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THE UN-BIRTH OF A BUFFOON

Before descending into savagery, the Young Man assumed foraging would be simple. He thought he would just stretch his hand in any direction and pluck a murder of berries hanging conveniently before him, or, at worst, he might settle for a juicy caterpillar, roasted over a crackling fire that he would somehow build himself. How hard could it be? Is the jungle not full of life? But here in the wild, a question echoed in the hallways of our hero’s frontal lobe: [What did those legendary wild men do for food?]

His first instinct: eat the leaves. There was certainly no shortage of them, and they were enormous. He wrapped his fingers around the thick, leathery flaps of flora. A poor excuse for a tug sent him to the muddy floor, empty hands to match his empty stomach. The gargantuan elephant ears bobbed on their branches, as if the jungle itself were giving him a raspberry with a dozen tongues. (mmm, raspberries.) He got up, wiped his hands on his wet chest, grabbed ahold once more — and managed to tear a slippery frond from its base, about the size of a small hand towel. It was as if the branch felt sorry for our hero, and so, gave of itself.

Here’s a secret about those leaves that only our intrepid hero knows: they taste like spicy, rotten toothpaste. At first, the Young Man had the audacity to spit out the green mush in revulsion, but soon thought better of it. This mush was his salvation. He finally realized what should have been obvious from the very beginning of this adventure, that survival was not all mangos and wild onions and roasted squirrel on a spit.

He was actually quite lucky, because the other options in this particular jungle, many of which he would sample in the meals to come, were far worse than the enormous leaves. He would soon encounter a species of cheetah frogs that leave a trail of delicious, hippocampus-damaging slime whenever they rocketjump off a perch. He would also find tiny fruits that taste like sugary pan-seared llama piss. That taste-test, however, is a story for another day. SPOILER ALERT: he vomits.


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