Posted by: Shanna Germain | 06/28/2009

Insert 11: Craig

In doing these Inserts, I’ve come to realize that an inordinate number of my friends are funny, funny mo-fos, which has caused me to reason that I, too, must be a funny mofo.

No, in truth, I think I’m not funny at all, but I wish I was. Thus, I just collect funny people like other people collect butterflies (only without the chloroform and long silver needles in the chest… because, of course, that tends to make people less funny, I’ve noticed).

Craig and I became, in my recollection, real and true and forever friends during about a twenty-hour conversation next to a cold Minnesota lake. Before that, we’d known each other, been casual friends, had a lot of laughs (okay, I had a lot of laughs — he mainly waited until I stopped snorting so he could tell me another funny story), and gotten ourselves into a bit of trouble. But that conversation — which was one of those during which your heart is cracked open, squeezed six or a hundred times and then sewn back up, all while you’re laughing hysterically and saying stupid things from the anesthesia–was the one that cemented things for me, that made me think, “This is a man I want in my life for the long-haul.”

He’s not just funny and a friend, of course. He’s a successful businessman, father, husband, marathoner. He’s a fantastically funny and absurd writer (and, oh yes, this is a compliment). He’s a world-explorer and a humanitarian. He’s open-minded and willing to share all his worst and best. He’s kind and thoughtful, and also a bit of a selfish prick. But he does everything with such honest egotism that you can only like him more for it (I can just see him reading this right now, actually, and I’m sure he’s going to have a few words for me! Heh.)

These days, Craig’s emails reach me from places like Uganda, Colombia, the very scary suburbs of Seattle, and just about everywhere else. Here are his most recent, which he gave me permission to share.


Far and fast, s.


SA 2 034

[ps. Craig’s the one with the monkey smile… er… red hattish thing on his head]



So sorry to hear your re-lapse is so intense.  There is much suckitude in being ill, particularly when abroad.

I’ve thrown in a picture of me and my buddy Dave (who I’ve known for 38 years now), taken in Ecuador waaaaaaaaaaay back in 1986.  We were halfway through a six week research trip, living with the Cofan Indians on a tributary of the Amazon some thirteen hours canoe ride from the nearest shit-nowhere oil outpost.  It was my first trip outside the US/Canada, and it set my life off on the wandering track I’ve never left.

By that point in the trip we’d already nearly drowned in the Agua Rico river, been attacked by fire ants, (The bites really do burn), gotten lost in the trackless jungle, and spent whole nights squatting in the foliage shitting our brains out while listening to a jaguar cough in the dark nearby.  The day after the shot was taken Dave strained a valve in his testicle while hauling a freshly killed wild boar back to the boat – our attempt at adventure once again ending up as low comedy.  What I love about the shot is that nearly everyone who sees the picture immediately says, “Who’s the girl?”  Despite being in the foreground, Dave and I are reduced to the role of sweaty framing for her come-hither stare.  I guess that’s the beauty of it for me – the way this image captures our unique capacity to be in the proximity of adventure and romance while remaining firmly entrenched in the absurd.

Get well.  Stay well.  Keep me posted on your pilgrim’s progress.



[I have to admit that after seeing that picture of Craig from a million years ago, I was startled to admit how much he looked almost the bloody same as he does now. Which is both unfair and a little… vampirish. So I wanted in on some of that and asked him to send me a picture of him now, just so I could suck his unaging blood compare. This is what he sent.]





Good morning.  Turns out I don’t have a lot of pictures of myself.  The daffy truth is that for years – decades really – I kept trying to convince myself that no one ever took good pictures of me.  Finally I was forced to accept that the photographers weren’t the problem, because that’s just how I look.  I guess I’d always pictured myself as tall, dark, and handsome.  Some dreams die harder than others.

Here’s a shot of me and Sara taken a couple of weeks ago on a gloriously aberrant ninety degree spring day in Seattle. Our older son, Connor, took the shot.  He tried to charge us a buck for the work.  Negotiations ensued, and we finally got the camera back by threatening to deny him dessert at the noodle restaurant.

The only other shot of myself I could find features me in northern Ethiopia with a monkey on my lap.  There’s something creepy about that.




“The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart”



  1. Oh Shanna… ::sigh:: You are a funny mofo! Really and truly!

  2. “I think I’m not funny at all”

    Dayle, I think she’s just saying that so Bill Bryson won’t feel threatened.

  3. Hahaha to both of you!!! See… you make me laugh!?!

    I’ve heard I’m funny when I’m clumsy enough to fall on my ass. Which is often. So, yeah, maybe I am funny…

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