Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mighty Big Shoes to Fill

I went Bigfoot crazy a few weeks ago. It started when I caught an interview with an author plugging his latest book on NPR about the legendary creature (his shocking conclusion: Bigfoot probably doesn't exist, the 'bigfoot community' is sort of nuts). That sounded pretty cool. Then, within a week, two or three people mentioned Bigfoot or sent me a Sasquatch-related link.

Realizing this was a plate of shrimp moment like the movie Repo Man told us all about, I was powerless to fight fate so I loaded up my Netflix queue with whatever Bigfoot movies they had, checked out the NPR guy's book from work, and would have listened to Bigfoot music, if I could figure out what that was. I have a hunch he would listen to Fu Manchu.

Bigfoot was everywhere when I was a kid. Exploitation filmmakers cranked out films about him, he was on TV, he even had his own line of shoes, which I remember pitching a fit for in Buster Brown. I do not recall if my shitiness was rewarded.

I do, however, remember lots of time spent in the woods looking for the beast. This was back in the late '70s/early '80s when parents didn't really care what their kids did, just as long as they did it somewhere else, or at least did it quietly.

And man, did I love hanging out in the woods. My friends and I used our Bigfoot hunts as an excuse to follow trails for what seemed like miles and to freak each other out with outrageous lies as we got deeper and deeper into the woods. You could also fairly regularly find piles of waterlogged and moldy Penthouse and Playboy magazines out there which was an added bonus and safer than running into Bigfoot.*

There are adults who still do the same thing, although they are completely serious, which is funny, because even as kids we knew we were wasting our time. If you have cable you might have seen those ghost hunters who walk through haunted houses in green light challenging ghosts to fights. I'm serious. Half the running time is guys in Ed Hardy shirts yelling stuff like, "'SUP GHOST?! WHY DON'T YOU SHOW YOURSELF? YOU LIKE SCARING LITTLE KIDS AND WOMEN? WHY DON'T YOU MATERIALIZE RIGHT NOW, GHOST?"

The ghosts never show up.

As with many things I loved as a kid or teenager, Bigfoot tracking is probably the next ridiculous thing to hit the mainstream. Next time you're out on a relaxing walk in the woods looking for old dirty magazines, don't be surprised if you interrupt a camera crew shouting "C'MON, BIGFOOT! WHY YOU GOTTA HIDE, BRA?! I'M RIGHT HERE IN YOUR WOODS, DUDE!"

*Do you remember the thrill of spotting the back cover of a magazine somewhere as a kid, seeing a cigarette ad, getting excited thinking you had found some forest porn only to realize it was just a Newsweek or something? If I could bottle that euphoria and exhilaration I'd put 5 Hour Energy out of business.

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