Tuesday, October 02, 2012

COLUMN: Nature Documentary

If bullfrogs could talk, I know one with a doozy of a story to tell.

It was a gorgeous Saturday. With a perfect temperature outside complementing a perfect breeze blowing through the perfect air, this was a day rife with possibilities. I just didn't know those possibilities would come with an NC-17 rating.

The day started off like so many other lazy summer weekends. Bacon & eggs, an open window, and some mindless TV. As the clock struck noon, I decided it was time for action. Specifically, the action of calling Friend Jason and luring him into some afternoon adventure -- in the form of ribs. I'm not much for outdoor festivals, but the combination of Ribfest and River Roots Live is where I make an exception. Although we missed the band I wanted to see (American Dust), the day could still be salvaged, primarily through the application of brisket into my belly.

This year, though, we picked the wrong food vendor. Dreams of succulent smoked meat turned into the reality of a cold pile of tasteless brisket marinating in a sea of grease almost an inch deep. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

we decided to banish the bad food memories and head out in search of alternate adventure. And last Saturday was Floatzilla -- the third annual celebration wherein hordes of canoeists and kayakers assemble en masse in the middle of Lake Potter and presumably battle each other with oars until the last man stands. No?  Oh, I guess they just hang out together, form a giant raft, and try to break a world record. I'm also told it does NOT involve brisket in any way, hence it being our backup choice.

But it turns out there's drawbacks to starting your day at the crack of noon and then spending half of it consuming your body weight in grease. By the time we pulled into Credit Island, Floatzilla had been over for an hour and there was hardly a kayak in sight. What we DID notice, though, was a shiny new pedestrian bridge connecting the southern half of the island to the mainland. This was worth checking out, so we pulled over, hiked down a short path, and rounded a corner to... whoa.

Okay, journalists state the facts, and here's the facts as I saw 'em: one guy holding a fancy video camera, one guy holding a fancy still camera, and one girl wrapped in a blanket. In the middle of the afternoon on an 80 degree day. You do the math. As far as I could tell, Friend Jason and I had just walked into the filming of a nature documentary. HUMAN nature, to be precise -- and not the polite stuff Michael Jackson sings about.

What exactly does one do in a scenario like this? Stumbling into an X-rated film shoot isn't exactly in my wheelhouse. We'd seen them, they'd seen us. We couldn't just spin and leave. Instead, we committed to the path and strolled by the aspiring filmmakers with a smile and a "nice weather today" while they tried to look as non-chalant as three people could when one of them has their knickers around their ankles. As soon as we passed, they high-tailed it out of there to our relief.

So the bad news is that I may have caught contact cooties. But the exciting news is that I could very well be coming to a Cinemax near you as "Startled Guy In Woods #1." I always knew I had the chops to make it as a big-league actor. Later that night, I checked the Screen Actors Guild website. It turns out that you have to log THREE days of work as an extra to be considered for membership, so all I need to do is accidentally walk into TWO more pornos -- I mean, nature documentaries -- before I can cross that one off my bucket list.

For what it's worth, the new pedestrian bridge on Credit Island is a work of art. A smelly work of art. It connects the bike path on Concord Ave. with the park, which is nice. But it spits you out onto Concord Ave. directly in front of a sewage plant. The bridge is beautiful, but the smell once you're on it is nothing shy of a level 8 biohazard. Congratulations, Davenport: Not only have you build a downtown Skybridge that connects nothing to nothing, you've now built an out-of-the-way bridge that connects an island of perverts to, well, poo.

"Great," said Friend Jason as we crested the bridge and almost choked out, "Now every time I watch Cinemax, I'm going to think of this smell."

So, if you're keeping score, our exciting day out now consisted of grease, cooties, and doodies, in that order. I needed something wholesome to even things out. That was when we noticed the father and son walking up the other end of the bridge. We watched as the dad looked over the edge and excitedly spotted a bullfrog in the water below -- completely unaware, of course, that moments earlier, this frog just had a front row seat to some XXX action.

"Look, a frog!" he said to his kid. "Frogs are amphibians. That means they can breathe underwater."

Could there BE anything cuter? Just when I had convinced myself that society was collapsing into a world of greasy food, loose morals, and needless bridges, along comes a slice of life that would have done ol' Norman Rockwell proud.

"Cool!" said the kid.

"Let's see who can spit on it first!" said dad with a smile while crushing all hopes I may have had of a brighter tomorrow.

And before I could even look away in horror, thus began a symphony of hocking loogies and frog-spitting that almost made my Ribfest come up for an encore. Friend Jason and I hustled off the bridge and headed back to the relative sanity of my living room. There might not be hope for humanity, but there's still bacon in my fridge, so I'm good for a while -- until Hollywood calls, that is, after my scene-stealing performance as Startled Guy In Woods #1.

Yep, that frog had himself one mighty interesting day.  

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