This is Baytown Bert in Baytown Texas August 8th, 2014 and this is Podcast 07
If the jungle of Borneo has a doppelganger, it’s the Old River/Winfree thickets off of FM1409. I say this even though I’ve never been to Borneo. I imagine I am not too far off though and for arguments sake, let’s just say it is. If I am wrong, I imagine some of my more enlightened Borneo experts will inform me, as a couple of them are pretty much experts on everything it seems.
I am in awe of their ability to sit on the couch and correct everything everyone else produces. It’s like they have amazing powers or something. Maybe they drink that special coffee from Borneo produced by the civet cat? Obviously I need some of that. I’ve heard that coffee makes you real smart. I wish I knew.
On more than one occasion, including this past Saturday, my geocaching friends and I clawed, crawled, and slung machete blades through 5 hours of thorns, brambles, and vines. It was real world sweating, grunting, and bleeding. I can’t remember one single sarcastic remark along the hike, as we were all in the fray and all of us were putting forth honest, hard labor to back up our individual tales of adventure.
For the sake of this column, if I were to go to Borneo, I might ask around for the most vocal guide I could find. You know the kind of character I mean, right? They are the self-righteous person who always has a loud take on everything, but are rarely seen actually doing anything to contribute other than to dole out their enlightened opinion. Thus we have the famed crazy man from Borneo.
They never generate anything original, but feed off of what others contribute and proceed to pick it apart, skewing fact after fact; never mind the misquotes and wild sidebar speculation. If anything, their tangents are so far off the mark, it becomes humorous to behold, but difficult to comprehend how they arrived where they did. And on top of everything, they feel like their contributions are ultimately the righteous hand of God.
Yes, yes, I know. You are asking me why I would want a crazy man as a guide and I’ll come right out and say it. Even the jungle of Borneo or the thickets of Old River/Winfree need comic relief. This sounds like fun, right? I wish it were.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be fun at all and here is why. These characters only have fodder that is created by others and our guide would be reduced to the talking head they truly are, prattling along with drivel from past observations and that my friend, come to think about it, is pretty danged unfunny. They wouldn’t lead us anywhere. They can only operate after someone else suggests a trail or direction.
On third thought, it would indeed be funny. Add in that no amount of criticism will stop their condescending diatribe and you have a reverse peanut gallery in full swing - and taking the very same liberties our guide uses, we can skew their offerings any way we want to make our point smack home.
We will not only get to listen to someone who may have no more experience or knowledge than we have, but for sheer entertainment value, sit back in the comfort of our digs and throw wooly-boogers at them to bump up our own egos and gain the open admiration of our fellow trail travelers.
Hold on a second. Am I losing my grip on reality here or what? Why would I want to do any of these stupid things? They’re idiotic and non-productive. I want to experience the thickets and jungle trails, not walk behind a loud-mouth know it all and be baffled by their smoke screen of how it all should have went down yesterday. If anything, I want a visionary of how things should be on our future travels.
Yes. If anyone in the group feels like they have a real handle on our future, I’m going to ask them to step forward and lead, but the first time we venture down the trail and I hear that crazy Borneo guy yelling non-productive second-guessing sarcastic remarks about how stupid everyone is; I’m going call them out again and again.
It amazes me how some outspoken people will look at the trail and disparagingly announce seeing something totally different than the rest of us, misidentifying almost every plant and tree along the way and then accusing the group of being uneducated buffoons. If they didn’t show up every time I turned around, I could dismiss their contribution as an occasional aberration, but seeing they won’t learn, I just have to see it for what it is – comic relief.
The Baytown area has many trails yet untraveled and with our growing population, we need answers and wise extrapolation, not destructive and pessimistic afterthought to move down the future trail safely. Our city needs people who want to move foreword with vision and the wild men of Borneo needs to get onboard.