Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Did I ever tell you about the time I got thrown in jail in Venezuela?


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.


  1. Hey, I've been wanting to hear this story...The Wife and The Mother in Law mentioned it at a RS Dinner once....that was always a fear in the back of my mind that when the time came I would not be able to leave!!!

    And keep those poor starving dogs out of this, will you? Have you no sense of descency? You must be the dog kicking type, Eh? I always suspected...

  2. Noooooo. I hate cliff hangers. Unfair to those of us in different timezones lol. *pout.
    Guess I will just have to come back again. (you knew I would anyway)

  3. Tease, tease, tease, tease, tease, tease, tease....the cliff hanger isn't going to be weeks is it, while we have to wait for the new season? I wouldn't be able to handle the suspense!

  4. omg the dog too funny and great post

  5. My hubby got chased by dogs on his mission too. Big nasty rottweilers!

  6. OMG the curiosity is killlling me

  7. I always thought Pres Andrus was 4-star. However, I just looked up his bio and he was a Major General, which is 2-Star, when he retired in '95.

  8. You have GOT to stop advertising that giveaway! You're decreasing my chances of winning every time!!!!

    And you need to tell me your secret for gaining almost 30 followers practically overnight!

  9. CLIFFHANGER!!! arrrgghhhh... If I had a rabies infested dog, I would send it to you. Can't wait for the conclusion.

    Mom Of Wild Ones

  10. a cliffhanger...?

    Y ustede se atreven a llamarse uno Catolico. (apologies if that doesn't even make sense- i had to guess on the translation from plural to singular. spanish isn't my forte.)

  11. Ummm... The link is to a hit and run death. I think you failed in changing the link. I love the pictures you added.

    To everyone else: I know the rest of the story so na na nanana...

  12. I love you for posting about stuff like this, but I hate you for leaving me hanging.

    Right now, my joshweed love-o-meter is teetering on the low end. I expect you to fix this in the near future.

    Just saying. =p

  13. Cilffhanger. Darn, I want to know what happens!

  14. well obviously they let him come home eventually. sorry to ruin it for the rest of you. I remember when this happened.

  15. I hate not knowing the end! BTW the dog picture is hilarious.

  16. Josh... I am sorely disappointed. I saw the title and was like, "oh! awesome story! must share with sister and her friend" so i told them to listen up to this blog i like to read. they were skeptical,
    "everything you say will be funny always turns out to not be, cassanndre" they told me.
    "it'll be different this time! it's not -me- telling the story, it's josh weed!"
    they reluctantly agreed to listen. so i'm reading it out loud to them, happy to be able to share some cool blog of some (supposedly) cool guy whose family i know and love.

    and what did i read to them?

    "I'm really tired and need to go to bed so this is a perfect time for a CLIFFHANGER!!!"

    i am sorely disappointed and have, because you and your cliffhanger, lost the confidence of my sister and her friend.

    tsk tsk tsk, josh weed.

  17. Wow. Okay. Here goes. This will involve lots of scrolling because I had to wait until work had ended, but... totally worth it. You guys are hilarious.

    @Leslie--Never did kick a dog, but I'm sure you know exactly what kind of mutts I'm talking about.Those things were vicious.

    @Mynx--Thanks for coming back! I'll try to be more time-zone considerate in the future ;-)

    @Twiglightgazing--Mmmmm, no not weeks. Probably days. Or hours. GET EXCITED!!!! (This would make for a great episodic TV show, though--totally.)

    @becca--Thanks! I know, isn't that dog awesome? I kind of want him as a pet.

    @Kate--Yeah, kind of an occupational hazard, that one. Also true for my time as a salesman in Puerto Rico.

    @AJ--and 2 and 4 average out to 3, so I was right! Perfect! ;-)

    @Christine--Here is my cryptic response, other than sheer awesomeness: your question contains your answer. Forsooth. And nonny. And ado. (Did that sound archaic and mysterious?)

    @MOWO--Ha! That would actually be pretty terrifying. I will try hard not to incur your wrath in the future!

    @YLIDHG--Love it. That was awesome! Did you also wave your finger at me? Because that would have been more powerful...

    @Her daughter--You're right! Thanks for pointing that out. I'm actually kind of horrified and called home and had Wife change it the second you commented--I meant no disrespect to the victims of that tragic situation. (For those who didn't see it, even thought I thought I had changed it, when I published the post I accidentally did link to the story of a missionary who was tragically killed on his mission. It was really, really sad, and not really something to joke around about.)

    @Catherine--I don't want to tip the scales of hatred any further! I'll post the next installment soon. Pinky swears.

    @The Golden Eagle--Coming soon!

    @Rob and Marseille--Um, hate to break it to you, but you're wrong. I'm actually still in Venezuela. Isn't the internet amazing? ;-)

    @Kari Marie--I will not do that again!

    @Cassanndre--I'm disappointed at your disappointment! Your rebuke is deserved. Cliffhangers = BAD. I'd hope they enjoyed the first section, except that makes the cliffhanger all the more glaring...

    @All--Sorry for getting all lazy and tired and premature-posty on this! I've learned my lesson. From this day forward, no cliffsies. Let's shake on it and I'll spit in my hand and then we can cut our fingers and share blood as "blood brothers/sisters" and give each other diseases. That's how much I promise.

  18. Looking forward to seeing that picture. And the second half of this post.

  19. @Ashley--Thanks! Working on it at this very moment.

  20. I don't know if responding to everyone's comments is a good policy decision. Especially because of the amount of growth your blog is experiencing.

  21. Love the dog picture, too funny! Hope I manage to find my way back here for the next installment. I could write a poem about it for MoP ;)

  22. So randomly I was reading through Facebook and clicked on your blog. Those were good times (nine years later, of course) and as more time passes I kick myself harder for not snapping a quick picture when we were in the back of the paddy wagon - there was nobody back there but us, and I think I could have gotten away with it. Do you still have the passport with the stamp? If you don't, I can scan mine in and send it for your next post. Hope things are well!

  23. @Dan--True. Volume is becoming prohibitive. But I'll do it for as long as I can!

    @Catherine--I'd love if you wrote a poem about it!

    @Glenn--YES! Send me the copy of your passport. Even if I have to post it later, I'd love to slap that up here sometime. Thanks! And thanks for stopping by and saying hello ;-)

  24. was you're mission president Thales Derrick?

  25. @Jenny--Actually no. His name is James Andrus.