The Legend of Wulner

August 16, 2013 § 2 Comments

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      Wulner told me perhaps the best joke I’ve ever heard, which is remarkable considering he is both deaf and dumb. So maybe I saw the joke, rather than heard it. Either way, it went on for close to ten minutes and was hilarious.

      It was a joke about a guy. I think. Or maybe a woman or a little kid. It involved some kind of protagonist, that much I’m sure of. And this protagonist experienced….something. Then it all built to a crescendo, and I think some dancing was included.

     Wulner presented the joke in a friend’s two-room, breeze block cottage just off the main road in La Virgin de Sarapiqui, Costa Rica. It’s a tiny town carved from the jungle in the north central part of the country, hedged by pineapple plantations and book ended by a couple of bars. And that’s about it. Two or three bars, as many restaurants, a couple of grocery stores, a small school, and the river. A ten minute stroll covers the whole thing.

      I moved to La Virgen under the guise of working as a whitewater kayaking instructor, but the resort that ‘hired’ me lacked both the equipment to support a whitewater program, and the funds to pay me, so I mostly just swam in the river and hung out with my buddy Danny, who introduced me to Wulner.

      I still have no idea what Wulner’s joke was about, but I laughed my ass off. Here are a few other things I know about Wulner, presented in no particular order.

      He Hates Ants

      Boy does he ever. The same night he told the joke, he accidentally put his arm down on a hand rail that housed a great number of those vile, six-legged bastards, and they attacked him without mercy. His arm erupted into a patchwork of red, swollen, ant-induced sores, and for the rest of the night and into the next day he pointed them out to me repeatedly. He would show me his arm then crunch up his face and make pinching movements with his fingers to indicate the nature of the perpetrators. You guessed it: ants. Those unfeeling sons of bitches.

      He Loves to Scare Cows

      I never really figured out why, but Wulner loved to scare the absolute piss out of cows. Often, as we walked across town, which necessitated passing several pastures containing a great many cows, he would suddenly throw his hands in the air and lunge towards them, causing the doe eyed beasts to scatter. Then he would point and laugh. As much as he could laugh. His ability to vocalize is very limited, and I never really heard anything that one might describe as a real laugh. But he would point and smile and we would laugh. Because it was hilarious. Because Wulner really isn’t very scary. Stupid cows, being scared of Wulner.

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      He Wears Short Pants to Church

      That’s pretty much all there is to this one. His dress up clothes consisted of checkered shorts, a collared shirt, and a horizontally striped red and blue sweater vest. Unorthodox maybe, but I always felt he looked pretty sharp. And in my experience Wulner was never one to kowtow to the arbitrary whims of the fashionistas.

      He Digs the Ladies

      In particular, he dug a lady whom I started dating while in Costa Rica, and whom I continued to date for over two years. I can’t say I blame him, as she was blond, smoking hot, and an all around great broad with a killer caboose. But I will admit to feeling a little insulted (and a little intimidated) by his obvious disdain for our romantic relationship. He made his intentions clear, despite my evident disapproval, and even went so far as to send her a letter after she left town. By the time she received it I had moved in with her in Boston, and I was a bit taken aback by his postal flirtations. The letter itself left little to the imagination, and he even included a picture of himself, which he glued to a large heart he had fashioned out of red construction paper. It was a pretty good picture too. It was of himself (obviously) looking smooth (obviously) while seated in a lawn chair, face contorted into what I can only describe as a come-hither grimace. Classy move.

      He Eats a lot of Rice and Beans

      But everyone in La Virgen eats a lot of rice and beans. When I lived there I ate tons of rice and beans. They’re delicious.

      He’s Awesome

      If you’ve read this whole post, this should come as no revelation. Of all the people I met in Costa Rica, Wulner may well have been the coolest. He was always up to hang out, and never seemed to have a bad time. Whenever I looked at him he was smiling. Or making eyes at my girlfriend, but I’ll let that slide. If you ever find yourself in La Virgen, make some effort to find the guy. He’s fantastic. But fellas: don’t leave him alone with your woman. You just might lose her.

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