THE WOOLY BULLY
RANGE: This loudly, proudly nationalistic sprite is usually encamped down at the American Legion Hall, although in times of international crisis— like a war or the Olympics—he is frequently found on the barstool next to you and/or behind the wheel of a taxi. He also occurs in National Park Service trailer campsites and infests phone-in radio shows.
HABITS: Although he is really very tiny, the Wooly Bully can puff himself up to enormous size, not unlike the bullfrog. He can also imitate that inflatable amphibian’s popping eyes and grumpy, bellicose croak. The Wooly Bully is a nature spirit: that is, he’s melodramatically proud of America’s geographical grandeur and seductively suggests to us, as we gaze in awe at the Rockies, the Grand Canyon, or the Everglades, that any country with landmarks like these couldn’t possibly, ever, screw up its economic or foreign policies. He can be devious, as well, and has been known to hide in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box. When swallowed, he creates that well-known lump in your throat at the climax of a John Wayne movie. He’s the spirit of patriotism. He loves to rattle the little sabre he carries but is mostly harmless as a child. (He can’t resist a parade or fireworks display.) The Wooly Bully is only dangerous when found in close proximity to the Right Wing Trog and the Pentagorgon, with whom he shares an affinity for invasions of small Caribbean islands, embargoes of socialist dictatorships, and meetings of the Trilateral Commission.
HISTORY: It is assumed that the Wooly Bully is of Teutonic origin, that he is descended from the blustering warrior dwarves so dear to Wagner, and that possibly his name itself is a corruption of Wuhlarbeit, the German word meaning ‘agitator,’ ‘irritation,’ ‘pain-in-the-neck.’ The Wooly Bully first appeared in America shortly before the turn of the century, emigrating from the Old World in the company of East European diplomats. He quickly adopted the patriotic fervor of his new land, however, and served as company mascot for Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. That is why, while cutting a swath through other people’s homelands in the name of National Security, Manifest Destiny, and Hearst newspaper circulation, T.R. would rally the troops by shouting, “Bully!”
SPOTTER’S TIPS: When Old Glory unfurls in the wind and the band plays Sousa, you will feel the Wooly Bully running up and down your spine. It tickles. Enjoy it. He’s only dangerous when armed.