Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wolves stalk fat Canadian shoppers

I was booked for a gig earlier this week at a big new shopping mall just north of Calgary. Family Day - the only stat holiday in February. I travelled up with Matts Zoumer, a cowboy caricaturist (ie cowboy + caricaturist, not a caricaturist who does pictures of cowboys. Though he does that, too), and as we arrived early we took a wander around.

Ended up in Bass Pro Shop. I think it was developed by conjoined twins who were obsessed with hunting/fishing/generally killing stuff, and museum curation, respectively. It's like the Natural History Museum surrounded by stuff you can buy.


Stuff including, but not limited to, giant shotgun shell shaped mailboxes, 1.5 litre beer mugs and camouflage negligees. I suppose for some women that's the only time their man is likely to buy them ANY lingerie, but it takes a certain type to want his half-naked partner to blend in with woodlands.

Every square inch of the substantial wall-space was covered in outdoor-scene murals that must have taken a team of painters months to complete, and I'd swear half the mammal population of Kananaskis provincial park has ended up stuffed and mounted in astonishing dioramas. Half a dozen bears, a dozen deer, twenty caribou (being chased by most of Alberta's wolf population), three amorous moose, two big-horn sheep and a partridge in a pear tree.

Here's a snap of the staircase between the upper and lower floors...

I titled this one "Wolves Hunting Fat Canadian Shoppers", but my friend Steve calls it, "Beaver Shags Float-plane".

The gig was good (out in the mall itself, not in the shop) - no shortage of people eager for free entertainment. Best moments - doing a multiple-selection card routine (ten cards selected and found in odd ways); I always remember the names of the people picking the cards. Not hard on its own, but a challenge with names you've never heard before. In one go I had a Japanese woman, two Africans, a Nepalese guy, two South Asians, an English family, a Spaniard and a young Chinese boy who kept correcting my pronunciation because I couldn't get the tone right. My Chinese sucks. I tried, but was probably inadvertently calling him something rather rude.


  1. Malcolm you are just beyond funny! I've been in this store once and quickly left. All the dead critters looking at me was too freaky.
    Would have loved to have seen your show and you trying to pronounce all those names! Oye!

  2. Perfect hilarious post with which to end my otherwise dull work day! If I could zap them, I would send you a box of the girl scout cookies I was strong-armed into buying. (Thin Mints. Not as good as they used to be, but what is?) Lovely photo of you wearing the antlers.

  3. We once bought Boy Scout popcorn from my nephew. Three years ago. I think our misguided generosity was responsible for him winning an award for 'most outrageous quantity sold' later that month.

    We still have some, if you're interested.

  4. Sounds like it was a great gig and the place had some character to it for spice. Camouflage unmentionables could almost be taken as an insult...or just make it harder to see things that shouldn't be seen in public.

  5. We call Bass Pro Shops and similar stores (Cabela's. Gander Mountain) "redneck heaven". :D

    My husband and his friends love to make the occasional pilgrimage to buy fishing gear and assorted manly items. I went with him once, nearly keeled over from the testosterone. ;)

  6. So, why just "fat" Canadian shoppers? Why not snotty kids, screaming toddlers or adolescents on cell phones? They'd be just as easy to catch and you would not appear to be fataphobic; Or are you? T'would be sad since we're just as nice (or as nasty) as anyone else.

  7. Given that the energy expended during a kill is relatively consistent (barring the extra fight put up by armed men and ninjas), a wolf will simply go for the most calories possible. Please don't be offended. I would do the same if I were really hungry.

    Devouring a screaming toddler or loud-mouthed cell-phone talker should be thought of either as 'sport' or 'public service', rather than 'survival necessity'.

  8. ...I've just noticed that two thirds of the portly gentlemen who inspired the above caption weren't in the frame as I snapped the photo. Now I understand the confusion.