If you are looking for something cheap and easy to do in Provo, Utah, I would strongly suggest that you go visit the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, which is conveniently located right next to Deseret Towers at BYU. I consider this convenient because it is where I lived for eight months. At Deseret Towers, I mean. Not at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. Nothing lives at the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. The sign near the door says that the museum is a monument to “man’s relationship with animals,” and of course all the animals inside are dead, thus summing up man’s relationship with them.
I lived in Deseret Towers for nearly two entire semesters before I finally got around to walking across the parking lot and going inside the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner, too, because there have been weeks where I have been in much greater need of a column idea than this week.
But it’s just one of many things I always wanted to do but never got around to it. I always wanted to dress up as Mormon Man, and have someone else dress up as BYU Boy (these are two superheroes I made up), and barge around campus at night, breaking up the couples who were making out in the many strategically located Official BYU Campus Make-out Spots. I think this would have been a lot of fun. “Hey, you two!” I would say in a deep, authoritative voice. “Stop what you’re doing right now! I am here by order of Rex E. Lee to stop this pernicious activity! Now go home and do some homework!” Then BYU Boy would say, “Yes, be gone with you!” and we would barge away. I think that would have been great.
But alas, I never got a chance to do it before leaving BYU for the summer, and for my mission. And I know I’ll be far too mature to do it after my mission. That, or I’ll be one of the people making out. Either way, it looks like I’ll never be Mormon Man, except in my daydreams, and perhaps on rare occasions, when the situation calls for it, while I’m tracting in the mission field. (“Stop, you villain, and read this pamphlet!”)
Anyway, we were talking about the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, I think. Oh, that’s right. I mentioned that all the animals there were dead. That was a lie, though. There are a few living animals there, such as small turtles and spiders and that sort of thing. All of the major animals, however — the ones that could tear your head off if they wanted to, and they would probably want to — are all safely dead and stuffed and propped up on realistic-looking habitats. This is what makes the museum exciting, because you can look at the animals up close without the hassle of being killed by them. Notice I said you can LOOK at them. You MAY NOT, however, touch them. I tried, and the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum personnel almost turned the few living animals loose on me. This is not a petting zoo; it’s a Life Science Museum.
One of the animals there is a small, chihuahua-esque animal called the Dik-Dik. The Dik-Dik lives on the African plains, and according to its biography, it is a “shy, elusive animal.” This makes sense to me. I’d be shy and elusive, too, if my name were Dik-Dik.
Or Mormon Man, for that matter.
(Eric D. Snider has gone home to Lake Elsinore, Calif., for the summer. He will be back at BYU in two years, after his mission. Next week will be his last column.)
I did play Mormon Man once, in a Garrens sketch. Marc Shaw (who ran around naked in this column here) played BYU Boy. It was a very popular sketch, but alas, we never revived the characters after our missions. We couldn't think of a good situation for them to be in that wouldn't be religiously offensive. (This was not as big a concern when we initially did the characters -- our audience seemed to have a better sense of humor about that kind of thing in those days.)
By the way, I love the first paragraph of this column.