• Albury: You can’t make this stuff up
    May 06,2013

    Looking for some cheap entertainment but you don’t feel like sitting in front of the TV and being dumbed down by ridiculous reality shows?

    Forget the boob tube. All of the entertainment you could ever want can be found on the various national news sites on the Internet.

    For example, the other night I went to CNN.com and saw a headline that stated: “Mount Everest Brawl Pits European Climbers Against Sherpas at High Mountain Camp.” How could I resist reading on? This story had everything you could possibly want; an exotic location, brave adventurers, random violence, and most importantly, Sherpas.

    Apparently Ueli Steck from Switzerland and Simone Moro of Italy were approaching the 24,500-foot Camp Three on Mount Everest last week when they were asked to wait on the mountain while a group of Sherpas rigged up some ropes. The climbers ignored the request and continued their ascent.

    As anyone who has knowledge of the ways of Sherpas can tell you, there are two important things to know about Nepalese guides: they do not like to be ignored, and they can hold a grudge for a long time.

    Once, when I first moved to Vermont, I hired a Sherpa to guide me on a hike up Camels Hump. The first few hours of the trek were quite enjoyable, but when we got to the ¼-mile mark on the trail there was a fork. My Sherpa insisted that we go left. I ignored the advice and went right. Aside from occasional nasty emails, I haven’t heard from the Sherpa since. But I digress.

    Back to Mount Everest. As a result of Steck and Moro disregarding the Sherpas, later in the day a furious mob of Nepalese stormed up toward the climbers’ tents and pelted them with stones. As they remembered from childhood, “stones may break your bones,” so the men came out to see what was going on. A high altitude fracas ensued, and police are investigating the incident.

    It was hard to imagine I could find a more entertaining article to read than one concerning riled, rock-throwing Sherpas. Then I stumbled across the following headline on the CBS news website: “Man Loses Life Savings to Win Banana with Dreadlocks.”

    It all started when 30-year-old Henry Gribbohm of Epsom, N.H., went to a carnival to play a game in which you toss softballs into a tub. If you can get a softball to stay in the tub, you win a Playstation game console. Gribbohn took a few practice tosses, which he said were easy. But when he started playing for the prize the balls kept popping out. Gribbohm said he kept trying to win back his money by going double or nothing, and ended up losing $300 in just a few minutes. At this point one might question the sanity — or at the very least the priorities — of Mr. Gribbohm. Heck, for $300 he could have gotten two bloomin’ onions and a large soda. But no one said anything.

    So Gribbohm did what any win-at-all-costs macho male would do; he went home, cleaned out his life savings of $2,300, and came back to the carnival on a mission. If that mission was to lose more money, Mr. Gribbohm could have done his imitation of George Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared victory. Before you could say, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” Mr. Gribbohm was out $2,600.

    The next day Gribbohm returned to the carnival to complain and the game’s operator gave him back $600, and a giant, six-foot stuffed banana with dreadlocks. Of course, being America, this story has the potential to have an even happier ending than a partial refund and a free fruit pillow with matted coils of fake hair — Mr. Gribbohm is considering a lawsuit.

    The final headline I saw which confirmed my faith in the entertainment value of online news read: “Scientist Says Eating Boogers Boosts Immunity.” As reported by ABC, Scott Napper, who teaches biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan, questioned whether the “sugary” taste of his daughters’ “boogers” is meant to signal to the body that consuming pathogens caught in the mucus was a good thing. If you ask me, the bigger question is how Mr. Napper knows his daughters’ boogers taste sugary.

    “I’ve got two beautiful daughters, and they spend an amazing amount of time with their fingers up their nose,” Napper stated. “And without fail, it goes right into their mouth afterwards. Could they just be fulfilling what we are truly meant to do?” Apparently those long Canadian winters give biochemists too much time to think about things.

    Napper said that he is using his hypothesis to … uh-oh. I see my Sherpa walking up the driveway. And he has some rocks in his hands. Gotta go …

    Mark Albury lives in Northfield Falls.

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