Friday, January 11, 2013

My 15 Minutes of Fame as a Nude Model

Ladies, ladies! - please stop screaming and gouging at your eyes ... it's not as bad as you think.

In her post yesterday titled Waiting for a Streetcar, Angel wrote about Tee Clothilde's brief (ha, ha) adventure as a lingerie model, complete with a photo of said lady - appropriately semiclad - waiting for her New Orleans streetcar.

That story reminded me of my own brief career as an unwilling and unexpected nude model. As John remembered in his comment on Angel's post, I wrote briefly about the episode in this post from February of 2009 ... but here is the whole story ...

It was the summer of 1969, and I had graduated from high school and was waiting to start my freshman year at Penn State. Looking for something to fill up the time, and not having a regular job, I decided to go to the Colorado Outward Bound School to spend a month at hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and generally experiencing life in the wild. I was assigned, along with a dozen other men from around the country, to Monitor Patrol*, which spent its time hiking and climbing in the Rio Grande wilderness of southwestern Colorado. 

About halfway through the course, we were scheduled to do a few days of rock climbing and rappelling at a place called Elk Creek, which we reached by riding in an open boxcar on the Durango-to-Silverton leg of the Denver and Rio Grande Western narrow gauge railroad. The train dropped us off at a place called Needleton, where it took on water and we pitched our camp on the grounds of an abandoned, half-built hotel (the builder had run out of money and given up years before). 

Needleton was on the banks of the Animas River (actually, Rio de las Animas Perdidas, the River of Lost Souls), and on the morning after we'd been dropped off, most of us decided to brave the icy water of the river to wash off a few weeks of accumulated wilderness grime. We crossed the river on a swinging rope-and-plank bridge from the campsite side to the railroad tracks side, stripped down, and waded out into the river to where the water was deep enough to wash.

We were out in the middle of the river, stark naked and bright blue with cold, when we suddenly heard the piercing shriek of a train whistle ... and the D&RGWRR came chugging out of the dense forest, slowing as it approached the tower to take on water. Tourists, mostly Japanese, were hanging out of every window to take pictures of the glorious mountain landscape, the abandoned and collapsing hotel, and the 13 naked men stuck in the middle of the freezing-cold waters of the Animas River.


Our clothes were all piled on the shore beside the train tracks, and as we sunk down to our necks in the icy water all we could hear was the sound of millions of clicking shutters, chattering teeth, and the pitiful squeak of our manly organs as they shriveled back into our bodies to a spot somewhere just below the diaphragm.  The tourists were laughing and waving and filming the entire impromptu Full Monty as the train crew took its good old time to fill the engine from the trackside water tank.

I expect there are probably people in Japan whose vacation slideshows from long ago feature a group of strapping young men, blue and shivering and wishing like hell they'd just put the cameras away and move on.

So ...

That was my 15 minutes of fame** as an accidental nude model. Trust me ... you wouldn't want to see me do it today.

Have a good day. Check railroad timetables before bathing in wilderness rivers. And come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday.


* Named for Monitor Peak.

 ** It felt like hours and hours and ... you get the idea.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

What a terrific story, Bilbo! And it would have to be a trainload of Japanese visitors all armed with cameras to document the breathtaking scenery of the mountains and other sites of interest. And it must have given you all a new understanding of Einstein's Theory of Relativity!

Glad you like the Tee Clotilde story, BTW!

Clarissa said...

I enjoyed the story of your plight!

Duckbutt said...

Unexpected nude modeling notwithstanding, that was a cool place for an adventure. I like that part of Colorado near Trinidad.

Alice Sycamore said...

Wish I had been on the train....giggles

Mike said...

And you guys didn't moon the train?

Bilbo said...

Angel, Einstein was the LAST thing on my mind at that moment!

Clarissa - Thanks! It's a great story ... in retrospect!

Duck - The Sangre de Cristo range and the surrounding wilderness areas are some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Alice - better then than now ;-)

Mike - a couple of the guys wanted to, but our patrol leader put a quick stop to it ... something about lawsuits or such..