Circling Fools version 2

Okay, alright,okay…um it’s strange to just randomly start from the beginning. But, okay, yeah, we were all at Morris like every summer. And, uh, one group decides to get in a a canoe and just sort of leaves us. And yeah (laughs), um, meanwhile four of us – Brit, me, you, and Nicole- are um, fucking around, and trying to figure out the paddle boat. And that took a long time.

Yeah and we had a big fight over who was well-equipped to paddle. And I definitely pulled some bullshit like having a skating thing the next day and guilted Brittany or you into it. I’m sure Nicole was in the back with me. And we were just telling you how wonderful you were for paddling, stroking your egos.

And uh we didn’t know which way the canoe went, there’s kind of a fork in it so we just picked a route and start going down it, you know, slowly but surely… and uh eventually at the fork um we start shouting for the canoe because you know, that’s our only way of dealing with things.

And as we’re sort of paddling, this one boat keeps passing us. And it’s got a man, who’s I guess 60 years old…and a young man with him who’s probably like 20.  So the first time, it’s common courtesy on the water, to wave to people and so we uh, we did. People are more friendly on the water, I think.

And then a couple minutes later, they pass again and so we wave again. And we’re thinking that it was kind of weird, like they kept smiling at us…pretty strangely.

And eventually, you know, we’re just stagnant. People are yelling at each other, probably Nicole was, even though she was in back. And eventually, uh that same boat came back and slows down and is just coasting past us.

And we’re thinking, “Oh God.” and the old man goes “Do you guys need help?” or something but we were all like “No, no, we’re fine, no problem, no, no.” and then the next thing you know they were circling us!

And we are feeling so vulnerable and we couldn’t even paddle away if we wanted to like we didn’t know how.

And the 20-year old guy takes out a rope and just starts like lassoing in the air. And I think we were all halfway laughing and halfway panicking. Just like, “Is he going to lasso us?”

And he passes the lasso to I guess his father and he fucking dives into the black water like the depths of this lake!

And we’re just sitting there and call out but don’t see him. Where is he? Where is he? And then he just puts his arms over the boat! And looks at us with this like grin on his face and goes (in a deep southern accent) “Y’all ever been tipped?” and we all look at each other and we’re not sure, just a mix between laughing and screaming.

But because we’re all pathologically polite from our Catholic school upbringing we’re just like “No, no, no, it’s fine.” But I feel like we need to get out of there.

And I remember you, (the collector), you were just laughing your head off, your turkey cackle laugh, and we are not moving and so I yelled at you and I just go, “Grace, FUCKING PADDLE!” (laughs).

But you don’t. And Brittany is sitting in this awkward position in the front and she’s not paddling either and I go “Brit what are you doing?” and that’s when I realize she peed herself. Are you kidding me?! And she gives me this like impassioned plea look she does sometimes and goes “Katie. I can’t. No.”

So I tell her to get out of the way and switch spots with her… and I had to sit in this girl’s PISS and…’cus she couldn’t move… and I paddled away from those fuckers (laughs a lot).

Then, we get back to the, um, the shore. And of course, our parents are there. We’re like strangely close to our parents… anyway, yeah, and we’re trying to tell them what happened and just laughing and freaking out.  And they just shrugged it off as if it were nothing! And we were all shocked at this, but eventually let it go.

So I guess all this was, Morris 2010? I think, not sure. But fast forward to 2013 or 2014, I feel like ’14, and yeah, so last summer, and we’re there and Brit’s uncle takes us for a pontoon ride and we bring it up because you know, we tell this story any chance we get, and he just looks up at us and knew who we were talking about. Like “Bob and Joe?” or I don’t remember their names but you know and he says “Keep your voice down…those guys cause a lot of trouble on this lake.”

And apparently, he tells us that they make their money, based on suing other people. And so now the son in estranged from his father and the father…(very loudly, animatedly) the father faced criminal charges for smacking someone in the head with a SHOVEL!!

Collector: When was the first time you told this story or it was told?

The second we got back to shore.

Why do you retell it?

Um… I think that uh, we retell it a lot because it is so characteristic of our friends to get into shit like that…and our reaction were so funny. Panic or laugh? And the fact that we um, we just really love that “Y’all ever been tipped?” line, definitely the climax of the story. It’s just shocking someone actually said that… he definitely said “y’all” but not sure if he was that Southern, now that I think about it.

Also our friends tend to embellish and you know, sensationalize, but this is fucking true.

After all these years, we realized we were in serious danger, like hit your head with a shovel kind of danger!

Context of the Performance: 

I asked the informant if she would tell this story specifically so we could compare with the Circling Fools tale previously posted, as told by another informant, Brittany. This was the first time she had told it individually, as it is generally a group performance, but this time she told it directly to the collector. The “you” she refers to is the collector, once again in this case, because she told it to me, a close friend.

My Thoughts on this Piece:

In both tales, (Circling Fools and Circling Fools, Version 2) the basic plot points are the same but some key details change, which is interesting and sort of speaks to the informant’s worldview. As mentioned in the first version of this tale, typically it is told by several people at once, with lots of interruptions so both informants felt odd telling it by themselves directly to one single person.