Throughout my life, I have been very fortunate to have come into contact with a ton of really crazy people. I don’t mean crazy like Wow, she has two different socks on, I mean crazy like Oh my God, she just took off her prosthetic leg and is screaming at me to help find her cigarettes!!! Some might call it a curse, but I have always considered it a gift and I am more than willing to share it with you. I have talked about life at the Fat Camp before here and here, but the absolute best part of living there year-round was that there was always an assorted bunch of lunatics running around to keep me entertained. I will give in and admit that I wasn’t sober for more than eighty percent of the time that I lived there, but still – there were some really crazy peeps out there in the woods.
The whole family went out for my aunt’s birthday dinner and it wasn’t long at all before she actually threw me out of the restaurant. We hadn’t even gotten our appetizers served before the Camp Chef, Joe, started to describe his very first alien abduction. I was obviously caught off-guard by this and immediately started hysterical laughing because it was the first time I was hearing any of this. You would think someone would have prepared me for it because they had already heard these stories multiple times. Naturally I thought he was kidding or, more likely, mentally ill. After a menacing glance, my aunt told me that in case I didn’t know it, it’s very rude to laugh in someone’s face and then she kicked me under the table. That kick really hurt which was misleading because she’s a short and stubby little one but those hooker clogs she was wearing really did a number on my ankle.
I tried to stop laughing, but he kept going on…And on…And on. I know that I’m immature, but come on I thought for one split-second that I might have actually been the one abducted and was sitting with the alien pods because they were hanging on his every word. It was right at that moment when the nickname “UFO Joe” was born and solidified. Maybe it was the alcohol or my natural smart-ass nature that made me do it, but when he was done I proceeded (as serious as I could) to tell him about how my friend Fallon was also abducted by aliens (and not the illegal kind by the way) when she was living in Los Angeles. I was explaining how hard it was for her because her husband Jeff and her father Blake didn’t believe her…when my Aunt hauled off and kicked me under the table again. That bitch could really work a clog if you know what I mean.
Apparently, she could tell that I was talking about Season Two of the underrated classic The Colby’s but UFO Joe was empathizing and saying how hard it must have been for Fallon…Then (catching on) UFO Joe looked at me like I was the crazy one and said “You don’t believe me? You want to see proof?” Before I could even answer like Whitney Houston and say “Hell to the No”, he unbuttoned his shirt and thrust it open to reveal a huge bloody gash where he had ripped open his skin and dug through it with a paper clip. Right there at the table! Waitress, please cancel the Nachos!
As I was trying not to throw up from the site it, he was going on about how he was positive that they left a tracing probe implanted in his chest and he wasn’t going to stop looking until he found it and removed it. That gash was so deep and disgusting and gooey that it actually looked like there was a vegetable lasagna platter sitting on his chest; it was obviously infected but he was convinced that the aliens had planted the infection as well. I innocently asked if he thought that using a dirty paper clip to bore through layers of human skin while searching for a tracing probe could possibly cause an unrelated infection to the original alien infection that was placed there – but I got the evil eye. My Aunt threw me out before I could get an answer from him, but at least it wasn’t another kick under the table!
I am not the type to suffer fools gladly and I am also not a mature person in the presence of crazy people. I couldn’t help but laugh as I sat alone on a stool at the bar next door. I did make a few new friends at the bar and then sang karaoke, but it kind of loses a little something when you’re throwing out an Eric Carmen remix with no one there to see it. All by Myself was my signature song, but it was never truer than that night at the bar. This was the first time that I got a dose of UFO Joe and his insanity, but not the last time.
UFO Joe lived at the local bar that we used to go to every day. There was a barn on the side of the bar and he lived in an apartment above it. He had a small porch and a view of cows in a field that always smelled like shit – but he wouldn’t change it for the world. That is until he moved into the house right next to ours at the camp. The camp had almost 250 acres of open space but where do they put the craziest person in three states: fifty feet from where I sleep naturally.
He was crazy, but harmless for the most part. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself. It took them a while, but they finally did convince me that it wasn’t weird to see UFO Joe barbecuing chicken on his outdoor grill while wearing ONLY an apron. I was obviously disgusted by the sight of it, but actually more concerned that there might be a sudden fireball from the barbecue. (Don’t laugh – It actually happened to me; why do you think I won’t barbecue anymore? There was a huge WHOOSH followed by a big ball of flames shooting upwards from the grill, up my body and face, and then up the side of the townhouse and my wife went inside and shut the sliding glass door! Granted I was screaming like a nine year old girl and my arms were flailing around, but I was lit up like a roman candle and not even an “Are you ok?)
It was truly disgusting, but my real concern was that if UFO Joe’s back hair were to spontaneously ignite, he might spread into a literal wildfire and burn the entire camp down. As unbelievable as that thought was, when I told my aunt she said I was crazy. If that doesn’t give you a clear picture of my aunt’s oddball mindset – nothing will. There’s a naked, middle-aged, alien abducted man grilling chicken clad only in a red and white checkered apron steps away from us and I’m the crazy one.
As if UFO Joe being shishka-bare while cooking wasn’t enough, he’d blast his music as loud as his speakers would go and play opera or 70’s Classic Rock all night long. You did kind of get used to the noise after a while and I could never get him to admit it, but after a while, I actually started to think that maybe he was implanted and that through the the music was sending signals back to the mother ship…That’s when I knew that it was time to get out of the woods and leave the Fat Camp for good.
Needless to say, the Fat Camp was a fun place to be if you needed a good laugh and there were always plenty of crazy people around to break up even the darkest days. At least it was never boring…