Well, shame on me. It's an important story.
Once upon a time I went to live for two years in South America as a Mormon missionary during which time I lost almost 100lbs, talked to people in a form of pig-Latin I have since come to understand is "Spanish," and got chased by a lot, and I mean a lot of mangy, nasty rabies-infected dogs who had lost their hair.
I never got bit, either. Because I'm pretty brave. And also because I learned early that if you get up in the dog's face and start shouting louder than it is barking, and then shove your scripture case thing in its face like it's gonna get hurt, they usually run away. And if they don't, you don't have to worry. You're a missionary. God will protect you. Except when He doesn't. (Originally this linked to the news story of a missionary who died a horrific death, but the board of directors (i.e. Wife and her sister) both said "NO. Too brutal." So instead you get a story about a snowball fight.) But, thankfully I was spared and was never bitten by a dog. Or killed by the several guns I saw pulled.
At the end of these two years, I was exhausted. I was ready to go home and see my family and marry the beautiful Pre-Wife who had just finished a "Spanish" speaking mission of her own in Florida.
So, the fateful day arrived. I packed my bags, said good-bye to good friends and to a people and country I loved, and was driven to the airport with the Mission President who, before this, also happened to be a Three Star General in the Airforce. I mention this because it's kind of relevant. But only kind of.
I was excited. The airport was tiny and uncomfortable but I didn't care. I could see the plane. I could feel the cool Oregon air on my skin. I could smell the scent my Mom's fake "I don't cook" cooking in my nostrils. I could already see the looks of surprise on my family's faces when they saw me looking 100lbs. lighter than when I'd left. I could already feel the warm embrace of Pre-Wife as we held each other for the first time in two years. This was HAPPENING. I was DONE. Yaaaaay!!
And about that moment in my thought process was when some fastidious airport worker asked to see our passports again. For no reason.
Sure, Airport Security Person, we said (there were eight of us leaving). Go ahead. And so the fastidious airport worker took our passports and went and talked to a bunch of other fastidious people who were feeling a bit Anti-USA, and things started getting dramatic, and I suddenly felt like I was in a Hispanic Telenovela entitled "Maldrones De Los Estados" which roughly translated is "THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS GIVE ME BACK MY PASSPORT SO I CAN FLY HOME AND MAKE OUT WITH PRE-WIFE." When he came back he was like (in Spanish) "The four of you who have stickers on your passports are free to board the plane. Those of you with stamps, come with me."
And then we got taken to isolation. Where we were questioned about nothing. For hours.
And we were read our Miranda Rights, or whatever the equivalent to that is in Venezuela, but which I'm pretty sure they copied off of Law and Order and then translated.
I'm really tired and need to go to bed so this is a perfect time for a CLIFFHANGER!!! In the next installment of this story, you'll hear about how I became an urban legend and a faith promoting rumor! Also, I ride in a paddy-wagon. And hopefully I finally stumble upon the box that has my mission pictures and you can see my impression of weighing as much as Jabba the Hut.
Nice to meet you. My name is The Weed before Venezuela
Wait, before the cliffhanger, I want to tell you one of my favorite parts. When we were sitting there being questioned, one of the airport workers came in and in the most self-righteous, disparaging tone ever wagged his finger at us and said "Y ustedes se atreven a llamarse Catolicos" which means "And you dare to call yourselves Catholics."
Not so much.
Oh, also if you haven't entered my contest to win a gift certificate to The Cheesecake Factory and a vibrator called The Little Thumper (you know--to say thanks for reading), click here.
Okay now the cliffhanger music: DUM DUM DUUUUUUM
UPDATE: Itching for part II? Click here.
Photo attribution here and here.