When I heard that a guy in a goat suit was crawling around on a mountainside in Weber County last week, my investigative journalism instincts took over.
"Man in goat suit" is exactly the kind of story I was born to report. It's got "Pulitzer" written all over it. I immediately called my best source.
Sonny: "No, it's not me."
Me: "Yeah? Say 'baaaa' for the record."
Sonny said a word not normally heard in Sunday school and hung up on me. Because he was the only solid lead I had, that's as far as my investigation went.
That's OK. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know why a guy would put on a goat suit complete with horns and follow around a bunch of actual goats.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman Phil Douglass told the Associated Press that the man "may just be a wildlife enthusiast."
You think? Even if he's up to no good, he's a wildlife enthusiast. Normal people (nonwildlife enthusiasts) don't dress up like a large animal and try to cozy up to the real thing. They watch the National Geographic channel
Even decidedly disturbed people like me stay home and blow up stuff in our garages. We don't don a cardboard armored vehicle costume and sneak onto the Wendover Bombing and Gunnery Range.
I bring this up because there's a reason why you don't see people walking around with mountain goats on leashes. They have really sharp horns attached to relatively dull minds. They're dangerous.
Personally, I do not trifle with dangerous animals large enough to have their way with me. This includes trying to sneak up on them, an act that is rarely received as well as it was intended.
I know, because I've tried. I've lost up-close fights with the following easily annoyed animals: cow, mule, horse, donkey, goat, dog, ostrich, llama and a girl named Nancy in the fourth grade.
And those were domesticated animals, large, dim-witted things with ostensibly some idea of manners when interacting with humans.
Wild animals are a whole other set of scars. I've lost fights with them, too, including a monkey, moose, owl, anteater, seal, penguin, buffalo and bear.
I didn't actually fight the bear. Some friends and I were hiking through Oregon one summer during blackberry season when we encountered a fresh pile of purple poo in the middle of the trail.
"Raccoon," the slowest thinker in our group opined.
The rest of us concluded otherwise. We were looking at recent signs of a raccoon with a serious anabolic steroid problem, or a bear. We fought each other to lead the way back to the trail head.
Then there was the forest monster in the Pacific Northwest, a clammy, foul-smelling creature I blundered into in the dark while looking for the latrine. A series of 9mm muzzle flashes revealed Boone's wet suit hanging from a dry line.
In none of these cases did it occur to me that I should dress up like the offending animal and creep back for a closer look and/or goring.
I'm just not a wildlife enthusiast. It's nothing to be ashamed of even in Utah. I'm only glad the story didn't immediately morph into a claimed sighting of a yeti, a ghost, or one of the Three Nephites.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.