Or how nineteenth century loggers foretold
the most memorable debacle in gaming history.
“LEEEEEEROY Jenkins!” Thus proclaimed the dauntless one as he presumptuously assailed the gates of certain peril, a deed what prompted a spate of attacks on his brothers-in-arms... Here at Lumberwoods
we do, at the very least, attempt to connect folklore to contemporary phenomenon to make it more relatable and appealing to modern audiences. This angle is one, however, that perhaps in confusion, or temporary insanity, we have fleetingly remarked upon, but never seriously considered. A point that we seek to rectify today.
So the question at hand is, “Is there a Leeroy Jenkins of lumberjack lore?” Surely, the imagination of lumberjacks were not so devious and illogical to dream up a creature with attributes so backwards as to foreshadow the rara avis
that is Leeroy Jenkins. Then again, these were the very same minds that produced myths such as a fish that swam backwards
to keep the water out of its eyes, a snake that would bite its tail
so it could roll like a wheel and an animal so ugly
if glimpsed it would dissolve into tears. I guess what I’m getting at is, “Why not?” Which brings our attention to the most fitting contender for the Leeroy Jenkins title— the come-at-a-body.
The come-at-a-body is a varmint that possess a ferocity that’s stands in direct defiance to its actual ability to back it up. One wonders, “What fearsome beast did early loggers model such a creature on?” A mighty bear? Perhaps a terrifying tiger or bore? Nay, author and logger Henry H. Tryon
described the peculiar critter thusly:
Reported by Mr. B.B. Bickford of Gorham, N.H. Not found outside the White Mountains. A short, stubby, rather small animal resembling a Woodchuck but having Very soft, velvety, kitten-like, fur. Harmless, but surprising. Has the terrifying habit of suddenly rushing directly at you from the brush, then stopping only a few inches away and spitting like a cat.1
Tryon concludes this squib by remarking, “A strong mink-like scent is thrown and the Come-at-a-Body rushes away.” In case you missed it, the come-at-a-body possess the fighting prowess of— a woodchuck. That again is a woodchuck. W-O-O-D-C-H-U-C-K if you need me to spell it out. But worse of all is its habit of gaudily storming up on opponents that could just as easily stomp it into extinction as well as chop it in two.
Naturally, Tryon would not be the last to report on the strange animal. A certain Doug George while attending a residential camp, also in New Hampshire, likewise came across the beast. Camp Mowglis was founded with the support of The Jungle Book
author Rudyard Kipling in 1903. Back in ‘66, when Doug was knee high to a grasshopper, camp counselors would scare children by telling them of the then current, “Green EYED Comeatabody.” Counselors would partially obscure a flashlight's lens with a goosefoot maple leaf to mimic an eye. But perhaps most striking is the following statement made by Mr.George:2
“As it was explained to us little Cubs, the last one in line was
very vulnerable to ‘attack and/or mysterious disappearance.’”
Much like the famed Leeroy Jenkins, it would appear those who lag far behind the come-at-a-body are bedeviled to a similar cruel end.
Moreover, the come-at-a-body’s attributes become especially ironic when considering how strategic other imaginary, woods beasts were made out to be. The rumptifusel
, for example, makes itself out to appear to be a discarded fur shawl. In this state it waits for unsuspecting loggers to try to put it on whereafter it strangles them to death. Similarly impressive are the tactics employed by the hidebehind
. This appropriately-named beast is so slender that it effortlessly conceals itself behind the trunk of any tree. In this manner the hidebehind snatches up loggers without them seeing the creature first.
Clearly, most lumberjack-derived creatures employ some degree of cunning. The fact that this attribute should be wholly absent from the come-at-a-body surely attest to lumberjacks’ penchant for dooming their own creations. The hangdown
, for instance, is a creature so witless that it unthinkingly hangs down from trees making it an exceptionally easy target for skin hunters. Likewise, the pinnacle grouse
has but one wing enabling it to only fly in circles until it grows old and dies. However, perhaps more than the come-at-a-body's doomed fate is its endearment to its public what provides the most conclusive parallel between it and the legend of Leroy Jenkins.
The New York Tribune
, circa October 23, 1900, records that there actually existed a football team affectionately unified under the banner, “Comeatabodies.” The team took part in a scrub football series organized by Harvard University and comprised of players from its student body. The other teams in this series boasted such names as: Mug Hunters, Inanes, Missing Links, Pigskins, Peppinheimers, Shyster, Whistle B's and Quadequinas.3
Unfortunately, there is no information on the outcome of such games, save for the fact that the Comeatabodies played against the Pigskins on Havard’s westerly field. One can only surmise that as the Comeatabodies concluded expounding their game plan that one amongst them, headstrong and full of vigor, rushed valiantly on the field, disregarded said plan and shouted with all their ferocity, thus inciting a riot and disqualifying the whole team. Assuredly this would have induced a remark of condemnation from the coach towards the player. At which, the bold athlete, possibly named Leroy, would casually refute that, save in some small measure, domestic poultry in his possession there was.
That is to say— at least he had chicken.
◇ 2 George, Doug. "Alumni Notes - Continued." Boys of Summer, The Mowglis Call Fall 2002: 17. Mowglis.org. Web. 20 May 2015.
◇ 3 "Football, The Havard Eleven Now Practically Chosen-Aiming for Team Work." The New York Tribune 23 Oct. 1900: 5. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. Web. 20 May 2015.
◇ 1 Tryon, Henry H. "The Come-At-A-Body" Fearsome Critters. Cornwall, NY: Idlewild, 1939. 13. Print.
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Last updated on 09/12/2015