November 4, 2002

the monkeys are loose

Sunday a bunch of Woochers went down to Louie’s for some breakfast. I became irate that day when I read an article on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune that more and more and more and more and more scholarships are based on merit these days, and prissy-ass rich kids are taking the money and buying new cars as mom and dad foot the college bill.

Hmm. More merit-based scholarships? That’s a fucking horrible thing to do. Good god, the day we reward achievement will be the day meteors rain from the sky and the seas boil off this chunky rock. Additionally, if there are so many merit-based scholarships out there going to kids that don’t need ’em because their family eats exotic parrot embryos for breakfast and bathes in Goldschlager, why the hell am I still paying full price for this foul academic experience? Come on, I’m just as smart and my family is just as spoiled rotten as the next one. We don’t deserve any of what we earn so long as all those kids on the other side of the world are eating coal, so why can’t I just get more of what I don’t deserve and smear their blood across my face?

My friends took up a collection to buy the newspaper, but it was a Sunday edition and nothing the Tribune prints is ever worth $1.50 so I just picked up the free copy they had floating around Louie’s. Then a very rude man had to knock me over on his dash outside to have a cigarette. I hope he gets hit by a meteor.

Our waitress was the smartest girl alive. She’s still in high school but is taking classes full-time at the University, and through some loophole in not fulfilling her high school graduation requirements she can take her classes post-secondary and get the state to pay for everything. Unfortunately she may accidentally fulfill her requirements this year, and will soon have to pay for college.

Apparently she is in Al’s lifeguarding class this semester, and he’s likely gonna catch hell for our antics. She went to bed at 5:00 am that morning and got called in to work at 7:30. She was in no mood for us. She brought us extra napkins, wet naps, crayons, children’s menus and pancakes shaped like Mickey. Al pointed out that his word-find had ‘pancake’ but not ‘pancakes’, as the key demanded.

After Corey spilled his water all over the table and we got kicked out of the restaraunt and we tormented Annie by flipping her fuel door open again and again as she tried to leave the lot, we took Monica to the Greyhound station. It was off in some nether-region of West Duluth that we never knew existed. In the station lobby they had two pay phones right next to each other, so we coughed up 50 cents (that we had saved by not buying a craptacular newspaper) and called one phone from the other. I was attached to one, Ryan to the other, and this kept us entertained for fifteen minutes. We even got to do the COOLEST THING EVER. At one point I found that a little red light went on whenever I made noise, so I kept singing rhythms into the phone to watch the light flicker. The desk jockey finally asked us if we needed to use the phone.

“We are,” said Ryan. I hung up my phone and gave him a word-thumbs-up.

Feeling we had worn out our welcome inside, as we were getting a lot of red, weepy glares from the usual bus clientele, we stole off to the outdoors. Ryan disappeared behind the storage garage and five seconds later came running out shouting my name. Ryan had discovered a huge labyrinth made out of teetering piles of wooden pallets stacked fifteen feet in the air. In the maze we found a stuffed animal graveyard and Ryan shoved Clifford the Big Red Dog in his coat. We continued walking, and as we tried to figure out how to climb in a large rusty crane a longshoreman peeked around the corner, so we decided it was time to go.

On our way out we found a shopping cart. Coupled with 350 feet of bubble wrap and twenty pounds of ingenuity, we now have an entry for the First Annual Wuda Wooch! Custom Sled Competition.

We left the Greyhound station before the cops showed up and went to Menard’s to find runners for our sled. There is something unwholesome about walking aimlessly through a lumber yard, especially when you find loose bb-guns sitting around. We looked at lumber, PVC fencing and sheet metal for our sled, but nothing seemed fitting.

“Guys, we’re gonna need to think unconventionally,” I said. “Let’s go look at the lawn gnomes.”

The lawn gnomes had been taken out to the lumber yard and shot to make room for a motorized Santa that shook his groove thing. Seasonality is weird and cruel. We left Menard’s with only ideas and a tape measure and an emergency shovel for use in case of emergencies and building jumps out of snow in case of an emergency.

That night we went over to the Wooch! house to watch the Simpson’s Halloween special, but I had too much sugar before I left my apartment. I kept calling their kitten Delicious, and Ryan said to grab two forks. Ryan had Clifford. Clifford now goes everywhere with Ryan.

Wooch! is short for Wuda Wooch!, which is an Ethiopian phrase for ‘To the Outdoors!’. It also happens to be the name of the outdoor club at UMD, which is populated by a rag-tag group of misfits hell bent on having a good time and revolutionizing the outdoor experience.
It’s a bunch of people that make me look mildly sane.