The Time A Tiger Bit off My Face in Newport, Oregon

a bicycle, a tent, and a yet to be made fire sit near a large body of water in Newport, Oregon


When your beers are kicked and a morning bike ride is calling, what could be more enjoyable than a good piss to put your fire out.

All of the RVers have shown their respective piles of hey what a good left hook looks like hours ago, and I’m the sole guy in a tent. The sun felt fine melting into the bay just across the street from my campground here in Newport, but the orange burn of its every nightly death is hours ago past. I shake off the last few drops and dip into my tent.

There’s nothing like a good bowl of giant green bud to put a guy to sleep. I should’ve bought more beer, I think as the first hit fills my lungs. No, it’s best this way, up and at ’em early. The third puff is exhaled and I’m deep into my sleeping bag, fully clothed. I just don’t find much use for getting undressed at night anymore. There’s something comforting about knowing you could wake up and, boots and all, get out the door in a moment’s notice.

Fast asleep, I dream. A tiger, this massive tiger, its head as round as a tractor’s front tire, is staring at me through the slowly opening zipper of my tent. I panic, but have no time to move. He bites my face in half. I feel the pain in my sleep, and waking immediately, it continues. I sit up, aware that it was a dream, but my face is still intensely painful. Still stoned, it takes me almost a full minute to realize that no, my face was not bitten in half by a tiger. I’m literally freezing cold.

I slip through the tent door. Looking across the dirt drive that separates us (read “me”) tenters from the RV folk, I see it aplenty. My fire is still lit, the coals charring, but I am completely out of wood. I’m somewhat of a pro at rationing my wood to beer ratio perfectly nightly. But despite my peeing on the fire before bed, all of the actual timber is gone. But they have. Those RVers. Probably starting fires first thing in the morning and then going back in to watch the Today Show.

I sneak into the shadows, of which there are none. Leave it to modern camping facilities to make it bright enough around the grounds to drown out the stars. A few lights are still on inside of the various big white boxes. Everyone has pickup trucks, typically a sure sign of a couple of guys you don’t want to steal wood from, but with RV enthusiasts, who can know? They buy massive engines to haul around glorified tents. I jest, I’ve got nothing against them. I’m just cold, and I want some of their wood. I’d even be glad to reimburse them in the morning.

I duck into a pile, removing two logs. This is stealing, I think. I pull one more, and the whole stack rolls over. I drop all three, run back to the driveway, and then walk casually like I have no idea what’s happening. No one in the RV stirs. No one in any RV, actually.

I decide to jog around the park once. It warms me up, but now I’m exhausted. I should quit smoking. Standing around shivering for another fifteen minutes, I wise up.

I’ve never showered for two hours straight before, but that’s how I’ll spend the remainder of this night here in Newport. Even if the last thirty minutes are just cold water anyway.