Inching towards mediocrity.


Albert Gonquin’s Five Helpful Tips For Being Environmentally Conscious In The Woods (A Helpful List From Albert Gonquin)

Hello, everyone. I know you probably came here looking for Luciano Galasso to regale you with tales of whatever it is he usually talks about. Unfortunately, he’s not here at the moment…so I guess you’re just stuck with me. Allow me to introduce myself, though I don’t expect you to remember my name or ever bring it up in conversation again. That’s fine, by the way.

I hope you like feeling bored and disappointed. I'm Al Gonquin.

My name is Albert Reginald St. Jacques Elizabeth Gonquin, but most folks just call me Al. You can too, if you like, though to be honest, most people don’t really call me anything. They just sort of smile and nod and shuffle on along there way, forgetting about my existence the moment I leave their line of sight. I’m funny that way. Not actually funny, mind you…just sort of peculiar. My mom always had a saying – “Peculiar people are just God’s mistakes.” It may seem a might bit harsh, but I think that there may be some truth to that statement. Another favorite saying of hers was “Albert Gonquin, you are God’s worst mistake,” which I think also might be true. My mother was a woman of few words – unless she was discussing how disappointed she was in her only son. Then she could talk for hours. I listened.

Now, I don’t know if you know this (and seeing as we just met, you probably don’t) but I, Albert Gonquin, live in the woods. Sure, it can be cold and lonely and wet and lonely and harsh and lonely and tree bark can only be prepared to eat in so many different ways (for the record, my favorite is plain). But it’s my home, and I like to keep it looking as pristine and welcoming as I possibly can. (Not that I ever welcome anyone personally, mind you). So, in the spirit of Lu’s love for both the environment AND lists, I, Albert Gonquin, give you Albert Gonquin’s Five Helpful Tips For Being Environmentally Conscious In The Woods (A Helpful List From Albert Gonquin). I hope you’ll enjoy it, but if you don’t, I’ll understand. It was written by me after all.

1) Bio-Degradable is your friend-for-life-able.

If you can’t burn it, bury it, or eat it, leave it home. If there’s one thing that I have learned from my increasingly shorter stints in the civilised world, it’s that humans build things to last. This is great when you have a family, a job, a life and friends, but in the woods, none of these things matter. (Or, at least I hope they don’t, as I have none of those). The point is, you can’t leave anything behind – or it will be there whenever you decide to return. (Unless you happen to stumble upon me, in which case I’m sure you’ll never return). Aluminum cans and the like might seem like a good idea, but there’s no way to properly dispose of them out in the woods. You could always take them out with you, I suppose, but that just adds to the weight of your pack on your exit, and people can be so forgetful. It’s best just to stick with things that you can burn away when you’re done with them – leaving the campsite in (more or less) the same condition it was in when you got there. Thanks.

Delicious, but deadly. (To the environment).

2) If you kill it, eat it and make warm clothing out of it’s fur/scales/flesh.

As you can probably imagine, I’m not much of a proponent for hunting and killing animals. They’re mostly harmless, and for better or for worse compromise my entire circle of friends out here in the woods. (Except for chipmunks…chipmunks are dicks).

I spent all summer storing nuts for the winter...until this merciless fellow stole them all right out from under me. And taunted me.

Anyways, my own wilderness relationships aside, I can completely understand why people do hunt and kill our furry little friends. I’m just asking that if you must hunt or fish or trap, that you at least do it for a reason. You can live comfortably inside a hollowed out moose for three days straight. (Unfortunately, it takes about six days straight to get used to the smell). Don’t get me wrong – out in the woods it is indeed survival of the fittest. When the going gets tough, Al Gonquin gets killin’. But always for a reason. If you’re hungry and want to make some turtle lasagna or a rainbow trout bow tie, fine. Just have a reason for the wanton slaughter of innocent things, okay? Thanks.

3) Environmentally friendly soaps and cleaning stuffs.

People like to stay clean. I get that, though when you live in the woods your entire life, it becomes pretty much secondary. (Your first instinct is survival of course – or at least trying to drive away the crippling loneliness and depression that stalks you on an hourly basis). However, I completely understand that for most people (at least the ones that aren’t me) camping is a group activity – and can even be use for the occasional date. (As I’ve discovered by watchingprotecting campers in the woods). So, you probably want to stay clean and presentable for your fellow campers. If you wanna wash up while you’re out there, that’s fine and dandy by me. Just use a bio-degradable soap…keep yourself clean and the environment cleaner! Thanks.

It smells as good as it looks.

4) Leave your electronics at home.

Now, this one isn’t just for helping the environment – it’s for helping you, too. The woods are a nice place to relax and forget about all of the hustle and bustle at home. Not only do you get to shut down your carbon footprint for a nice weekend, but by shutting down your electronic intake, you also get to remind yourself about what’s important in life. The great outdoors – and human interaction. (I’ve heard it’s pretty awesome). A lot of people get worried about this aspect of camping, thinking that they’ll be bored and fretting about what they’re going to do for three days in the wilderness. Trust Al on this one, though – there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself without all the bells and whistles and doo-dads of the electronic world. Thanks.

My suggestion? Puppets!

5) Beware of ghosts.

Not really an environmental concern, but one that needs to be addressed anyways. Ghost related encounters account for almost 0.08% of all camping related injuries and deaths, yet no one dares to talk about it. It might be the liberal media trying to keep this shocking truth under wraps, or it might be the almost inconsequential percentage that I quoted earlier. (At least that’s the reason most experts give me). Regardless, people need to be warned about this growing epidemic before they set foot in the woods – which are, as I’m sure you’re aware, a ghosts natural habitat. Just look at these numbers comparing the most common causes of camping fatalities and tell me that my concern is unjustified:

For the record, "boating accidents" and "drunk beavers" ARE directly related.

Exactly. So enjoy your camping trip, and make sure you take care of the woods around you while you’re there, but most importantly…beware of ghosts.

Or else you may become one yourself.

I’m Albert Gonquin, and nobody approved this message.

(Albert Gonquin is a forty-six year old man who lives alone in the woods yet somehow has access to a computer and the internet. He can usually be found drinking lake water while contemplating everything that went wrong with his life. He also has Facebook page if you’d like to follow him online, though I can’t imagine why you would).

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