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Month: May 2019

Wild Man – Genesis

By: George Palczynski aka Wild Man

Prelude A (major):
My name is George Palczynski. I am an initiate to WTF?!. It is by the generous impulses of both Sparky, and Modesty, that I am here. I thank them both.

Prelude B (minor): Manual For Human Behavioral Sciences: Vol 4: Sec:21 Article 214: Dweebyness is cause for ostracization.
Ref: ” How 2B Dweeb Free For Life
#14. Never ever pick a nickname for yourself… it’s pathetic
#15. Never ever, EVER claim a rep for yourself… it’s pathetic

In The Beginning

The Proprietress had invited me to participate at WTF?!. The message began with the salutation: “Hey, wild man. Would you…”

She had me at ‘wild man’.

I’ve no doubt that Sparky knows next to nothing about me. She could not possibly even have suspected she was massaging cool a hot raw nerve. From the time, the moment, I’d given up childish things I had wanted to be a ‘wild man’… of some sort. You know, of the kind of man who’d had a long apprenticeship as ‘bad boy’ and now knew the ropes… and all the knots… and all the “spots”.

Now it’s possible that Sparky had some other allusions in mind in using “wild man”. But I can’t imagine a one. Well no, I can imagine one come to think of it – a carnival freak/geek biting the heads off cute little ducklettes. Uhh uhhh! No way – she meant what I’d heard. I’m laying 100 to 1. Until she dissuades and disillusions me, to my satisfaction… I am wild man, endowed with a new persona. It will take getting used to.

Now, there’s a backstory to this new demigod. If you know some of it you may understand better my good spirits over my new rep.

During the interminable blah, blah, blahs of school-time lectures, I would wander over to the margins of my notes and write, in my best cursive – as was the wont of boys and girls for millennia – the name of my ‘crush’. But it was not the name of a girl; AND NO, not a guy. My crush was my one and only aspiration. I’d fallen for the idea of being a… wait …Louche Scoundrel. I’d even heard tell of a School For Scoundrels. That would have been a Master’s degree worth pursuing.

Now what terrible ordeal was there behind such a strange desire? None. It’s just one of those DNA molecule clusters that found a nest to rest in what happened to be… my mind. That’s my theory.

Now understand, my life was not a hermit nerd’s. The girls all thought me good company. I was blessed/cursed with a benign popularity but there was never any heat from their direction; you know what I’m getting at – yes? What heat there was, well, it was all mine. Never had their cheeks flushed, no nervousness, no scanning for an escape route. What I wanted was to have the Count Vronsky Effect on females whereby they feared their own propensities when in precarious propinquity to me. I wanted very much to be every female’s Svengali; and have every female my Trilby. I wanted to be the guy females hate themselves for falling for. So that was what had driven me to pledge to my gray sad brain that I would become a rake for all seasons and times.

Why sad… gray sad brain? Well, up until I’d resolved myself to becoming Wild Man-Louche Scoundrel-Rake, I was – this took some effort to recall – I was… let’s start at the beginning:

“Georgy Porgy “Bubbles”.”Yogi”, “Curly”, “Sweets”, “Jerzy”, “Hoagie”, “Hootie”. “ChooChoo” “L.G.”, “C.T.”, “Big G”, “Tootsie Wootsie”, then, inexplicably, “Tootsie Whoopsie” (don’t ask – I’m not tellin’). Not all at once, of course, but serially. Each one of them being much as markings on a doorway denoting growth spurts. At his point, I believe, it would be entirely appropriate to interject – WTF?! I really hadn’t thought I’d had THAT many nicks. The last two had been hatched in the fertile minds of females (don’t ask – I’m not tellin’).
Not a hint of ‘wild man’ anywhere in all that, right? Particularly annoying was Tootsie Wootsie/Tootsie Whoopsie (don’t ask – I’m not tellin’). The one that had gams and had never vexed me at all was “Big G”. It had attached itself to me with good will and had to it a literal bonhomie spirit. It was a riff off an ad campaign for General Mills Cereals – The Big G on the box stood for goodness, they said. That was me… then. Now, now, I am wild man. Live with it – I will. This is going to be one hell of a ride from here on.

The Wind-Up

All the consternation, the wishing, praying, hoping, and… here again…WTF?! Just two words out of the mouth of a babe and voila – my aspiration was no longer beyond my reach, it was clutched in my clenched fist. Now I have only to care that I not get carried away and become insufferable.

Thank You Sparky, twice trebled!

Camping With Dad: Round One

My father fancied himself an outdoorsman. In fact, he was awarded the rare rank of Eagle Scout, though this was back in the days when the Scoutmasters drank a lot.

Our first major outing into the woods as a family with my father leading the way would set the tone for every camping trip we all would take with the man for the rest of his life: somehow a lovely and relaxing “Getting Back To Nature” trip turned into a wildly desperate test of human survival.

I was 7 years old; my sister was 6, and my brother had just turned four. My father decided to take his young family to the State Park in Ely, Minnesota.

Of course, as was his style, getting there was a chore in itself: My Dad was one of those “Get-There-Or-Die-Trying” kind of Dads. I remember lots of sleeping in the back seat in a sibling sandwich while Dad would work the radio, trying to tune in SOMETHING that would keep him awake…I can’t tell you how many times I heard “King Of The Road” that summer. There were frequent hisses of “STOP KICKING THE SEAT” through clenched teeth, threats of pulling off to the side of the road to spank the next person to say, “They’re TOUCHING ME, Dad!” and random, and frequently hilarious episodes of him driving whilst reaching into the back seat and swatting at us wildly; hilarious because my brother always sat in the middle and bore the brunt of the swats.

Then, there were the ENDLESS sing-a-longs: “100 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall” and “John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith”…

DAMN! Now that song is in my HEAD!

Hang on: I’m gonna need a drink…

Ok. So- we finally get to the State Park in Ely, and it was great for the first couple of days, though I thought Dad worked harder setting up camp than he must have worked at his job, because he was hot, sweaty, irritated, and Lord knows WE weren’t any help. Nevertheless, we had our regular tent and a food tent with a picnic table on which sat our food covered in a thick canvass tarp. We had a big boulder to play on, a lake to swim in…Utopia!

Until, that is, one night…

You know those little kid sweaters with the hoods? The hoods that stand up almost to a point on the kids’ heads? Even though it was summer, nights in Minnesota still got a little cool, so my brother, my sister, and I were sleeping in our red sweaters with our hoods in our little sleeping bags when I was awakened by gunshots.

There, in the doorway of our tent, was my father, in nothing but his boxer shorts and his fishing boots, shooting his .22 pistol up in the air and shouting, “YAH!” and “GET OUTTA HERE!”

Then, in a panic, he turned to my mother: “Karen, grab Kim and Mike! We have to get to the car!”

The next thing I know, the three of us kids were being hoisted up by the points on our hoods and carried out to and thrown into the car with my brother and my sister in each of my Mom’s hands and Dad carrying me with one hand while toting the pistol in the other!

Then, to answer our confused (and slightly strangled) questions regarding what exactly was happening, Dad grabbed a flashlight and got out of the car because, if nothing else, he believed in giving his kids the biggest bang for their vacation buck.

“Look, kids! It’s a grizzly bear!”

Sure enough, a huge bear had wandered into our camp, sniffed around our tent, then went over to the food tent. Ripping open the thick canvas tarp like it was wet bathroom tissue, he plopped himself down on the picnic table, ripped open a box of Corn Flakes, and was apparently having breakfast. It’s a good thing Dad didn’t try shooting the behemoth: it would have only made him angry…

“JACK! GET IN THIS CAR NOW!” screamed Mom.

We took one more look at the hulking and slightly bemused animal and burned rubber, careening out of the state park until Dad could tamp down the stress and the shock of the encounter with nature’s version of Ralph Kramden, and drove on into Ely.

Then, one of the funniest memories of my childhood, a memory that is SEARED into my brain, came the site of my father in his boxer shorts and fishing boots knocking on the door of an inn, trying to get a room for his family in the middle of the night; explaining the night’s adventure to a woman who thought she was talking to an escapee from an insane asylum.

Thank the Lord he remembered to keep the pistol in the car…

The story has been something of a family legend ever since, and once in a while, someone would ask my Dad, “So, Jack, did you give the bear some milk to go with his cornflakes?” .. because everyone in my family is a real commodian: they THINK they’re funny, but they’re really full of shit!

Stay tuned for the next “Camping With Dad” episode, where I will tell the story of the time my father almost drowned my 6’3” brother in 6’4” of water during a fishing trip from hell!