Out of the Woods: Preserve Patrick’s Childhood Years

Patrick Bright, commonly referred to as “Preserve Patrick,” grew up in West Creek, 13 miles from Woodland Park, a place he calls “the middle of nowhere.” Patrick talks about living in the middle of the woods without neighbors. “That’s kind of the reason I’m so weird, I think,” he said. “Not too much human interaction…just running around in the woods.”

Photo by Daniel Sarche

Patrick attended Woodland Park High School until he graduated in 2008. Upon graduating, he decided he wanted to stay in the state of Colorado. “I like the fact that there aren’t any bugs, or humidity, or southerners, or easterners, or people… you know?” Patrick said. “Coloradans are my type of people for the most part.” After graduation, Patrick moved to Argentina for eight months to live and work on his father’s fruit farm growing apples and grapes. Patrick also taught English at a school there, “which was kind of difficult,” he said. “I mean I didn’t speak any Spanish…they just kind of had to listen to me talk…but it was nice.”

Although his mother, father, and step-father are all retired Air Force, Patrick decided to move back to Colorado and go into the food service industry, starting his work at a restaurant called the Swiss Chalet in Woodland Park. “I made the desserts and the salad,” he said. “I actually kind of miss it, you were given a lot of creative freedom…like you would flay out apples to look like angels. Patrick says his favorite dessert to make was the Crème Brule, “because you got to torch it.” At this time, however, “my mother and my stepfather wanted to start charging me rent, so I moved out in my car in the dead of February…it was negative 20 degrees every night. You’d have to like sleep next to your water jug so it wouldn’t freeze,” he said.

Patrick spoke of his experience living “somewhere in the woods.” “I had a little gas stove, which somebody stole!” he exclaimed. “I had this little set up with my tent and someone came in and just took like toilet paper and my stove and my beans…the world’s a rough place.” “I got in a horrible car accident,” Patrick continued “And at this time I wasn’t living in my car, I was living in a half-finished house that my friend was working on. It had electricity and running water and walls so I figured it was all I needed… I fell asleep going 60 and ran into a guard rail and split my car in two…it was on Mother’s Day too,” he laughed. “I got a scratch on my hand, that was it.” Once the half-finished house was complete, Patrick lived there alone for three months before his friends graduated high school and moved in, and it was then that Patrick began working at Poor Richards. This brought Patrick to this part of Colorado Springs, where he continued to work until he was fired for “instigating a mutiny,” he quoted.

“I had to work at a McDonalds,” Patrick said. “I got a lot of good jokes out of it, but I think my liver has a scar on it…I’m talking about the liquor… to keep me, you know, from going insane. I didn’t eat it, I was a vegetarian at the time. It’s hard to find vegetables at f-n McDonalds…that was miserable, miserable time of my life.” After two weeks of this job, however, Patrick found work through Bon Appetit, and is now in his third year here at Colorado College, remaining loyal to the Preserve the entirety of his time.

“In terms of food service jobs, this is one of the best,” he said. “The fact that you see the same people every day, the same 2,000 people every day. 2,000 children, sorry….every day, it’s exhausting. [But also] It’s inspiring, it’s stimulating, you don’t get this conversation with people in the food industry, you just don’t.”

“I hate going to a job and feeling like I’m wasting my time,” Patrick said. “At least when I’m here I feel like I’m growing as a person. When I started I wasn’t very good at communicating, but over three years of awkward conversation, it has gotten a lot easier. I don’t want to get into a job where I’m wasting time putting boxes on shelves.” Upon saying this, Patrick begins to talk about his life as a stand up comedian. Although he used to perform around once a month in front of an audience, “always the headliner,” Patrick described a current rough patch. “It’s been a really s-ty few months,” he said. “[I] Just haven’t felt the …funny. I’ve been focusing mostly on morbid, angry s-t, which for me is therapeutic!”

Patrick talked about his mediums for inspiration. “I had a three day weekend recently,” he said. “[I] just watched a ton of documentaries about drugs, war, and police brutality. I want to make jokes about that sort of thing because it helps people get over problems to joke. I’ve been reading the news a lot to write some jokes, and nothing funny is f-n happening.” Although currently lacking inspiration, Patrick hopes to perform at CC before he comes to the end of his time here, “but the planning session was today,” he said. “I woke up an hour after it. I was going to have a final show to kind of shit on all of you guys. I have the jokes ready, I just need to put it all together, I want to make you people laugh, but this is also a liberal arts college and there are a lot of things that I find funny that you guys do not. Gotta be careful, writing a comedy show for this campus has been difficult.” Although Patrick claims this will be his last year working at the Preserve, he insists on holding to his plans of leaving this community with a performance.

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