On September 10, 2007, TV cartoon comedy, "SOUTH PARK" spoofed presidential hopeful Al Gore by having his character make this statement.
I am here to educate you. You see there is something out there which threatens our very existence and may be the end of the human race as we know it. I'm talking of course, about Manbearpig. It is a creature which roams the earth alone. It is half man, half bear and half pig. Some people say Manbearpig is not real. Well, I'm here to tell you now, that Manbearpig is very real and he most certainly exists--I'm cereal. Manbearpig doesn't care who you are or what you've done, Manbearpig simply wants you. I'm super cereal. But have no fear, because I am here to save you. And someday, when the world is rid of Manbearpig, everyone will say, Thank you Al Gore--you're super awesome! THE END !
KNOWN FOR HIS "OUT-OF-TOUCH" ENVIRONMENTAL IDEALS, GORE IS PICTURED ABOVE WITH AN ARTIST'S RENDERING OF MANBEARPIG.
I would prefer to disagree with Mr. Gore on many subjects but NOT Manbearpig. The truth is, I saw this monstrosity with my own eyes in 1991. I have been in the closet on this tender issue for such a long time. I found comfort in denial until that "SOUTH PARK" episode brought me back into the naked light of truth, justice and the American way ! Therefore, I'm now proud to say, that I'm just as cereal as Gore.
I visited Ocean City Maryland ten-plus times from the late-80's until 2002. I liked it there so much, I once said I'd do a pro bono TV commercial for them. One of their big attractions is Assateague Island State Park which is the home of wild, miniature ponies. While they are cute and fun to look at, they are not in the same league as Manbearpig.OUR FIRST OCEAN CITY VISIT WAS WITHOUT MOTEL RESERVATIONS ON 4th OF JULY WEEKEND. AT 2:AM, WE WOUND UP 30 MILES WEST IN SALISBURY AND COULDN'T GET A ROOM THERE EITHER. WE SLEPT IN THE CAR, IN A SUPER MARKET PARKING LOT. WE WASHED UP AT 6:30 IN MR. DONUT'S RESTROOM.
One year that we didn't go to Ocean City was 1991. We were searching for greener pastures and found out the hard way that Virginia Beach wasn't the answer. That tourist trap was crowded, our motel was dilapidated and we had an ultra-terrible experience at the Black Angus Steakhouse. That's the restaurant in Tidewater with a statue of a giant steer on the roof. We should have been satisfied with the cheap thrill of the weird snapshot of the enormous cow but we ate there too.
Our cramps hadn't completely subsided the next day when I vented my displeasure to a fellow disenchanted traveler at poolside. He said his clan just came from paradise, a place called Nags Head North Carolina.
Back then, Nags Head's lure was its rich pirate history and the state-of-the-art Wright Brothers Museum in the adjacent town of Kill Devil Hills. A well kept secret, unexploited by commercialism, it was quiet, beautiful and inexpensive. So much so, I likened Nags Head to a romantic secluded island. At night, floodlights indirectly lit the unspoiled beaches. It was fascinating, (for the first five minutes) to watch the ubiquitous crabs scurrying over the shadowy sand mounds. However by comparison, one glimpse at a Manbearpig would leave a lifetime impression.
ORVILLE AND WILBUR WERE BICYCLE MAKERS FROM DAYTON OHIO. THEY CHOSE THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA BECAUSE IT COMBINED HIGH WINDS FOR LIFT AND SOFT BEACH SAND TO REDUCE DAMAGE AFTER CRASHES. THE FIRST MOMENT OF FLIGHT TOOK PLACE IN KILL DEVIL HILLS. THE REASON KITTY HAWK GETS THE HISTORICAL KUDOS IS...THAT'S WHERE THE CLOSEST TELEGRAPH WAS LOCATED.
Another neighboring town was Roanoke Island. It featured a restored village full of quaint shops and boasted re-enactments of the early Europeans settling the New World. Plus, the day we were there...by ten minutes...we missed seeing mega-celebrity Andy Griffith getting crapped on the shoulder by a tern.
Griffith is best remembered as the star of such movies as, "NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS," "A FACE IN THE CROWD," and "RETURN TO MAYBERRY." As well as the hit TV program, "THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW." Though we regret missing the joy of witnessing Griffith scrape bird crud off his shirt, our impending excitement of sighting Manbearpig clearly made up for it.
The Nags Head's area dried up for us rather quickly. That's when we got the idea to go further south to Cape Hatteras. Cape Hatteras is famous for three things: Its lighthouse, being a hurricane magnet and fishing. We don't fish so we visited the lighthouse first.
In this tiny dot of a burg, we weren't expecting to find an animal more interesting than an okapi, mini-pony, gigantic steer statue, countless crabs or a bombardier tern. So after we parked near the lighthouse, we crossed a small wooden bridge that spanned marshland. On the other side, a bunch of turtles were being gawked at by a group of folks but we ignored them.
I soon became aware of circling gulls overhead. I took into account the possibility of them having a delicate bowel condition and deadly aim but forged ahead for ten minutes to our destination. When we got there, it took 17 seconds to read the sign: DUE TO HEAVY BEACH EROSION, THE PUBLIC IS BARRED FROM ENTERING THE LIGHTHOUSE. THE LIGHT'S FOUNDATION WAS RECEIVING SUBSTANTIAL STRUCTURAL RENOVATION. MONTHS LATER AFTER THE PROJECT WENT OVER-BUDGET, THE PLAN WAS SCRAPPED. EVENTUALLY, IT WAS DISMANTLED, PROVIDED WITH A STURDIER BASE AND RE-BUILT FURTHER INLAND.
On the way back to the car we saw a shack that was called the "HURRICANE MUSEUM." It had an interesting collection of artifacts that had washed ashore after storms. Some of these mementos included WWII items from both Allied and Nazi ships and submarines. The museum also had great paintings and photos with lists of area fatalities and damage reports.
Afterwards, before getting to the marsh bridge that led to the parking lot, we thought we saw people watching the same turtles. Except this time, the crowd was agitated. We detoured down there. Then across the water (200 feet away) was the strangest shaggy brown animal I ever saw. It walked on all-fours but was too stout to be a dog and too large to be a rodent. Its humped back gave it the general shape of a small/medium-sized bear or giant, woolly swine. It sniffed along the opposite shore as everyone called out guesses of what it might be. Everyone was so enraptured that no one laughed when an old-timer shouted, "It's a damned Yeti !"
Unfortunately, this was the pre-cell-phone era. We didn't have a camera and neither did anyone else. Maybe we could have made history had we been able to document this discovery.
Down through the years, I have questioned everyone I have met from the Carolina Outer Banks...but no one knows what I'm talking about or believes me. I never appreciate their dubious looks so I've learned to keep my research to myself. In the privacy of my computer room, I tried Google and other search engines but was left clueless.
That is...until I heard Al Gore's Manbearpig speech and saw his photographic evidence, (see pictures from first three paragraphs above).
Although the lighting may not be as good and my memory has become shaky, I feel strongly that this my friends proves the existence of Manbearpig...and yes indeedy, I saw it !
While its important to intellectually separate myself from Al "The Global-Warming King" Gore, (only a yutz would think inventing E-Mail is such a big deal). Still, I support him on this singular topic. I also understand that the Manbearpig he saw and I saw are probably different critters. Perhaps they were distant cousins or mine was a Girlbearpig. When you consider how ugly the one I saw was...you can see why the species usually travels alone.
More importantly, I hereby proclaim another installment of Edelblum Mystery Theater to be solved. Thank you Al Gore, you're super awesome. No, really, I'm cereal.
If the former vice-president is not already a reader of this column, I will notify him of the danger to our national security lurking in the shoals of North Carolina. Good luck to all of us !