I follow.

Oh! Why do we allow them to stay in the rooms. Well first off none of you citified humans are there, so we might as well allow it. Secondly, you know the raw wood, knotty pine beds and furniture that sells for hundreds of dollars at the local flea and antique markets? Those aren’t crafted by little children in a Chinese sweat shop. Heavens no. The beavers make them while enjoying our otherwise unoccupied suites. If we didn’t sell them not only would the rooms have so much furniture you couldn’t move around, we’d have to triple our nightly rates. Your low nightly lodging (there’s that word again) rate is subsidized by the North American Beaver’s love to hand craft, nay, mouth craft, quality and ascetic rustic knotty pine furniture.

Good heavens. Look it there. If you will all look off to your left, you will see a red tailed hawk feasting on a rabbit that it has marinated in wild onion and prairie sage reduction. It is the master chef of our wilderness preserve.

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New Fangled Forms of Diving

Character Quirks

  1. Pops Tongue at End of Points
  2. Continually Looking Over Shoulder
  3. Creepy Winks
  4. Points Fingers Like a Gun to Make a Point
  5. Says “Huh” at the End of Most Sentences
  6. Uncomfortably Holds Eye Contact
  7. Never Uses Contractions
  8. Noisily Chews Gum
  9. Mixes Metaphors
  10. Lots of Use of the Word Literally

Unusual Locations

  1. The top of a High Dive Platform
  2. The Bridge of a Warship
  3. A Sewer
  4. A Power-line Truck Basket
  5. A Cave
  6. A Morgue
  7. The Vatican Record Room
  8. Break Room at Cedar Point
  9. A Church Choir Loft
  10. An Observatory

So there are these two guys atop a dive platform. Vince, the guy at the edge stands there noisily chewing his gum. Wordlessly staring into the pool several meters below. The other guy is his coach, Lou. Lou is an older man. He practices a lot of tough love.

So Vince, are you ready to do it? Ready to win the gold? I can’t do it for you. The only thing that scores points is you jumping off this platform; twisting and flipping a few times before you hit the water, and then slipping into the water without making any ripples.

Without making any ripples Lou? That’s kind of like the story of my life. Don’t make any ripples in school. Don’t make any ripples at work. Don’t make any ripples in the water. Why Lou? Why? I want to make ripples. I want to the the king of ripples. I’m gonna show those judges that it’s out with the old and in with the new. No flips, no twisting, no smooth entry. I’m gonna just jump right off this mother fucking platform and yell cannonball! as loud as I can and make as big of a splash as I can.

You sure Vince? That’s a gutsy move. These judges are all old fuddy duddies. They’ll never give you over an 8 for that kind of dive. Even if it’s a perfect cannonball. Remember when Pat Latoya did a belly flop 4 years ago as a statement? They only gave him a 6.

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Funny Ways to Hurt Yourself

  1. How you hurt yourself.
    Why it’s funny.
  2. Broke your ankle playing Dance Dance Revolution
    You are 24 and at Dave and Buster’s for a friend’s birthday party. You’re the designated driver and very sober. Oh and you began competitive dancing and training when you were 6 years old. That’s right you broke your ankle playing DDR.
  3. Hand laceration requiring stitches from a toothbrush.
    You were going backpacking and wanted everything to be as light as possible. Your brilliant idea was to break the handle off of your toothbrush to save like 4 ounces. Unfortunately, the handle doesn’t cleanly break. Instead it splinters and makes a shiv that would be suitable for establishing dominance should you be sent to prison. It slices through your palm like a light saber through an arm at the local cantina.
  4. You break shatter your elbow sort of playing softball.
    What’s so funny about a broken bone while playing sports. Nothing, unless you weren’t actually playing. Instead you were warming up so you wouldn’t get hurt playing.
  5. Suffering repeated jostling in a vehicle after breaking your elbow
    You drove you and your brother to the softball game where you broke your elbow. You need to be driven to the emergency room, but your car has a standard transmission and your brother has never driven a stick. Every time he start from a complete stop, the car shakes like a mechanical bull from Urban Cowboy.
  6. You pull a muscle in your neck.
    You pulled the muscle because you were wearing a hard hat to protect your head from bumps against the bottom of an isolated steel floor you were working under. Unfortunately the hard hat makes you 3.5 inches taller and you keep bumping the hard hat on the floor. This makes you snap your head forward as an autonomic response and you effectively give yourself whiplash.
  7. You trip over your own two feet and fall really hard on both knee caps.
    You do this while performing a Harold on stage. A Harold is an improvised performance, so no one really knows what is supposed to be happening. Unfortunately your fall looks like it could part of you advancing the story and it takes a minute for people to realize that you aren’t acting and indeed are in excruciating pain.
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Master of the Corks

Good evening. I’m Sonji Artemis. It’s an odd day when I can get away from my work to attend something like this. See the prime dinner hours are when I usually have to work. That right, almost every night from 4:30-9:00 I’m at the restaurant selecting the perfect wine for the finest meals in all of Yellow Knife.

Born and raised in Yellow Knife. I didn’t even leave for my sommelier training.

Who trained me? Here in Yellow Knife? No one of course. That’s what makes me so special as a sommelier. I’m self trained. I like to think of it as a gift from god, but a lot of the young kids call it a mutant super power. It all started when I was about 7. I had this bad habit of laving half finished juice boxes in weird locations. under my bed; way in the back of the sock drawer; the small storm drain by the school bus stop.

No. I don’t know why I did it. My therapist, that’s Tom Coogle – the guy at the hardware store with the big ears, tells me I do know but I am withholding my feelings by not stating why I do it. But then again, he’s a self trained therapist. His real skills are in cutting keys and sorting nuts and bolts.

Yes. I know I’m self trained too. It’s different for a therapist and a sommelier. Selecting the perfect wine for an occasion is an art, by therapy is a science. I mean if Ted and Gina are having marital troubles you can’t just suggest that they try baking cookies together to save their marriage. You’ve got to give Ted and Gina something concrete. Otherwise they are going to divorce and take up two of the limited number of homes here in good ol’ Yellow Knife instead of one. If I could only get them to come into the diner.

Isn’t it obvious? I’d select the perfect wine for them. Them. THEM. Wines are a bit magical in that regard. They heal. They unite. They make us all realize that we are better off as a people drinking wines together. Beer, our national beverage, is the polar opposite.

No. Polar wasn’t used as a joke. At least intentionally. Getting back to beer. You show me a depressed tar sands pipe fitter and I’ll show you a metric ton of Labatt’s Blue empties under his bed. Beer drives people apart. Wine brings them together. Yes that’s what I need to do. I’m going to find the perfect wine to get Ted and Gina back on the trail to life long bliss.

…Physicality

Sonji Artimis is a tall snooty white male. He speaks with a strong Canadian accent. Sonji holds his head high and literally looks down his nose as he speaks to you. His body language is very reserved and stoic. He doesn’t hold his hands in a relaxed way, he holds them in formal way that is almost exhausting to watch. You may find yourself focusing on his hands as you talk to him. You try to anticipate when they will move, but alas, they never do.

…Quirks

Sonji likes to say, “It’s an art.” Anything that he can say this about is a good thing. It’s nemesis is, “That’s a science.” Anything that he says that about is the enemy and he holds it in disdain.

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