Babes In The WoodsCommentary • rich • ISSUE 35•08 • Mar 3, 1999 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) It is Day 12 of my precipitous fall into destitution and subsequent flight from justice. Imagine—I, T. Herman Zweibel (or rather, my alias, Herman T. Zwiebel), once the richest and most powerful plutocrat in the Republic, must now fight for survival in the desolate wilderness. Even my liberty is in peril: I am the target of a man-hunt, because, by abandoning my lost estate, I am in defiance of the court-order that confined me there. O Fate! What a cruel mistress you are! It is a wonder I have survived this long, and for that I must give thanks to my faithful man-servant Standish. Through-out my ordeal, he has been by my side, catering to my every need as best he can in this snow-swept hellscape. He fashioned a crude lean-to out of twigs and pitch, ensnared wild game in a hand-made wooden trap, and divined the coveted secret of fire. All this, and he still manages to transcribe my columns onto birch-logs, which he then floats down-river to the Onion offices. I must also cite the heroic efforts of a group of uniformed young men who happened upon our camp whilst I lay ill and injured upon the bare ground. At first, I believed them to be a sheriff's posse and ordered Standish to spring upon them and throttle them with a length of piano-wire. "But, sir," Standish replied, "these are Boy-Scouts, members of the movement founded by Lord Baden-Powell to make boys strong of body, clear of mind, and pure of heart." Boy-Scouts! I prostrated myself at their feet and begged them to aid me in my hour of darkness. They proved more than up to the task. They fed me soup and dressed my wounds with cloth-bandages cut with their trusty pen-knives and a poultice made of chicken-shit. They even managed to jerry-rig an enema-dispenser out of scraps of mole-skin cloth and cat-gut. They restored me nearly to the bloom of health, and in a matter of hours, Standish and I lit out for the Western Mountains, armed with a map, a compass and corn-meal. God bless those brave youths! If I ever regain my vast fortune, they will not go unrewarded! They will receive a paper star, painted gold. I have not yet decided whether it shall be decorated with a red silk trimming. These inspiring boys helped me recall my own youthful vigor and pluck on the wild frontier! Harness your-self to my wheel-chair, Standish, and forge on-ward! Westward ho-ooooooooooo!