In the 50’s and early 60’s I spent nearly ten idyllic summers in NY ‘s Catskill Mts, first as a camper, then as a counselor. It was a wonderful experience for a kid from the hot, steamy Bronx: a whole new world of woods, lakes, streams.
One of the joys was the weekly cookouts. Sitting around the fire, with hotdogs, hamburgers, Kool-aid, and s’mores. And I think I was ten years old when my counselor, after several inspired ghost stories, told our bunk that he had a special treat for us that night: we were going on a snipe hunt.
I’d never heard of that before. Indeed, I knew not what a “snipe” was.
Now, I must digress a bit. To those of you familar with the search for the elusive snipe, I hope now that you’re smiling; recalling those innocent times in your youth. For those of you perhaps unfamilar with this pecular exercise, I shall endeavor to briefly explain.
A “snipe hunt” is a wild goose chase, a fool’s errand, an elaborate practical joke, a hopeless quest. It involves those “in the know” convincing those ” not in the know” that they are about to embark on a hunt to find a mythical bird call a “snipe,” which inhabits the adjacent woods, comes out only at night, and is incredibly difficult to find. Indeed, the term “sniper” derives from this exercise.
There are a multitude of strategies for capturing the elusive snipe. Most are regionally based. Ours involved tennis rackets, pillow cases, sneaker laces, hiding concealed in the woods, attempting a particular whistling sound, and endlessly chirping “snipe!” “snipe!”
Reading the accounts of the MSM caravan blindly following Palin all over the country, hither and yon, here and there, I was struck by the similarity of these two events. What is the MSM searching for? A candidate? a non-candidate? Evidence of her popularity? Evidence of her falling popularity? A platform? An issue? The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, perhap? A skilled politican? An oafish buffoon? They’re all out there, and then again, they’re not. The MSM hasn’t the slightest idea what they’re desperately looking for, but by Gawd…they’ll keep looking, and looking, and looking.
And the Palins, and we conservatives…well, we’ll continue to enjoy watching, and reading all about it, especially when the MSM plaintively admits that it has no idea what it is doing..running around the woods in the dark.
But I do have wonderful news for the MSM. As much as I enjoyed the snipe hunts, first, as a “hunter,” then as one who organized and led the “hunts, ” there was an even greater experience awaiting soon after. My freshman year in college, as an eager-to-please frathernity pledge, I was introduced to the gentle sport known as a “scavenger hunt.”
Again, there are multiple regional variations. But the basic rules are these. The fraternity brothers, after the stimulus of multiple kegs of beer, pool their besotted minds, and conjure up lists of objects that the pledges are required to bring back to the house in an alloted time period, thus to complete the mission.
Attending school as I did, in an urban environment, the challenges,and opportunities, were limitless. We were dispatched in groups of 4-5, after midnight, stripped of any ID, and with no money. And this was waaaaay before cell phones…even before pagers. And happily for us, before the police started arresting people for turnstile jumping.
My group’s particular targets included, among others, the signature of the judge at night court, a park bench, a bra sized for an exceptionally well-endowed lady, and the doorman’s cap at the Plaza Hotel. We succeeded in bringing back everything on our list.
Oh you lucky MSM people. As we get deeper and deeper into the campaign season., I can’t wait to see what will be on Sarah’s list, what she sends you out searching for, hoping to retrieve. Enjoy.