An open letter to tourists:

Hey! Welcome to Utah! We sincerely hope you enjoy your visit here. We also hope that while you're here, you won't get killed by a moose! Especially if you are hiking in Park City with my girlfriend Kim!

Not that tons of people get killed by moose in Utah while hiking with my girlfriend Kim. Seriously.

It's not like we have more than our fair share of rogue moose in this state, attacking our tourists and whatnot. It's just that the other day when Kim and I went for a little hike by her house, we encountered a moose at VERY close range.

As he glared at us, I suddenly realized that although I know how to do a LOT of things (prune a rosebush, housebreak a Newf puppy, charm a baby, tie my husband's bow tie, check my own oil, hail a cab in New York, yell at an ump, text my kids, drop a decent tip, write a thank-you note, know when a teenager is lying, trick my mother's poodle into doing what I want it to do, identify which movie stars have had plastic surgery, predict what play an offense will run when it's third down, knit a scarf, play "Amazing Grace" on the ukulele, read a map, tell what time it is without looking at a clock, meet a deadline AND quickly core a head of lettuce thanks to my past training as a Taco Time employee), I do NOT know how to deal with a moose.

Especially one who's standing 10 feet away from Kim and me.

And suddenly (high on the mountaintop) I was wishing wishing wishing with all my heart that instead of making us take geometry, our high school counselors had insisted we take classes in Basic Moose Survival Skills before graduating.

Come on, people! What would you rather know how to do? Tell the difference between an acute or an obtuse triangle? Or survive a moose attack?

(Answer: Survive a moose attack. OBVIOUSLY.)

You see? This is the problem with education in America today. IT JUST DOES NOT PREPARE YOU FOR REAL LIFE.

Me: What do we do now?

Kim: Turn around and get out of here.

Me: What if it runs after us?

Kim: Then I think we're pretty much toast.

So. We took our chances. We turned around and ran down the mountainside. Fortunately the moose decided he had better things to do, such as eat berries and gophers. Or whatever it is that moose eat these days.

As soon as I got home I Googled "How to survive a moose attack" and found these suggestions from someone named Rick "The Moose Whisperer" Sinnott.

What to do: Jump out of the way or hide behind a tree.

What NOT to do: Throw rocks or snowballs at it. (Author's note: I would also suggest not saying "you have a big butt" straight to its face.)

What does it mean if a moose pins back its ears and licks its lips: Um. Let's just say you won't be doing the tourist thing again any time soon.

Anyhoo! Hope this helps.

Meanwhile, I hope you'll enjoy your stay in our beautiful state.


—Ann Cannon