So, this was my weekend…

“Let me ask you something,” the older man, I’m guessing Grandpa, says. “When you become a teacher, are you going to teach Evolution?” He takes a breath, hoping to drive the importance of his point home. “Or The Truth?” His son or daughter, their spouse, and his twelve-year old granddaughter all crowd closer, waiting my answer.

Damnit, and I was just starting to like this guy, but I can tell if I express my views to him, the whole family will shut down and I’ll have one crap-tastic tour. So, being diplomatic, I tell him I’m studying to teach Social Studies, and won’t have to deal with That Issue.

It seems to appease the mob and they settle down, and I go on telling them about the Black Hills’ gold rush. This was last weekend.

The above family may certainly be some of the wackier tourists I’ve dealt with (and if you don’t believe me, keep reading), but certainly not the only ones. See, over the summers I work at Big Thunder Gold Mine, teaching people about the history of gold in the Black Hills, showing them a “historical” mine, and teaching them how to pan for gold. And you can be sure in the ten years I have been there that I have seen my fair share of weird shit.

And I don’t mean weird shit like ghosts and stuff (that’s another story for another time), but just ridiculous people with mind-blowingly stupid questions. Some of my favorite questions (and responses I give) are:

“Where do you keep Mount Rushmore during the winter?” We deflate it, roll it up, and store it in Rushmore Cave.

(Refering to wind-generators) “What are those big turny things in the field?” The cows get awfully hot, so those fans keep them cool.

“Where can I go to pet a buffalo?” Actually, I should probably warn them that buffalo are dangerous and will most likely attack, but… maybe Darwin needs to win this one.

The list goes on. I understand that people are on vacation and need to turn off their brains a bit to relax, but really?

Also, a decade in tourism has taught me this very valuable lesson: We are not fucking snowflakes.

Not even close. So many people come through that look, act, and sound exactly like people who showed up a week ago. There’s the frustratingly bored teenager or mother who doesn’t want to be there, there’s the weird Eastern European families where the dad’s shout at their families the whole time, there’s the ADHD kids who have to try to break off pieces of rock from inside a gold mine, and the always annoying new parents with the baby that won’t stop crying (tours follow movie-theater etiquette folks, and if your baby cries, get it the Hell out).

Sorry, that started getting a bit ranty there. But the point is that, while there are billions of people on this planet, perhaps Jung’s ideas of archetypes is a little closer to the mark than the snowflake theory.

The other point, however, is that in ten years, I have never once come across a family like the one this last weekend. I mean, I heard that people believed that dinosaurs and man roamed the Earth together 6,000 years ago, but those people were the they out in the nebulous elsewhere. I’ve now had a close encounter. And the uncomfortableness didn’t end there.

At the back of the mine I begin to tell them how the further down you get, the hotter the rock becomes. Before I can mention that this is due to the fact that we’re getting closer to the Earth’s core, Grandpa pipes in with, “Well, obviously it’s because we’re getting closer to Hell.”

Then, in the same serious tone he’d used on me earlier, he leans in close and says, “You better teach your students about Hell. That’s important.”

Once more whipping out my my skills as a Diplomancer, I counter with the fact that I’ll have many different types of students in my classroom and that I just want them to grow up to be good citizens who ask questions and are good people.

“But,” Mom says, eyeing me shrewd eyes like she’s got a stumper, “How can you be good?” She beams and informs me that only those who follow God’s law are able to be good. I give a half-hearted nod and inform them that we’re running over time and have to keep going with the tour.

Now, by reading the not-so-subtle subtext you may be deducing my own personal views on the matter. However, that’s not the point of this blog. The point of this blog is to show you how weird my tourists are, and I think that these Fundamentalists are a choice example.

And they must have liked me, because they gave me a tip in the form of a tiny comic book!

Ok, this blog is getting away from me and morphing into something I’d rather it not. So before it does that, I’ll bid you farewell.

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2 Responses to “So, this was my weekend…”

  1. Reblogged this on Something's Brewing and commented:
    My friend here has to deal with crazies. I feel for him. Jeez.

  2. They spent 16 whole cents to try to save your soul. You’d better freaking repent!

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