A while ago, our intrepid science correspondent AA ventured into the dangers of the Himalayas, where she was able to coax an exclusive interview out of Lilypad, a saber tooth tiger in hiding. When that interview appeared, she got a request through intermediary Marie E. to present a balancing view from a different local cryptid.
AA did not have the wherewithal for a second trip to the Himalayas and internet connections in that region are notoriously spotty. However, as luck would have it, the recent heavy snowstorms of the Northeastern US made an incognito visit possible for Smoofey, the self-appointed Ambassador-at-Large of Extra-Himalayan Yeti Affairs.
Without further ado, here is that interview.
Smoofey proudly displaying his ikebana skills
(photo: Peter Cassidy, staff photographer and resident yeti)
AA: Mr. Smoofey, what prompted you to break your deep cover? Some might call it riding on others’ (coat)tails…
SY: I had to correct some misconceptions propagated from Ms. Lilypad’s interview.
AA: Such as?
SY: Her contention that tigers essentially harvest yetis for food, for one!
AA: It sounded a bit like the Iroquois rotation system with denned bears… (Smoofey shudders, then wrathfully shakes his fist) I take your point! But I think we might want to clear a larger misconception. Most people think yetis don’t exist.
SY: Well, you’re talking to me, aren’t you?
AA: Can I feel your arm?
SY: (Suspiciously) Why?
AA: To prove to our viewers that the fur is real, not a costume. I don’t mean to insult you, but we have a steep uphill slog with burden of proof here.
SY: Oh, ok… Hey, that tickles!
AA: Definitely genuine. Can I take a closeup photo? The skeptics will swallow their tongues! But why is your hairdo so spiky?
SY: It’s hard to comb my fuzz, with all the burrs and ice crystals stuck in it. I can’t spend too much time on grooming, I have to use every possible weather window to forage! At the same time, I have to look good for – well, you know, we’re an endangered species! So I just put a small firecracker up there each morning. (Pats his head) Stylish, no?
AA: Devastating! But have you considered it might contribute to, er, your moniker?
SY: We yetis are tragically misunderstood. All we want are hugs! But when we try to approach humans they run away shrieking… (Sniffs quietly)
AA: That must make you sad.
SY: It does! We end up crying, and that causes avalanches.
AA: That explains a lot about the Himalayas… So, do you consider yourselves Tibetan… Kashmiri… Nepalese…?
SY: Hmph! We were fully civilized before humans showed up dressed in hides! We were philosophers, visionaries, healers – we taught humans how to meditate, to say nothing of ways to avoid frostbite and snow blindness. Ingrates! (Grumbles under his breath) Gautama Siddhartha, indeed!
AA: Somehow, the concept of rough cave-dwelling yetis as civilization beacons…
SY: We’re are epitomes of style! We get regular photo-ops in Better Caves and Logs! We’re famous for our duvet innovations and we love to arrange flowers, though we end up eating some in the process. We invented all kinds of other things, too: beer, dumplings, plaid weave, sunglasses…
AA: Plaid, eh? That explains the clothing of the Ürümchi mummies. Not the most sophisticated fashion statement, you must admit.
SY: We were aiming for arresting color.
AA: Getting back to foraging for a moment, what’s your staple?
SY: We have a nice balanced diet in the summer. In the winter, well… we snooze for much of the duration, but we still have to keep our weight up. Just hot cocoa won’t cut it. Sometimes we must resort to enticing a yak away from a settlement. (Shuffles guiltily) Some of us finally gave up, migrated to less demanding climates.
AA: Bigfoot, you mean?
SY: Yes, the cousins! We still exchange news and care packages. We used to exchange more, but now with those complicated visa requirements for future family members…
AA: Which brings us to reproduction. With your group so dispersed and isolated, how do you manage to find mates?
SY: I keep a careful registry for purposes of hybrid vigor!
AA: How many on that registry?
SY: Two. And neither is a girl. (Starts crying)
AA: Maybe I can get in touch with the Bigfoot delegation on your behalf? Unless you plan to continue westward on this trip.
SY: Would you? I don’t know if I can go over open ground without danger of being pounced on by conspiracy nuts. And it’s hard to raise the cousins. Skype let us down badly – they wanted a prepaid subscription and wouldn’t accept goats, even pashmina ones. We will make you an honorary yeti in gratitude if you succeed! And can you ask them to send me a new copy of Tintin au Tibet? I wore out my old one.
AA: Consider it done, snuggzilla! How about a hug to charge your batteries?
SY: (Hugging AA) No avalanches in Cambridge today!
Related: Interview with a Saber Tooth Tiger