I’ve decided to go walking on all of the nature trails in my general area.

My general area.

If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like me given my strained relationship with nature (i.e. it always poops on me and I absolutely refuse to poop on it, which is why the closest I’ve ever been to camping is that time I locked myself out of my car in the grocery store parking lot and was thus forced to sit on the concrete parking strip thing (You don’t know what it’s called either) and eat the entire carton of ice cream I had just bought while I waited for rescue).

(I never finished the original sentence I started there, but after so many asides, I bet you didn’t even notice.)

If you’re thinking that the only reason I would ever suddenly decide to start walking all the nature trails in my general area is because I’ve fallen prey to some sort of government mind control program…you’re kind of stealing my thunder, so cut it out.

On an unrelated note, I think I’ve fallen prey to some sort of government mind control program.  Here’s how it happened:

I was innocently walking my dog as I often do.  Dog and I have an unspoken agreement: If I take her walking, she lets me sleep at night.  If I don’t hold up my end, Dog waits until 2am and then starts practicing Irish Step Dancing across her half of the bed and sometimes my face.  And Dog does not accept excuses.  So I’m highly motivated to take her walking, even though that means going outdoors, which is where nature tends to accumulate.

We usually stick to the sidewalks, avoiding nature as much as possible.  Little did I know, sometimes sidewalks actually go THROUGH nature.

This particular day, I suddenly looked around and found myself in the middle of a grassy field that looked suspiciously like nature, even though I was still very clearly on the man-made anti-nature sidewalk.

That’s when we saw a large wooden sign.  It said something to the effect of:

Steven S. Stevenberg Natural Area

Free Maps Below

Brought to you by your local, possibly Canadian, government

So I helped myself to a free map, playing right into their hands.

The map was a map of all the trails within driving distance.  It looked something like this:


What you can’t see in that picture of the map is the mind-controlling ink they clearly used on the map.  Because instead of immediately recycling the map, I suddenly found myself saying, “Hey!  I bet I could walk all of those!”

And not only that, but I actually have been walking them.  I NEVER do the things I say I’m going to do (except for becoming a world famous blogger.  That’s the one exception.)

And that’s how I know the government is controlling my mind.

That, and I find myself using the phrase “tort reform” a lot.

But that’s not the worst part.  I’ve also become part of some sort of cruel psychological experiment.  That same government that told me I should go walking on all these trails also posts signs at every single one of the trails with threatening messages:

Warning: Cars parked at this trailhead are often broken into. Carry all valuables with you, including your car.

Warning: Frequent animal attacks take place in this natural area.  Guns are not allowed in this area, but are also highly recommended.

Warning: Nature is cruel.  Just get back in your car and seek shelter indoors.

Often these signs are accompanied by long instructions or pamphlets elaborating on the dangers.  I’ve never taken the time to read any of them (although I was tempted to read the one that was actually entitled “Lightning! Avoid It!”).  But I already know everything I need to know about interacting with nature.  Safe nature interactions can be summed up in 3 rules:

1.) You’re never safe in nature.

2.) If you do happen to find yourself in nature, try not to come in contact with it as it may cause rashes or hay fever, have teeth, quills, or stingers, and/or poop on you.  Absolutely never pick up anything you find in nature.

3.) If you do happen to pick up something you’ve found in nature, try not to lick it.

I came up with those myself and they have served me well.

On the up-side of all this government mind-control psychological experimenting forcing me to experience nature against my will, I did recently get inspiration for my next book.  I’ll call it:

Sticks That Look Like Snakes

A Coffee Table Book and Educational Guide
With a Forward by Samuel L. Jackson
Copyright 2017

I already have a plethora of pictures to use.  I’m very discerning, though, about which ones make the final cut.  When I see a snake-like stick, I tend to react like a surprised cat, jumping straight into the air and landing several feet to the side.  But if I land less than three feet to the side, then the stick doesn’t look enough like a snake to be included in my collection.

Here are some of my favorites:

Snake 1.jpg
Creepy, right?  This was a solid 4 foot jump.
Snake 3.jpg
This one looks like a giant python strangling a tree.
Snake 4.jpg
I’m still not convinced this one isn’t really a snake.

I foresee this book being very popular, much more than the other book idea I had, “Rocks That Look Like Poop and Vice Versa”.

In summation, if you can’t avoid lightning, at least try not to lick it.