Does a fair-going fox wear socks?

Longtime Squirrel Thoughts fans know I once had to work at the Montana State Fair for 10 days straight, and that is was worst week-and-a-half of my life.

This week, I returned to that infamous scene of that fair, but this time only had to manage a three-hour shift, thankfully. Though there for a fraction of my previous stint, the fair did not disappoint …

About halfway through, I saw a man walking toward our booth, carrying under one arm what appeared to be a small white dog wearing a muzzle. However, I quickly realized it was not a dog. Nope, it was definitely a … fox. Some dude’s just walking around with a muzzled-up fox under his arm, like it’s the most normal thing in the world.

At least, I was pretty sure it was a fox, but just to make sure I wasn’t crazy, I asked “Hey, what kind of animal is that?” as he walked by.

“It’s a fox,” he replied, somewhat tersely, apparently taken aback that someone would think to ask about his fox.

“Where’d you get it?”

“At the zoo, there’s a zoo here,” he responded, then gave me a look indicating my questions were highly unusual.

Now, I realize that in most situations, I am, in fact, the weird one. I have no qualms admitting that. But I truly feel that, if forced to narrow it down, a panel of reasonable people would consider Fox Guy the stranger of the two of us in this situation. I wanted to say as much — “Dude, don’t give me that look! You have a FOX! YOU are the clearly the weird one here!” — I thought better of it, though.

This all happened so fast, and I forgot to snap a photo before he was out of sight. When I went back to my office and told the tale of the Weird Dude with the White Fox at the Fair, my co-workers were skeptical and suggested I might be crazy. (Though by now, I think they should know to expect these kinds of anecdotes from the fair.) Unfortunately, I didn’t have any proof, so I was, once again, the weird one.

“Was it wearing socks?” one colleague asked.

“Was it eating lox?” another chimed in. (Side note: Mmmm … lox.)

Yeah, yeah, just laugh it up, Chuckles. There’s a disgruntled zookeeper walking around a crowded venue with a vicious fox capable of who-knows-what, and you think it’s all just fun and games! They clearly did not recognize the seriousness of the situation. Clearly.

But then, later in the week, sweet victory was mine — I spotted this image in one of our photo galleries from the fair:

A white red fox that's part of the Animal Alley attraction at the Montana State Fair. TRIBUNE PHOTO/RION SANDERS

A white red fox that’s part of the Animal Alley attraction at the Montana State Fair.

It’s the white fox! The white, red fox to be exact. Not quite sure how that works, but there’s a photo of one on Wikipedia, so it must be legit.

I gloated about this to my co-workers, forcing them to look at the photo and bragging that this proves I’m not the weird one. I took their silence and the slow, quiet steps they took as they backed away from me as a sign of agreement.

Now, I doubt this tops the Lemur-in-the-Bathroom-at-the-State-Fair incident from 2010. It’s going to take something much more bizarre, and unsanitary, to beat that. But considering I had a much shorter timeframe in which to spot these fair curiosities this go-round, I’m putting it in the “W” column.

Oh, and since you’re probably wondering, he was not wearing socks … yet.


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