I get a lot of email through the website. Most of my communication with BotW readers is generally in the form of suggestions for future articles, and I'd say in a typical week I probably receive something on the order of 8-10 badass article suggestions a day. Generally, I think this is very awesome. I love that people enjoy the site and want to contact me, and I always appreciate hearing about new and interesting badasses I wasn't aware of before. The only problem is that I know I can probably never appease everyone who contacts me – the list of articles I want to write in the future currently has over 700 names on it, and I'm pretty much constantly adding new characters to it. Having almost 15 years worth of content queued up is pretty nice, but some people are just bound to be disappointed.
Well, this week is one of the very rare instances in which I can pretty much please everybody. Of all the suggestions I received in the last couple days, roughly two-thirds of them have been in favor of one man – badass Canadian wilderness master Tom Wanyandie. This isn't just a coincidence – it's a testament to how completely awesome this man's story is, and how his actions in a brutal, life-or-death situation has made him into what can only be described as a universally-recognized badass.
This week Tom and his son James were wandering through the wilderness near Prairie Creek, Alberta, searching for moose antlers. Now I honestly had no fucking clue that moose actually shed their antlers, but apparently they do, and James really likes to go around in the woods, pick these things up and make them into decorative pieces of art. I kind of envision the final product being something along the lines of those crazy antler chandeliers you see at those kitschy over-the-top "lodge-style" family-dining restaurants with the stuffed (hopefully fake?) animal heads hanging on the walls, but I really don't know that for sure. I guess it's irrelevant in the long run.
Anyways, Tom and James are out there doing God-knows-what, just minding their own business, when all of a sudden they see a small Grizzly bear cub hanging out in the woods just being one of the most goddamned sickeningly-cutest things that has ever existed on the Material Plane:
Now, when most people see something like this their first thought is usually along the lines of, "OMG TOTEZ ADORABLE NEEDS HUGZ LOLOL!!!"
People familiar with the woods know better. They see these adorable bear cubs as brutal harbingers from the most infernal layers of Hell itself, presaging the doom of all those unlucky enough to see them and the violent, bloody death of all that they hold dear. They know that when they see Mr. Oh-Em-Gee-It's-So-Cute-I'm-Going-to-Projectile-Vomit up there, this isn't very far behind:
And they're usually right. Big Momma Bears don't like it when you fuck with their kids – or when you're in a position where you could theoretically fuck with their kids - and they really have only one way of expression their displeasure: By killing the ever-loving ass out of you. So on this fateful day in the Candian wilderness, Mrs. Totez Adorable saw James Wanyandie standing within the acceptable minimum safe distance of her son, and went completely thermonuclear on him with her giant fuzzy, suddenly-not-so-cute death claws of death.
James barely had a chance to say, "OH HOLY SHIT BALLS" before the insane, pissed-off Grizzly was on him. Mrs. Bear ran up, grabbed him with her razor-sharp teeth, and chucked him up into the air like a fucking professional strongman launching a pinata full of Creatine into the stratosphere. Seemingly before he'd even hit the ground, the Grizzly was on top of him, pinning him to the ground hard with her paws (breaking his arm in the process) and biting the ever-loving crap balls out of him with her giant scary kill-teeth. James, who has a heart condition and wears a pacemaker, was in some seriously deep shit.
Well, Big Tom Wanyandie doesn't like it when you fuck with HIS kid, either, and Mrs. Bear apparently didn't realize that she needed to worry about this guy just as much as most people need to worry about man-eating killer bears.
Tom is a 78 year-old Cree Indian who spent his entire life venturing through the woods as a hunter, trapper, and wilderness guide. He's been hardened by nearly eight decades of badass mountain man survivalist shit, seen everything there is to see, fought everything there is to fight, and even though he's pretty much decrepitly old he wasn't going to sit around and watch some jackass bear assault his kid like Yogi Bear wolfing down a picnic basket in Jellystone National Park.
Tom grabbed the closest instrument of brain-smashing kill-sanity that he could find, which just so happened to be the broken-off tree branch he was using as a walking stick during the journey, and fearlessly charged balls-out towards the bear without any regard for his own safety or well-being. In lieu of a badass battle cry, he just started screaming an epically-graphic string of Cree profanity so nut-shrivelingly virulent it would make even the most hardcore pirate start weeping tears of blood. After unleashing a verbal assault consisting of goddamned near every swear word ever invented in the history of the Native Americans, the 78 year-old father proceeded to simply bash the fucking bear about the head and neck with this stick. Once he had the bear's attention, he jammed the stick into its mouth to keep it from continuing its once-unstoppable toothy assault on his son, and with the stick lodged in the creature's grill Tom just started punching the fucking shit out of it with his bare (bear?) hands.
Well Mrs. Bear was a giant, 600-pound beast from a species that had been genetically disposed to kick ass at brutal hand-to-hand combat, and she certainly wasn't going to give up that easily. She turned on Tom, smashing the glasses off his face (thereby rendering him pretty much completely blind), and breaking his hand in her powerful onslaught. Tom STILL didn't give a fuck. He's a hardcore Canadian mountain man, and it's going to take a hell of a lot more than a haymaker face-punch from a giant man-eating Grizzly bear Berserker to keep this dude from heroically saving his son from certain death. Tom tackled the fucking thing (!), and just started whacking it with his stick repeatedly in the head and neck like a crazy face-smashing maniac. The two unstoppable asskickers went at it like a couple of badass heavyweight fighters, each one battling for his life, locked in an epic death match against a formidable adversary. I like to imagine that Tom continued violently swearing at this thing the entire time, but I couldn't find anything to confirm that.
Well, finally, after being ruthlessly smashed in the face repeatedly with a stick, the bear decided it'd had enough and got the fuck out of there as quickly as its four legs could carry it. Tom helped his badly-injured son half a mile back to their truck, where they immediately drove to the hospital. James was admitted with serious injuries, and needed surgery to save his life, but he is expected to make a fully recovery. Tom was treated for a few minor wounds and released the same day. His first plan of action is to go back to the spot of the battle and assess what happened.
He's just hard like that.
"Tom's not the kind of man that would run. He'd fight no matter what.
He's not a 78-year-old you might find in an old-folks home."
Globe and Mail