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The Time Has Come for The Hunter-Gatherer Burka.

Jeff Ell SmallThe cops had me surrounded. I was lathered in sweat, my hands were stained with a dark liquid, and a yet unidentified substance was in a plastic jug around my neck. I was busted.

Three squad cars and four officers had responded to a report from a passing motorist that men with white chemical jugs around their necks were beating things with sticks alongside the road near a government property.

“All units-all units we have unknown suspects with possible chemical agents around their necks using sticks please respond.”

I can only imagine what the officers were thinking as they raced to the scene. Sightings of bushwhacking jihadist are not an everyday happening in these parts.

What they actually found must have been both a relief and a letdown.

They drove up on a dented-duct taped-peeling Toyota pickup parked legally along the road. No Al-Qaeda. No Wahhabist. Just a middle aged guy jogging their way. I kind of wished they had drawn their guns or at least thrown me down on the ground and whacked me behind the ear with a flashlight. It would have made for a more interesting story.

The boring explanation is that myself and an accomplice (who wishes to remain anonymous) were picking blackberries. The officers who showed up were great. They were professional, reasonable, and politely declined my offer to sample some of the fruit of our labor. I’m glad they follow up on all the calls they get, they never know which ones will turn out to be real.

I would also like to think that the passing motorist who called them simply didn’t take the time to think about what exactly someone would be terrorizing in blackberry brambles. That they were actually concerned about national security and such.

But unfortunately, I’m more inclined to think that they were part of an ever increasing number of self-appointed anti-outdoor-mutaween-citizen-butinskis who’s smart phones have become their weapon of choice for waging their war against their outdoor neighbors.

I wish I was over reacting. Unfortunately things like this seem to be happening more often than ever.

I’ve been yelled at by nosy boaters who demanded I tell them how I got to a side of a lake where there are no trails. I’ve had a homeowner blare a house alarm through loud speakers pointed into the woods when they saw my truck parked at a hunting access spot. If you’re an outdoorsy type I’m sure you’ve got some stories of your own, so feel free to leave a comment and tell us about it.

Thankfully we still have a few outdoor allies. I’m in the debt of another motorist who yelled out his truck window, asking if that was my truck back there … and if so they were getting ready to tow it. It was his warning that send me scurrying down the hill and lumbering back to my truck.

It’s sad that we live in such a time that so many citizens don’t even know what a wholesome activity looks like when they see it. I hope we never get to a point where sitting around a campfire or filleting a fish will become criminalized.

Reminds me of the story of Jesus and his disciples who got bashed by the Pharisees for picking handfuls of grain on the Sabbath. Never seems to be a shortage of folks who get upset when they see someone eating something for free or that isn’t wrapped in cellophane.

But I have a solution for this growing problem. Yes my friends the time has come for the hunter-gatherer burka.

Here are just a few of the benefits a burka would provide:

Head-to-toe camouflage and scent control during deer season.

Protection from thorns and insects while berry or mushroom picking.

Privacy while answering the call of nature.

Eliminate the need for sunscreen while fishing.

Anonymity while doing things that may not be completely kosher in eyes of our culture.

And if by chance, a burka wearing locavore got in trouble with the law, I’m sure there would plenty of lawyers ready to sue the pants off of anyone who had the nerve to call the cops on anyone wearing one.

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