What if I told you one of America's most treasured icons smells like farts and is boring?
Recently, I returned to Yellowstone National Park. The last time I visited, I was 9 years old and with my parents.
My parents didn't understand any of my many reasons I hated Yellowstone.
First off, Old Faithful smells like a room full of guys who were a little too ambitious in showing off how much spicy food they could eat. And it's dull. Why should I wait 94 minutes just to watch water spray up? I can see that at the fountain in the mall.
A display in a museum in our most famous national park scared me snotless as a kid. Yellowstone is on an active volcano. I didn't think volcanoes looked like giant forests, but the geysers, boiling pools and bubbling mud pits proved it.
Allegedly when Yellowstone erupts, the entire USA goes KABOOM! After learning that, I wanted to sprint the hell out of there, but Mom and Dad wanted to gawk at animals and trees. We could do that on the opposite side of the world! Let's go far away!
Mom and Dad tried calming me down with "Where's Waldo" and coloring books. Maybe they turned on our Raffi tape, which was the only music my parents let me listen to - probably why I hated music until I heard the Sex Pistols.
If I sat down and shut up, they said, we might see a bear in the wild. I thought that would be amazing! But couldn't we do the same thing at the zoo and save the risk of burning lava?
Signs informed me that animals used hot springs for warmth, so I thought we'd see critters taking showers. Unfortunately, wildlife doesn't bathe in the summertime.
During a hike, I thought peeing in a hot spring would be funny, but my folks wouldn't let me. Instead, I was supposed to use a smelly outhouse with bugs the size of vampire bats.
I made jokes about wanting to see the ravines and animals in Butt, Montana. Well, for the first few minutes, then I had to play the Who Can Be Quietest The Longest game.
Then we suffered a traffic jam. Why do so many nerds want to go to such a boring place? Wait, the stoppage wasn't because of cars, but buffalo! Bison walked so close to our minivan that I could smell them, but you don't really need to be nearby to get a whiff of hairy monster bulls.
Finally, at the end of the trip, I woke up a few miles away from our hotel. A bear crossed the road while I slept. No!
As a 30-something, I was much more impressed. I saw bald eagles, bison, antelope, deer, chipmunks and other animals. The museum taught me a lot. Being on a volcano didn't scare the snot out of me this time.
But the place still smells likes farts and I didn't see a bear or Old Faithful blow up. Oh well, there's always the zoo and the mall.