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What's the Point?

Okay, so we know how I’ll benefit from this endeavor. I’ll gain experience in the great outdoors that will help me write a better book set in the Adirondacks. But you, my dear reader, may well be asking, “What’s in all this for me?” Hopefully you’ll gain a little knowledge, have a few laughs, and vicariously enjoy a sense of adventure. Think of it as a modern-day Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, where you get to sit comfortably at your computer screen – much like Marlin Perkins watching from a safe distance behind some bushes. I, on the other hand, will go out into the wild, ala Jim Fowler, and do all the heavy lifting in an effort to entertain you.

            Well, on second thought…

« Oh, Shoot! | I Will Survive! »

Hippos In Lake George


One of my pet peeves about nature is, well, all that nature. Especially when that nature is in the form of untamed wildlife. Bears? Terrifying. Coyotes? Ditto. Bobcats? We’re talking nightmare material. Aggressive squirrels? Don’t get me started. 


Although one of my hobbies is collecting phobias, I prefer collecting them at home where I can worry and fret in the relative safety of my family room. But now that I think of it, it’s been a while since I cleaned beneath the sofa cushions. Hey, who cued the music from Jaws?

So imagine my surprise – and terror –when I was sitting on said sofa the other night, minding my own business, while my husband was watching a show on the Geographic Nature of Discovery Planet channel.  I wasn’t really paying attention because even shows about nature raise my blood pressure to a level that can be alleviated only by eating a bowl of ice cream. Since my pants were already feeling a bit snug, I focused on worrying about other animal-related issues instead.  Like whether dust bunnies harbor Lyme disease-carrying ticks and how some little lizard knows I’m paying too much for my car insurance.

My ears perked up, though, when I realized the show’s narrator was talking about Lake George. I’ve been swimming in Lake George for years and I have the black and white photos taken with a Brownie camera to prove it. “How nice that they’re featuring ‘The Queen of American Lakes,’” I thought. But something in the narrator’s voice told me this was no Chamber of Commerce fluff piece. After all, this is the network that takes every opportunity to remind us that we’re all just one wrong turn away from being something else’s dinner. So what was the subject of the show: killer zebra mussels? Asian clams gone bad?


Turns out, they were talking about hippos. Now they had my full attention. I was eager to get a look at the confused hippo that had made a wrong turn at the equator and ended up in Lake George’s chilly waters. So I did what I usually do when I want to get a better look at something – I grabbed the remote and turned up the volume.


To my horror, the accompanying footage made it clear that the narrator wasn’t talking about one hippo, but hundreds of them. Enough hippos to make the Minne-Ha-Ha paddle for its life.

I already have enough trouble getting up the nerve to swim in Lake George – especially where the water’s deep (okay – you can stop playing the Jaws music). My imagination gives me plenty to be afraid of, even when I try to convince myself that a super croc would rather eat a jet ski than a swimmer like me. Now I was going to have to contend with hippos, too.  Something told me it was going to take more than a kayak paddle to fight them off.


And then, as so often happens in my stories, things got worse. Turns out all the hippos are dying. Not from natural causes, or because the water in Lake George is too damn cold, but from anthrax. That’s right. ANTHRAX! Does the EPA, DEC, APA, LGA, and ADK know about this? (I left out WTF, but I’m sure you were already thinking that).


Just as I was about to cancel my summer vacation plans for the next 100 years, a map appears on the screen. They were talking about Lake George, Uganda not Lake George, NY. Never mind. I’m going to get some ice cream.

Reader Comments (3)

There should only be ONE Lake George and we know which one that is. Panic is your friend. Nice.

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Sherman

Good article on 'The Queen of American Lakes,’”

made me grin... I feel the same way about going down into my basement!

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathie Boyle

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