Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's a Miracle!

For those of you living outside the Northwest, you may have been missing a heartwrenching tale of staggering courage. An area man was last seen jogging near Cougar Mountain last Friday early in the morning. His car was found in the parking lot. When he failed to return, his wife notified police. Dozens of volunteers gave up their weekends to scour Cougar Mountain for this man, to no avail. When the poor lost soul wasn't found, our community feared the worst. The search-and-rescue operation was called off on Monday. This is the kind of story that make us upset here in Seattle. As we drink our coffee and read the morning paper, we ponder the capricious nature of others' mortality, and we debate whether to light candles.

Here, I'll let the Seattle Post-Intelligencer explain:

Fellow runners search for missing Issaquah man

ISSAQUAH -- King County sheriff's Deputy Peter Linde stood in the rain near a Cougar Mountain trailhead Sunday afternoon and shook his head.

For the third straight day, King County search and rescue teams combed an 11-square-mile area, desperately searching for Michael Schreck -- the Issaquah man and father of two teenagers who left for a Friday morning run and never returned.

Searchers brought dogs, horses and twice scanned the area with heat sensors by helicopter. But early Sunday evening, they seemed to have no more solid leads than they did two days earlier, and Linde looked at a Cougar Mountain map as though it were a Rubik's Cube.

"This guy just disappeared," he said.

It was a sad story, a tale that includes all the elements of tragedy that allow us to identify with his plight. He has children. He's white. He was out in nature, lost. Someone couldn't figure out a Rubik's cube. The story was worthy. Dozens of us gathered in the front yard of Kurt Cobain's old home to light candles. Then, a miracle:

Missing jogger turns up, and says he fell into a ravine

ISSAQUAH -- Was it an incredible story of survival or just a case of someone who didn't want to be found?

That's what some are wondering after 47-year-old Michael Schreck, whose disappearance set off a massive search on Cougar Mountain, suddenly showed up at his family's Issaquah home late Monday with a remarkable story of living off nothing but muddy creek water since Friday.

"He said he fell into a ravine and he's been unconscious since then," King County sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said. "We're going to take his story at face value."


The statement thanked searchers and, by way of explanation, said Michael Schreck slipped off a Squak Mountain trail and was knocked unconscious. The area was part of an 11-square-mile search with no sign of the jogger, police said.

The family's statement said Schreck was beneath a log and covered with leaves for warmth. He suffered no serious injuries, they said. When deputies interviewed him about 1 a.m. Tuesday, he appeared in perfect health.

"No injuries, no bumps or bruises," Urquhart said.

This tremendous news warmed our heart cockles. Right now, we would be lighting candles in celebration if not for the naysayers. You see, after this stirring ordeal, some people actually have the nerve to question our brave hero. I guess that's what we do in our society. We build up heroes, and then when we see them standing above us on a pedestal, we look for weaknesses and paint their balls red.

This criticism is entirely unfounded. Let me explain.

It's often difficult for me to present someone else's point of view, especially when it's illogical, but I'll do my best. Some people -- in many cases embittered rescuers disappointed with their own incompetent search techniques -- claim that his story doesn't make sense. There are three main claims.

Claim 1: If he was knocked unconscious for three days, their twisted logic goes, how did he snuggle under a log and cover himself with leaves?

Look, this kind of thing happens to me all the time. When I'm riding home from work, I'll run into a tree and kind of black out. I'll wake up a few minutes later under a park bench or a pile of leaves, shake it off, and get back on my bike. Wendy is usually upset with me for not coming home when I'm supposed to, but it happens regularly. Ask her. I suppose if I got hit in the head much harder, I might be out for three days instead of thirty minutes, and then I'd be in the headlines: "Area Man Missing, Bicycle Found." I'm fairly certain the article would mention my wife and twin sons.

Claim 2: If he got injured seriously enough to knock him out for three days, why doesn't he have any bumps or bruises?

Nit, meet picker.

Claim 3: If he was really knocked out for three days and then walked five miles back home, why wasn't he dehydrated?

Fish in a barrel. Because he drank water from a creek on his way home, that's why. I agree with the hero's neighbor: "Sometimes miracles like this happen." Yes, yes, they do.

I have turned on comments so that you can pour out your heartfelt expressions in this time of joy and disbelief.


  1. AnonymousMay 24, 2007

    I have an evil black heart (not related in any way to the Blackbook), 'cause this was wicked funny. And I don't believe the guy's story for one second.

  2. After being unceremoniously locked out for days, you expect us to just swallow our pride and come right back and comment? You got another think coming, buster.


  3. AnonymousMay 24, 2007

    Obviously he was abducted by aliens(the space kind not the undocumented worker kind). When they were done conducting their experiments (think Cartman in South Park)they placed him under a pile of leaves so the fire would wake him up and he could return home.

  4. AnonymousMay 24, 2007

    Or....his wife needs to get an attorney

  5. AnonymousMay 24, 2007

    What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

  6. AnonymousMay 25, 2007

    Sounds like his wife needs to get him some of those newfangled GPS shoes. To keep track of where he's putting his, um, feet.

  7. AnonymousMay 26, 2007

    Bob, re: Shatner -- (I'm piggybacking on the permitted posting entry)-- I don't think that's unintentional. Watch him on Boston Legal - he gets a kick out of ambiguous self-presentations. Is he really an idiot, or slyly making fun at us all? Would he spray paint a twist tie yellow and wear it around his wrist?

  8. AnonymousMay 29, 2007

    I think his wife better needs to keep track of where he's putting his, um, can I say penis (?)

  9. Lurkette - Shatner is willing to make fun of himself now. I haven't seen Boston Legal, but I believe he hams it up -- he mocks himself regularly on SNL and other shows nowadays. But I think in this case, back in the 70s when people did this kind of thing regularly, Shatner was emoting without shooting for humor.