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It’s The Pitts: Tule Man
Cattle Network 12/19/06 by Lee Pitts


The economy has been bad in the Klamath Basin of southern Oregon ever since our all-knowing government decided to shut off the farmer’s water in order to save some sucker fish. (These are the same fish that the feds spent decades trying to obliterate.) When residents complained that the region would go broke if their water was turned off the brain-dead bureaucrats told them the same thing they told the logging communities after the  spotted owl turned them into ghost towns: They would simply have to depend on other industries, such as the service trade and tourism. 


There are a few problems with this solution in the Klamath basin. If there aren’t any farmers who’ll  be left to provide services to? Sucker fish generally don’t buy a lot of groceries or need their carpets cleaned. As for tourism, there aren’t any Disneylands or Grand Canyons in the immediate vicinity and, being inland, cruise ships seldom dock there. For some reason summer vacationeers don’t go out of their way to see the sucker fish either. About the biggest drawing card for tourists is that there aren’t a lot of other tourists in the area competing for services.


The inhabitants of southern Oregon are resilient folks and just because the government is trying to depopulate the area doesn’t mean they’re going to tuck tail and run. Charley is a good example of the resourceful people who live there and he took the fed’s advice and tried to come up with something to stimulate the tourist trade. He didn’t own enough earth moving equipment to create a Bryce or a Zion and an Old Faithful-like attraction would require using some of the sucker fish’s water. He realized that the idea of creating a Civil War Battlefield was nuttier than Jamoca Almond Fudge and his hand-drawn Indian cave paintings looked a little phony. Then an idea hit him like a falling sack of spuds:  Britain has Nessy, their Loch Ness Monster and the far North has Sasquatch, so why couldn’t Charley give the Klamath Basin their own Big Foot-like creature? Charley called him “Tule Man” and ordered up lots of ash trays and T-shirts to sell to all the tourists traps that would soon be springing up.


Luckily for Charley there’s plenty of raw material to work with in the wild tules  that grow in the marshes all over the Klamath basin. He tied tules to every appendage of his body. They stuck out two feet above his head and made his arms six feet long. He attached the tules with orange fluorescent hay bale twine and chinked it all with mud. His entire body was covered in tules except for two small slits for him to see through. When Charley was done transforming himself into Tule Man he smelled worse than a wet coyote, but he was willing to make the sacrifice in order to save his community.


Next, Charley hid in a ditch alongside a two lane country road on a night that was so dark even the bats and raccoons stayed home. And then he waited.  Finally he heard a car. PERFECT! It was Mrs. O’Toole. No one had a better social network than her.


The elderly driver swerved to miss the hideous creature that lumbered across the road, making threatening gestures with its long stalks. After a brief glimpse in her headlights the monster disappeared from whence it came... into the tule marsh. If Mrs. O’Toole survived the experience she would surely spread the sighting of Tule Man far and wide. It wouldn’t be long before satellite trucks from all the major news networks would be camped out in Klamath Falls. Motels would be full of reporters and tourists.


Charley got rid of the evidence and went home to watch for reports of Tule Man but there was nothing on the morning news or the nightly news. The local newspaper carried not one word about the creature. In fact, Charlie heard nothing until he ventured into town to pick up a barrel of oil from his distributor.


As he was loading the barrel the fella on the dock said, “Mrs. O’Toole was in the other day and she said she saw you the other night crossing the road and you didn’t even wave or say hello.”

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