Monday, December 1, 2008

From the Archives: Ozark Boy Discovers BYZoo

Editor's note: We will periodically republish some of our old Provonian articles. While the perspective time and maturity provide has revealed that these articles may in fact not be the most brilliant works every penned by speakers of the English language--in spite of unshakable certitude to the contrary at the time of composition--we humbly offer our past writings to you, dear reader, in hopes that they might induce an errant smirk or raise a nostalgic snicker.

Ozark Boy Discovers BYZoo

Rob Holmes

As the astute reader will recall, in the last episode Ozark Boy went searching for a female companion. He failed miserably and is now back in Provo with his foster family. Now, anyone who spends time in Provo cannot help but to run into the local anomaly known as BYU. Unfortunately for our innocent hero, he was not properly prepared to face the mammoth legion of do-gooders inhabiting this island of piety. Although the physical scars will soon heal, we can only hope the resulting flashbacks, cold sweats and nightmares resulting from Ozark Boy's sojourn on the island will someday subside.

"C'mon Spleen [Ozark Boy's loyal pet badger], let's go for a meander up the bend," said Ozark Boy.

"BBBBB-shag-barf-ribbit!" responded Spleen euphorically. Ozark Boy and Spleen walked up the street known by the cephalically endowed as Eighth North. They came across a large thoroughfare named University Avenue. As Ozark Boy traversed the intersection his innards clumped into a tight ball the size of a tennis-ball.

"Spleen, my gut instinct sez' sometin's wrong," said Ozark Boy.

"Don't be a pansy, it is completely safe," responded Spleen. Now Ozark Boy had never heard Spleen actually verbalize a sentence so this was startling. However, he dismissed it as a slightly irritating side-effect of Spleen's diet of coal slag and steel tailings. Unbeknownst to Ozark Boy, Spleen's voice box was now possessed by a common throat bacteria Escherichia fishstory, which induced lying. Spleen was now a pathological liar.

At first observation, this strange land appeared like any other part of Provo. However, Ozark Boy began to see strange things. Hordes of glassy-eyed thralls walked the streets with no regard to the traffic and the countless rotting carcasses of the bison; brutally slaughtered for their tongues. The minions were uniformed in a disorderly array of plaid shirts, denim pants and hiking boots. All were uniformed except the small enclave of gymnosophists swarming around Brick Oven.

"Spleen, maybe we should go back," said Ozark Boy, his voice faltering.

"Oh no, this is the best place a young man of your age could be. What else would you be doing? Drinking, smoking, watching dirty movies, cruising up and down Main Street for two years? Trust me, this is the place."

"Well, if you say so Spleen. Look there's a forested park. Howse 'bout we go and make us a nice bonfire?"

"Very well," said Spleen. Then below his breath he added, "Two plus two equals five."

"What was that?"

"Nothing, I didn't say anything."

Ozark Boy felt peaceful as he and Spleen rummaged through the forest for worms, pine sap and edible foliage. Their sense of reverie was abruptly interrupted by countless strange beasts. Soon, everywhere they looked the beasts turned up. The beasts seemed to have tow bodies, one male and one female, and were tightly joined at the face.

Ozark Boy and Spleen fled the forest of beasts in terror. They ran until they came to a large building named the Smith Fieldhouse. They ducked inside, breathing heavily and sweating abundantly. Their ears were greeted by the thumping of a techno beat and piercing screams of a woman.

"And one! and two! and lift those thighs! and four! and c'mon just one more minute!" Ozark Boy and Spleen turned to see a perspiring army of co-eds moving about in all sorts of strange manners.

"What in tarnation's goin' on here, Spleen?" Ozark Boy did not know what to think of the spectacle.

"It's a book club; they're discussing Immanuel Kant."

"Spleen, youse don't know a stinkin' thing about books," cursed Ozark Boy. "I say we skidaddle on outta here." Ozark Boy and Spleen began to make their exit when they were caught up in a throng of stampeding joggers. They were swept away by the sheer force of the multitude and roughly set down fifty yards later. Laying bruised and disoriented, they were soon surrounded by the strange dancing drove of co-eds. Not knowing what else to do in this unusual situation, Ozark Boy had to act fast or they would be enveloped by the cavorting host. Ozark Boy whipped out a sandwich bag full of detergent, it looked like a few kilos, and brandished at the foes. He began bellowing Ministry at the top of his lungs. Spleen tore into the opposing legion with a snarling and hissing fury. It didn't take long for the companions to exit the Smith Fieldhouse safely.

From there they decided to visit the library. Spleen was excited, he hadn't eaten a good book in months. As Ozark Boy and Spleen entered the library they were immediately stopped by the security man at the entrance.

"You, badger, wait outside!" he commanded, motioning with his night stick. Spleen promptly swallowed the man whole and the two walked on as if nothing had happened. The two received constant glares and scowls from the Zoobies who were sitting on the floor in so-called study groups.

"Did you see his beard, oh my gosh!" "Why doesn't that little furry man shave?" "Isn't nakedness against the honor code?" "Yeah that furry guy should put some clothes on." The taunts and jibes were hurled with unrelenting fury.

Ozark Boy, not being one to take insults lying down, decided to fix their wagons. They proceeded to race around campus and steal every last razor blade. To make things worse, they hid all of the razors in every grocery store in town. Soon, every male attending BYU would be in flagrant violation of the BYU Dress and Grooming standards. Ozark Boy and Spleen made a hasty exit from the campus. They never looked back, but plodded on with the warm, satisfied feeling that comes from a job well done.


  1. Huh. I've known you guys for what, 11 years? Although I've known about the character for about as long, this is the first time that I've actually read an Ozark Boy story. I'm overwhelmed. Did you guys break that thesaurus?

  2. You know, I've missed Ozark boy for the last 10 yrs. So glad he's back.

  3. We loved trying to use as heavy a language style as possible. In fact it became such a habit that during my freshman intensive writing class at BYU my teacher read an example of how writing tone didn't fit the story from a student in another class and I immediately recognized it as Mat's.

  4. yeah, mat could (and did) get carried away by that fat cranium of his. we shared some pretty heavy letters on the mission. they were mostly riddled with violence and veiled misanthropy.

  5. I think my last comment may be one of the crappiest sentences I've ever written.

  6. I think this may have been the first time I ever read an Ozark Boy story all the way through, and I was also a staff writer on the Provonian. Oh, the memories.

  7. Rob thanks for starting this up, where did you find it. Megan, do you remember when Rob and I cut the bottom out of your lunch sack in journalism and when you picked it up all your food went all over the place? That was awesome. I also remember when we pumped up the jams with a Korn song during the middle of class?

  8. That Korn song was freaking awesome! (Knick-knack paddy whack give a dog a bone!) And so was the lunch bag prank--boo yeah! I have a few clippings of some of my articles in one of my old folders--but I think I have all of the issues in toto back at my parents' house.

  9. I remember Holmes and Duerden typed up all of the ozark boys, small towns, and RSC columns, coil bound them, and gave them to us as Christmas presents one year, does anyone still have those? I'm sure if I looked in my parents basement long enough...

    I call for a Small Towns to be the next reprint. I really wish I would have written one of those columns. I was assigned it on two different issues, but failed to deliver on either (I had a hard time deciding on how mean I should be to you fools, and ultimately my girly good nature prevented me from writing anything that could even remotely offend anyone).

    Some small town highlights include Mat being vaporized and totally forgotten about by his friends, Jed being kicked out of an eatery for his snobbish ways, Rob's manhood being questioned by Jed, and Me crying over an inflatable Big T, and becoming a bearded prophet/weirdo.

    Those were some good/subversive articles.