I give up.
Ever since I started doing this column and collecting weird stories, I've been waiting for the Holy Grail of weirdness to show up — a story so bizarre, so strange, so ridiculously odd that all stories after that seem pale imitations.
And then, when the story does arrive, it comes not from one of my contributors but the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office, and it's given to Advocate reporters Josh Axelrod and Youssef Rddad. (Who to their credit reported it straight, without bad puns or off-color allusions — which I wouldn't have been able to do.)
The story, of course, is The Lady and the Camel, about a woman's encounter with Casper the camel at a Grosse Tete truck stop.
I won't go into details here — you'll have to read it for yourself — but it's about something no male creature wants to happen to him; trust me on this, ladies. …
Now I know for sure I'll never have a story to top that one, so what's the use going on?
I'm bummed out … but not as bummed out as Casper. …
Speaking of large animals, here's one from our LSU Nostalgia file, from Donald Landaiche, of Donaldsonville:
"In 1956, I was a student ay LSU. Mike I, our tiger mascot, had died. His body was stuffed and placed in the Foster Hall Museum.
"It was announced that Mike II would be arriving by helicopter on the Parade Ground. Several of my fellow students and I went to join the crowd waiting for the arrival.
"It was quite a sight watching the unloading of our newest mascot."
(Unfortunately, Mike II, who had come to LSU from Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, died of pneumonia in spring 1958.)
Hayden Berey adds to our story about little brother Joe and Perry Snyder, who as kids wanted to swap mothers:
"I have an insider's view of the entire negotiations, which failed because of a dispute over a cowboy hat Perry refused to return to Joe — a hat that was mine, not Joe's."
Larry Greenblatt adds to our story about resistance to German cars after World War II:
"The '60s and '70s were times of the foreign car invasion. My brother, working in Hollywood, bought a BMW.
"My mother and father would go out to visit him from time to time. My father, being Jewish, had been very touched by the war. My brother told me he did not have the courage to tell my father he had bought a German car, so he kept renting cars for their visits.
"After 10 years, he finally went to pick up my parents in his new Beemer, bracing himself for arguments and disdain.
"Instead my father said, 'What did you do with the old BMW?'
"My dad had known and kept it to himself. To the day he died, though, he never bought a foreign car."
Kathleen tells of the time in the mid-'70s when a friend who had an orange Beetle awoke after a late night at the Ding-A-Ling Club:
"Her mom asked where her car was. After searching, she found it jammed between her house and the neighbors.
"I can't mention her name; we are still close friends."
Special People Dept.
Ola Mae Tweedy, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 99th birthday Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "As chairman of the district attorneys' retirement system, I have had to listen to our actuary explain how the determination is made for the expected rate of return to provide benefits to our members. It is mind boggling.
"At one of our recent meetings, I told the story of a Texas rancher who drove an actuary across his large ranch. After the trip, the rancher inquired as to what he thought about it, and the actuary said the ranch had 5,000 head of cattle.
"When asked by the rancher how he came to that conclusion, the actuary said, 'I counted all the legs and divided that by four.'"