IVP - Strangely Dim - Hidden to Death

February 22, 2010

Hidden to Death

A post from five years ago, to encourage your movement through Lent.

You hear some stories and you feel compelled to comment. Forgive me . . .

Arkansas attorney Ben Lipscomb decided recently, as he is given to do, to spend the day duck hunting with his friends and his beloved dog. Eventually he separated from his friends to find more ducks to shoot. He hit the gold mine--ducks to his left, ducks to his right, ducks above and all around him. He just kept turning in circles, shooting and reshooting, while his dog retrieved his bounty for him. By the time he hit the legal limit of dead ducks, however, he had turned so many times that he couldn't tell where he had come from.

He couldn't find his friends, and they couldn't find him. All he had was his dog, some dead ducks, a rifle and the clothes he was wearing--camouflage hunting gear over bright white unmentionables. He ate a duck raw to stave off his hunger, he sloshed through the ice-cold waters to find some indicator of the way he should go, his dog barked intermittently to draw someone's attention to his plight. But no luck--they had been left behind.

The hunter's friends, realizing the problem, had returned to their car and called emergency services for help. So began the manhunt. Helicopters flew overhead in crisscross patterns trying to find this solitary hunter somewhere in the expansive hunting grounds. They actually flew directly over him a number of times during the search, but they couldn't see him, despite his jumping, waving and shouting, for, you see, <em>he was wearing camouflage.</em>

The purpose of camouflage is to conceal its wearer so that no one can see him (or her, I suppose, although I don't recall ever seeing a woman decked out in cammies from head to toe). In this case, the camouflage did its job too well: Ben Lipscomb was in danger of being hidden to death.

What would you do? Our hero came up with an idea that sounds as insane as it was pure genius: He took off his clothes.

Underneath the camouflage, as I mentioned, was a pair of bleach-white underwear. Lipscomb dropped his hip waders, ripped the underwear from his waist, tied the undies to the barrel of his rifle, and waved his makeshift flag as the helicopter was making another pass. Presumably he paused to pull his hip waders back up.

His trick worked. The Arkansas State Police spotted his flag and made a beeline for his briefs. Shortly thereafter, he was out of the woods.

Fortunately for Lipscomb, he was smart enough to wear white at night; camouflage underwear, while undeniably stylish, serves no real purpose and, as we learn from this story, could very well kill you.

If that moral to the story doesn't do it for you, try following one of these two paths:

1. At a certain point, concealing your true self becomes counterproductive.
2. When you're wading through the muck, and you've had your fill of duck, stick close to your friends or you'll be out of luck. (That's about as far as I've yet been able to take this soon-to-be-famous country song. If you have an idea for another verse or moral, post a comment; note that I have yet to use the phrase "pick-up truck.")

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at February 22, 2010 8:58 AM Bookmark and Share

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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