While it’s likely a sign that some portion of my brain development stopped while I was in middle school, I can’t control my obsession with videos of foolish tourists behaving badly.
The most egregious examples find their way into the mainstream news. The less dramatic stuff is preserved on social media sites such as the Facebook page “Yellowstone National Park: Invasion of the Idiots,” and the somewhat less amusing page “Glacier National Park: Invasion of the Idiots.”
It’s smarter touron stock that’s attracted to the Crown of the Continent, I suppose.
And to be clear, the stupidity isn’t limited to a prototypical overweight, undereducated and absurdly dressed American touron. Just last week we learned of a British tourist who carved his name and his girl’s in a wall of the Colosseum in Rome.
The 27-year-old fitness instructor wrote a letter to the mayor of Rome apologizing to Italians and all of humanity for his desecration. He also claimed he didn’t learn of the “antiquity” of the Colosseum, completed in A.D. 80, until after he was tracked down by law enforcement in Britain.
The challenge of ensuring our young people receive a proper education is not limited to the United States.
The Guardian newspaper reported that the touron’s attorney described his client as “the prototype of the foreigner who frivolously believes that anything is allowed in Italy.”
One suspects if that British touron ever visits Yellowstone there’s a better-than-average chance he’ll visit an emergency room to have a bison horn removed from an inconvenient part of his anatomy, while his hastily hired Cody, Wyoming, attorney tells the media he’s still just a frivolous foreigner.
I know a few pretty good ones. Cody attorneys that is.
This hasn’t been an unusually eventful summer in Yellowstone. The other day a couple of tourons decided to eschew the boardwalk so one of them could test the steaming water of Silex Spring. The touron eased her way down the bank and was fortunate she didn’t slip and fall in.
She eventually dipped her fingers in the spring, then scampered away shouting, “Hot! Hot.” Silex Springs is 174.7 degrees hot. If I tried cooking a steak in my sous vide at that temperature it would come out well-done and lifeless.
There were signs along the boardwalk that would have told her this if she’d bothered to read.
And there’s no shortage of folks who think the boardwalks around Old Faithful Geyser are just a suggestion. The most recent example of someone leaving the viewing area to take a selfie with the geyser’s vent in the background was in May.
You know, the vent that erupts almost every hour spewing boiling water 184 feet in the air.
Speaking of selfies, the “touronsofyellowstone” Instagram page has a recent video of a couple taking selfies with their infant child. They are in Jasper National Park, rather than Yellowstone, but the massive bull elk a feet feet behind them would skewer their baby nonetheless.
This gave me flashbacks of Crocodile Hunter Steve Erwin dangling his month-old child in front of a crocodile during one of his penned-animal acts.
I was never a fan of Irwin’s wildlife-rassler schtick and putting a baby in danger that way destroyed his remaining credibility. Sure, he was used to those caged crocs and knew their usual behavior fairly well. But only a fool assumes animals will always react in predictable patterns all of the time.
All it would have taken is a reptile having a bad day or Irwin taking an unexpected tumble, and that baby would have been dinner for that croc.
Unfortunately, the human capacity for acting stupidly seems limitless. That’s good news for the social media distributors of photos and videos of such idiocy, but bad news if you need to visit a national park during touron season.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.