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.
TRIBUNE PHOTO/RION SANDERS

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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