DeVos: Squonk sighted in Tabernash |

DeVos: Squonk sighted in Tabernash

Jon DeVos
Staff Photo |

Young people often come up to me and ask, “Jon, what should I do with my life?”

The answer to that question carries grave responsibility. A frivolous answer might send a young man or woman careening down an irresponsible, twisted life-path until one day they wake up badly sunburned wearing glow-in-the-dark disco attire at Burning Man.

So I reach deep into an immense wealth of experience and life-knowledge before thoughtfully resting my chin between my thumb and forefinger while squinting thoughtfully off to the third star on the left. Then I lean in close, glance furtively in both directions and whisper, “cryptozoology”.

I take in their puzzled look for a moment before explaining that cryptozoology is the relentless quest for monstrous creatures called cryptids. Their puzzlement compounds when I explain that cryptids are a unique subset in the animal kingdom, distinguished for the most part, by not existing.

They stare back for an equal moment before asking, “Umm, why would I blow an MBA on something like that?”

“Three words,” I reply, “Loch Ness Monster. The last cryptozoologist blew, as you put it, a cool $3.5 million of some rich guy’s money on what amounted to a six-week vacation. A Scottish castle renovated into a luxury B and B, beautiful scenery, delightful wine, and lots of ever-vigilant time spent on the lookout for something that isn’t there.”

“That does sound pretty awesome,” they say, looking at me with a new respect, “Is it really all that great?”

“Absolutely, well, except for the haggis part. That part sucks, but I’m sure the foundation would fly in Chik-fil-A from DIA on weekdays. But Nessie’s only one in a million. The world’s full of things that don’t exist. However, one huge resource that does exist is gullible rich people willing to pay huge sums for rare things that nobody else has. I can guarantee you that cryptids are the rarest!”

I let them ponder that before driving my message home, “Some might think that the cryptid’s lack of existence would make them difficult to find. But if your goal is to find something that isn’t there, then the height of your success can only be measured by the depth of your failure. Modern cryptologists don’t even have to go to Scotland. Google has a boat in Loch Ness that you can watch through Street View.”

“But if it’s that easy wouldn’t looking for Nessie be a crowded field?”

“Good to see that MBA’s not wasted,” I say, “that’s why I need 15 percent of the money you raise going after the squonk.”

“The what?”

“For this one you won’t even need a passport,” I tell them, “Squonks are small, ugly, wart-covered creatures hiding in the thick forests of northern Pennsylvania. There’s enough scientific evidence of their existence to fool rich suckers … excuse me, to mount a convincing case for philanthropic assistance.”

“Evidence? I thought you said they didn’t exist.”

“The first mention in scientific literature is the 1910 classic, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, by Bill Cox. According to his study, squonks are so depressed by their hideous appearance that they spend a lot of time crying and turn into a small pool of tears when frightened.”

“Is that it? That’s your scientific evidence?”

“Of course not,” I assure them, “Steely Dan sang about the squonk in their 1974 album, Pretzel Logic, but the real clincher came two years later, when Phil Collins of Genesis wrote “Squonk” about a hunter who caught one, but got home with only a bag of water. Taken all together, it makes a compelling argument for my 15 percent.”

Cryptozoology! A career path off the beaten path, searching for creatures who have never traveled any path.

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