Legless George wasn’t always legless. In fact at one time he had two perfectly good legs, one on either side of his body, and had full command of how they worked. He did not always exercise the best decision-making protocol as to when, or when not to use them as we shall see momentarily. But first let me back up a little so you can understand George or Legless, as we came to call him, a little more fully.
George Clemency Baxter was an intern here at *The Institute during what we liked to call our Yellowstone days. He was a cheerful chap full of enthusiasm and a burning desire to observe and get close to our friends the grizzly bears who resided in the park. He was always the first in line to volunteer to help position the bears into the proper poses we needed for our photographs and had developed a close relationship with several of them including Crystal Hamstringer our lovely young female subject pictured above. Normally George and Crystal had a close working relationship, some would say too close, and that perhaps there were some unspoken feelings spoken by George at the wrong time, in the wrong place and that may have led up to what occurred next.
As near as we can put together from George’s mumbling then screaming then mumbling again, it was Crystal’s birthday and he may have made some off-color reference to her age or her disposition and then the rest gets a little fuzzy. According to George who was understandably upset and was having difficulty remembering the exact sequence of events what with all the growling, screaming, chewing and swallowing noises, not to mention the rending and tearing that was going on. And due to the fact that he was having all two of his legs tore off by a petulant grizzly it was hard to hear just what exactly he had said that caused this reaction in a normally well-mannered bear like Crystal. It ‘s been said that women or we should say females in general, don’t need much of an excuse to tear a fellows legs off even when they’re not having a birthday so it could have been anything.
Of course by then the damage such as it was, was done. George was legless, Crystal was upset and the situation had deteriorated to its lowest point. We were all pretty bummed. It was then that another intern, I forget who, said “Hey! Lets call him Legless.” and the hilarity ensued. Fortunately we had some 4×4 gauze pads and ace bandages in the trunk of the Bokeh Maru our lead expedition vehicle, and we got George bandaged up enough to get him to the Ranger station even though we were laughing so hard we lost those little metal things that hold the ace bandages in place and had to tie a Bowline knot to keep them there. Their medico’s got him ready for transport to the legless ward in Boise fairly quickly. Of course telling us that, the going to the legless ward part, got the whole legless thing going again and there were people staggering all over the place saying “Legless, legless” and snorting through their noses and just generally trying not to wet themselves and we all got tossed out of the Ranger station but it was all in good fun. Legless was off to get fixed up, see there we go again, we just can’t stop saying Legless. We went back to tell Crystal how George was doing and to recover our camera which George had left there.
It was then that we noticed how blurry the image was and how difficult it is to see George’s left leg but look close and you can see it dangling from her mouth, or it might have been the right one it’s really hard to tell which one Crystal was holding, and as Crystal was still in a snit we didn’t opt for any more shots right then. Legless was pretty P.O’d at us for not retrieving his legs as he had some misguided idea that they could be reattached but Crystal had made fairly quick work of that prospect.
We guess the moral of this story if there is one, is don’t make any but the blandest comments to a birthday bound female if you want to keep your legs. We recommend something like “Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.” or “I’m not making any age related jokes because I generally feel bad about how old you are.” or our personal favorite ” Your birthday reminds me of the old Chinese scholar, Yung No Mo.” All of these are preferable to whatever it was that Legless George said. We think.
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