Typically we think of an “outdoorsman” as a person who hunts and fishes and rides four wheelers, while an “outdoorsy” person likes to climb or backcountry ski. I considered myself a person whose experience comfortably spans both worlds. But while having dinner with a pal last night, I realized that in fact I know very little about the outdoorsman world. My friend and I were trading funny stories, as is our wont, and we of course got into the topic of outdoor pooping gone wrong. I shared with him the story of one of my students crawling through his own poo pile and haplessly bringing the mess back to us when he handled group gear immediately after his bathroom misadventure. My friend, an Alaska Native who falls on the more Cabela’s-based side of outdoors gear, told me about a hunting trip that had featured a few scatalogical mishaps:
His hunting party of four had divided into teams of two. He was a member of the pair at the head of a valley, preparing to flush some deer down towards their companions, who had taken up a high position on a bluff. Just as they were about to start pushing the deer down the valley, nature called. “I have to shit,” one man proclaimed.
“Well, do it then,” said the other.
“Do you have any TP?” asked the first man.
“I’m not the one who has to shit,” said the other, by way of answer.
“All right,” said the first, and he began ripping at his shirt sleeve.
At this point I stopped my friend’s tale. “What do you mean, ripping at his shirt sleeve?”
“You can tell how many times a person has had to use the bathroom by how short their sleeves are; how many times they’ve had to rip off a piece.” He mimed sleeves getting shorter and shorter as they are sliced into service as TP.
I was nonplussed. “My entire world has changed. I’m going to be eyeing a lot of sleeves now. I had no idea this was a thing.”
“Well,” replied my friend, “The people who wear Patagonia probably do not use this method.”