Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nature vs. Josh

It’s not every day that you pee yourself out of fear and then openly admit it to the World Wide Web.  Today, however, is not every day.  Today is a day in which I sit before you, shivering to the bone out of terror, and readily type: I WET MYSELF TWO DAYS AGO.

Luckily, I was in the shower. 

Perhaps you’ve noticed through my tweets or constant barrage of Facebook statuses that nature and I have not been on the best of terms lately.  It’s a silly little argument, really.  Right now, we just to see eye to eye, and, because Mother Earth and her inhabitants do not care to come in second in our daily race to the finish, I’ve been the victim of several animal related incidents in the past few weeks. 

I won’t lie, folks.  She’s taken her toll on me with these every day struggles.  I guess I have no choice but to write through these pains. Fortunately for you, I am a natural born storyteller and have the ever wonderful gift of tale, voice, and intrigue. 

Oh, and a massive, faux ego that I use to pump myself up but then immediately back down from because I fear it makes me sound pretentious, arrogant, and unappealing. 

And Josh Plattner is none of the above. 

They say aversion therapy works for smokers and drinkers.  You become exposed to excessive amounts of your problem and then, suddenly, you’re no longer addicted/afraid/abusive.  Well, I don’t have massive amounts of nature’s finest creatures with which to fill a bathtub and then roll around in.  But: I do have a laptop, Microsoft Word, and some frightening memories that make funny/sad/relatable stories.

Here’s to catharsis!

Close to Argus

One of my favorite episodes of 30 Rock—and how can you even pick!—is about the last will and testament of Don Geiss.  In his will, he left Jack his proud and ever-strutting Peacock, Argus.  It’s a magnificent bird, though somewhat terrifying in speed, and is referred to as a “living dinosaur” by Liz Lemon.  In the episode, Argus marks Liz as his wife by placing his wing feathers in her mouth: “WHY ARE THEY SO OILY?!”

I laugh every single time it happens because the thought of a bird’s feathers slapping someone across the face and then permeating their taste buds is hilarious!  Seriously, that’s funny!

Well, it used to be funny.

It was a beautiful Thursday morning.  I can’t tell you if the sky was blue and the sun was shining, but I remember it was stunning because I was already hopped up on copious amounts of caffeine and downing my second coffee beverage of the day on my walk up Old Main hill.

Lady Gaga was blasting into my ears (“I’m on the right track…!”) and everything was coming up Josh.  I might have even broken out into song on my little walk up the hill! 

I was minding my business, whistling along with my iPod—named Grapes—when I came across a robin in a tree that was also whistling.  I was touched; I was really connecting with nature.  The connection turned literal, however, just a minute or so later.

So here I am sitting with my iPod in my hands and watching with this little robin bop it’s little head back in forth like it’s listening along.  And then Gaga sings: “Black, white, beige…” and I say (out loud like a lunatic talking to himself) “hey, Robin!  You’re sorta beige!  And you know what?  You were born that wa—” Well, I didn’t quite make it to the ‘y.’  You see, as I turned away from the robin on “way,” another robin flew directly into the right side of my face, knocking off the novelty glasses I unnecessarily wear on a regular basis.

Ironically, the gross and, YES, oily feathers of the robin that had just made my face his crash pad slipped across my lips and even managed to flutter gently across my tongue, leaving the faint taste of after-shave and dead lady bug on my teeth.  Yes, it was left on my teeth.  I could taste the robin’s oily ickyness all over my bicuspids and canines. 

I no longer laugh at Liz Lemon’s peacock panic. 

I just empathize.

Wait, They Nest?

The answer to that question is yes.  They do.

It’s the same day and I’m still jumpy because I am more than certain that every robin on the ground, busily pecking at earthworms or, hopefully, centipedes is about to rise from the dir or grass or cement and sky attack my face.  Paranoia had set in. 

But I am off with my geology lab for a “field trip.”

I want to be very clear that field trip in this sense is nowhere near as exciting as it was in elementary, middle, or even high school.  In fact, field trips might even be worse than regular class periods these days!  You see, field trip in the geological sense means: we’re going to look at rock outcrops in the St Peter area and then talk about why this rock is there and why that rock goes there and how they arrived in this beautiful city.

Honestly, leaving campus is somewhat pleasurable, even if it is just to look at boring ol’ rocks.  It’s unfortunate that Laura Triplett doesn’t teach something more exciting; she’s a great professor. 

Anyway, we’re bussing all over the place, taking peaks at river deposits, at some quaternary till, and even some erratic boulders deposited by glaciers!  WOOT!  Soon, we arrive at a sign on 169 that says, NO TRESPESSING, and I read: You will be shot for stepping foot on my property.  Seriously though, you don’t know what people will do.  Ever since watching that episode of South Park where the farmer just up and shoots anyone on his property without a second thought, I can’t help but think: these could be my last steps.

I guess I don’t trespass very often so those thoughts are sort of irrelevant.  Whaeva!!!

So I step passed the sign and I remain alive.  Yay!  And I’m walking forward listening (sort of) to Laura telling us to grab rock specimens and present them to the rest of our group.  So we scatter.  As we do so, I get excited because there’s a river right next to me and GOD KNOWS I love little outdoor activities and enjoy getting dirty in nature.  So I scamper off toward the stream bank to get a closer look at the sandstone—rockdropping, no big deal.

I take three steps or so and I hear someone say, “snake!”

I turn, and sure enough, slithering behind me, a good distance away, is a garter snake trying to climb an embankment of a sloping rock mass.  I laugh because snakes are stupid.  Sure it’s nervous laughter cuz lord knows if it comes near me I’m gonna kill it or kick it into the nearby culvert.

Off to the river!  I turn and take a few more steps and then think about how odd it is that the earth beneath my feet, not-so-safely confined in the care of flip-flops, is softer than the rest of the packed dirt around me.  I think it must just be part of the river, but look down just in case.

I am standing in—not on, in—a writhing, wiggling mass of garter snakes.  There’s probably eight to ten, and three of them rocket into the air when my foot comes reeling out of their scaly, squiggly nest.

I stepped in a snake nest.  A snake nest.

A. Snake. Nest.

The worst part is how dry they felt as they skittered between my toes.  Not quite a dry rag, and not quite a pumice stone.  It was like taking a dry loofa and dragging it through the spaces between your toes. 

Oh, and if you’re trying it for yourself, don’t forget to cut a little fiber of the loofa so that it sticks out slightly.  Pretend it’s a tongue. Pretend it’s a snake tongue licking your foot and that there’s nothing you can do but make a whimpering noise and flee to the river.

How to Lose a Toenail

I spend a lot of time in the courtyard café.  Usually it’s late night work that just didn’t find a way to get done over the course of the day, or was intentionally put off out of laziness or boredom or any other excuse I could make up. 

So it follows that I spend a good amount of time outdoors, at night, walking home in the dark.  I don’t mind it; in fact, I almost prefer it.

Of course, if you know me well, you’re aware that I love me some flip-flops.  Flip-flops, while more comfortable, freeing, and wearable than normal shoes, are not always the smartest choice of footwear.  This is especially true at night, in the dark, when it’s raining, and when it’s cold. 

Two nights ago, all four of these conditions were not only present, but I was also hopped up and caffeine and thought that it would be a fine idea to skip gleefully home in the rain.

Turns out there are creatures that appear more readily in the rainy nights than in otherwise pleasant weather conditions.

Any guesses?

Allie Schulte could tell you: WORMS.

Yep, they are frequently seen on campus on rainy nights, rolling around on the sidewalks, inching along and minding their own business.  Unfortunately, they aren’t so easily seen in the nighttime, especially when the sidewalks are not that well lit.

So here I am, walking along the sidewalk, just trying to get home in the rain.  As I am walking—skipping, you caught me—I step on a giant mass of worms and slide on their slippery skin for a couple feet and then grind my big toe into the cement because of my flip-flop preference. I look down and notice that I can’t tell the difference between my blood and the blood of the worms that are now pulped against the sidewalk.

I apologize and curse.  Seen on the sidewalk: bloodied, broken worms and a segment of my toenail. 


Shower Sneak-Attack

The shower is supposed to be a safe place.  It’s supposed to be a calming, relaxing time of day when the outside world just lingers on the outskirts of the curtain or the door. 

Alas, this cannot always be the case.

I am rinsing the soap off of my face when it happens.  I feel water splashing on my feet—as I should, I’m in the shower!  I notice that the water feels like it’s lingering though, like it’s somehow sticking to my right foot.  So, naturally I look down.


And so I pee—sorry, Kirsten, I promise I cleansed the shower thoroughly—because I am scared to the point of urinary release. 

You guys, I don’t like the word I’m about to use, as most of you can attest, but: I HATE centipedes.  I hate them.  Not only do I despise their existence, but they are actually the single most terrifying creature I have EVER, EVER come into contact with. 

Ugh.  Yuck. Ish.

Not only do I pee, I fall over in our tiny-ass shower which only provokes the little bastard further. 

Side note: HOW THE HELL IS THE CENTIPEDE ABLE TO MOVE IN THE WATER?  Shouldn’t they be washed away?  Shouldn’t the water pressure knock him into the drain? 

Oh, wait, Centipedes use black magic (obviously) and are evil and that’s how they can stay functional even in a shower drain. 

So when I fall over, the centipede rears back on his haunches and spreads each of his other three million legs apart in a mortifying display of aggression.  I can almost hear him hissing like an angry cat as here rears back, ready to pounce.  I scramble to my feet and he scurries into the corner.

Is that water on my face from the shower, or is it a profuse amount of tears?  Not sure.

I take my conditioner bottle off of the rack and DUMP a whole bunch of it on to the leg-ridden, hell-born monster that I am pretty sure has quadrupled in size since his arrival. 

The conditioner carries him back the drain and I hear him shout: “I’ll be back!” as every single one of his flailing legs disappears back into the abyss.


Nature – 4    Josh – 0.


  1. Oh my god. I love you. That was probably the greatest thing I've read in a while. I mean, I feel terrible, but I laughed so hard! Thank you, Josh, for making my night.