Monday, July 23, 2007

Welcome to The Cow Show

My good friend Tommy Statham launched into a long story last night about…something - I don't remember what. I think it was something about his cousin, but I don't really know exactly. I sort of phased slowly out when I heard him say "then we went to the livestock show."

Regardless, the point is this: his story involved a livestock "show"; more specifically - a cow show…..And that set me to thinking.

At some point it seems to me that every cow owner, before he or she became a cow owner, was confronted with a particular cow and immediately thought to himself, "if only I had that particular cow in my life, everything would be better. I gotta have that cow." Then, at some point our cow owner caught a glimpse of his special cow when the light hit her just right and he thought to himself, "my, that’s a beautiful cow."

Ultimately, our virtuous cow owner decides that beauty and perfection of the magnitude exemplified in his pet cow shouldn't be hidden away on a small farm in Yatesville, GA, but should be put on display for the entire world to see. So, that is why 11 months, 8,000lbs of feed, and 14 shampooings later; we catch up to our cow-owner friend at his first cow show, nervously fiddling with his suspenders and praying for total cattle-show domination.

As I understand it: in a cow show a full-grown man walks up to the center of a ring or stage with his pet cow and another man looks at the first man and says into a microphone, "this is quite a cow you got here. I bet you've spent a lot of quality time with this here cow."

The first man says, "I won't lie to you: this really is a great cow."

The second man says, "I know a great cow when I see one, and I really think this might be the very greatest cow in the entire barn. Here, let me give you this blue ribbon to put on your cow."

The first man says "Thank you, she'll love this ribbon. It'sanhonor. ThankyouGod...Icouldn'thavedoneitwithoutGod, my family, and this here cow."

And the two men part ways.

That’s it.

To recap: what we're talking about here is a grown man taking his pet cow down to an event for the sole purpose of allowing other people the pleasure of admiring his cow, and possibly admiring some cows himself.

And that’s fine with me.

I'm just concerned about the cows. Nobody asked them if they wanted to be paraded around stark naked in front of God and country like that.

Seems to me they could at least dress 'em up a bit.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lie 'Til You Die

I get quite a lot of questions about my deer picture here. I don't blame you for being interested, that’s a fine specimen of an animal represented there. In fact, you might even say it’s a monster, Big Bucky, Buckeronimo, The King of the Deer Herd, or even "Buckus Maximus."

Let me put it this way: if there is a more monstrous 8 pointer out there, I'm not aware of him - and if he DOES exist, I certainly don't want to know about it; so keep your grubby emails to yourselves.

Most people also seem very interested in the story of his demise, which I have told numerous times in the past; but have never gotten around to setting down on paper. It’s a pretty simple story, really. I was on my way to King & Spalding to look at some deal-related financial information and I noticed him standing at the corner of 14th and Peachtree, waiting on the bus. He leaned forward out of the wind to light a cigarette and rub one antler on a Marta advertisement and all I had to do was sneak up behind him and scream "AHAH HAHAHAHHA HA." He jumped right out in front of a Cox Sanitation truck. Once the cops left and the intersection cleared I simply slung him up into my truck and took him to the taxidermist.

See what I did there? I used the deer's natural nervous tendencies to my advantage. That’s the mark of a true hunter and I'm fairly proud of it, on the whole.

In fact, I'm inordinately proud of Big Bucky. I feel a certain sense of ownership and accomplishment in his demise; at least partly because I created him myself. Yup, I formed him from clay and breathed life directly into his nostrils. Its true.

Actually, that’s not at all true - its a face-melting lie straight from the pit of hell, but compared to some of the other hunting whoppers I've told its really not that bad. I figured I should try that lie on for size before commiting to it wholeheartedly and I needed an audience. I couldn't just waltz out on a limb with that one - it deserved a test run and you were my guinea pigs. Did you like the escalation? I like to ease into a good lie, you know: start off small, but finish up with a hell-raising crescendo of immaculate lies fit to make the Devil himself blush and shuffle his feet.

You have to understand: the art of fabricating a good hunting or fishing story requires a certain lack of moral compunction coupled with an absolute, lifelong, dedication to the lie itself. Its not a conversation piece - it’s a way of life. You don't hop back and forth across the fence with the details of your story - you stick to it. Own it, brother! Speak that lie forth into existence and then follow it with complete, immoral, Bible-scorching, self-sacrificial dedication. If you're not going to stick to it, don't bother - you'll just ruin a perfectly good story for everybody else. Then you've got a double-handful of nothin': your lie is shot, everybody knows you weren't man enough to walk that story all the way to her door.

Well, I have to go. I would write more, but I'm late to pick up my Tyrannosaurus Rex mount from the taxidermist. Now, THAT was a hunt! Remind me to tell you about it some time - it involved a canister of weapons-grade plutonium and a nine-iron. After it was all said and done; I'm just lucky the doctors were able to sew my head back on.

In the meantime, learn from the pros and hold fast to the code because, its like my Uncle Robert taught me in 2nd grade: if you're gonna lie, you gotta lie 'til you die.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ya Caught Me!

I was sitting at work a short while ago, feeling sort of low - a touch of general malaise I guess, when suddenly it hit me - I know what my problem is: I haven't gotten "caught" at anything in years!

I've been too good; I've lost sight of what is important in life. I no longer live on adrenaline and hot Cokes purloined from the pantry in clear violation of the "one-coke-a-day" rule. I can't remember the last Twinkie I snuck off the top of the fridge, but I know it was delicious. A Twinkie taken in honesty only tastes like creamy styrofoam, but a Twinkie greedily burgled out of Mom's stash: gustatory halcyon.

The truth is: getting "caught" was the best - it made EVERYTHING better. You remember those days, don’t you?

Sneaking out wouldn't have been fun if there hadn't been anybody around to catch you. There's no sense in blamming a ladder up against your bedroom window when you can just walk right out the front door on your own.

Why hit your sister if theres no fine? (It was $20 for angry-hitting, $10 for public embarassment, and $15 for a burp-and-blow within 3 feet - I paid for Margaret's education in dimes by the time she was 12).

Cigarettes are no fun if you don't have to steal 'em from your grandmother and who wants FRESH chewing tobacco when you can swipe a 4-year-old, moldy, pack out of Uncle Buster's bass boat?

Why shoot BBs at the garden statuary if nobody notices the chipped fingers and cracked noses?

If Granddad isn't there to freak out over a lost remote, why hide it?

Its no fun to stuff a plastic fishing worm up your nose if nobody spanks you for it in the doctor's office parking lot, you know?

Theres no sense pouting in front of the minister's wife anymore - now it just makes ME look bad, not my parents.

When was the last time you and 42 friends bought 850 raw eggs, all at once, all from the same Kroger; and thought nobody noticed? I don't want 850 raw eggs anymore because I know I can't expect to see a line of parents stacked up out front waiting to catch me red-handed. Its just no fun.

Temper tantrums in Target just get you arrested, they don't threaten to "call your father at work" (gasp). What use is a temper tantrum if you can't follow it with 8hrs of sheer terror - wondering if Dad will make good on his offer to "kill you" when he gets home?

Its just not the same anymore. Misdemeanors are felonies, nobody grounds you after going to traffic court, you can't even slam a door and get hollered at; now the glass panes just shatter and I gotta go fix it myself.

Its only a hint of consolation, but after spending some time thinking it over - I've found a way to get back a tiny bit of that just-been-caught satisfaction: Uncle Buster, remember when your hubcaps kept falling off your truck in the driveway? That was ME. I DID IT AND BLAMED IT ON THE BEAGLE!!! AAAHHHHHHHHAAAA!!!!!!

Ya caught me!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Why, Hello Placebo!

Why hello there.

Lets talk briefly about those paper "germ-preventative" disposable toilet seat covers you find in public restrooms.

You know that doesn't work, right?
Did they have you fooled?
Yes, they did??

Well, let me ask you this: when was the last time you were wheeled into a surgical procedure and greeted by a doctor wearing paper gloves?
No? Paper gloves? No - not common in your area?

Well, theres a reason for that: those seat covers aren't for your rump, buddy - they're for your BRAIN. Let me introduce you to the concept of the "placebo."

Webster's has the following to say on the idea:
pla·ce·bo n. pl. pla·ce·bos or pla·ce·boes: A substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient's expectation to get well.

(2) An inactive substance or preparation used as a control in an experiment or test to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.

(3) Something of no intrinsic remedial value that is used to appease or reassure another.

I bet you felt reassured, didn't you - last time you saw that dispenser on the wall? Don't let me burst your bubble, but that paper seat cover would be every bit as effective at preventing germs if you wore it around your head, ate it, or tied it into your shoe laces.

The point is: it’s a public restroom. They're nasty. If the office building you're in is so certain there will be a furious riot when the public realizes the dangers of the communal facilities they provide that they supply each little human sheep with its very own comfort blanket made of thin paper; maybe you oughtn't go in there at all! There's something they're not telling - and no amount of paper in the world is going to save your sweet cheeks from the risks.

DON’T GO IN THERE. I recommend to AVOID at all costs.

But if you must - sure, use those seat covers to your heart's content! I don't mind, because when I hear that seat cover dispenser busily dispensing its soul out in a nearby stall, I think to myself: why hello, placebo!.....And it gives me joy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fishing, Naturally.

I finished up part 3 of the CPA exam on Tuesday and, to reward myself for long hours spent in study, I took myself fishing.

Unfortunately, I don't have a boat.

Fortunately, my Uncle Buster DOES have a boat which, for some reason - he lets us use. It is a very large, very fast boat with lots of electronic equipment, little tiny buttons and knobs everywhere, and other things that go "Beeeeeeep" that someone (me) who doesn't really spend tons of time on a boat is liable to bend, fold, spindle, snap, or otherwise mutilate while furiously thrashing around on deck.

The other problem is - this particular boat's motor is stuck in the "OFF" position right now because something was going "kaawackitywackitywatckitythumpthumpthumpthump" last week when it was cranked up. Normally it would go "baaaarrooommmma aaaaaawoomwoomwo mwoowmm wwaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagrggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrwooshwooosh."

That is not a huge deal because you just lower the (new, expensive) trolling motor down in the water and fish to your little heart's content. Then, instead of running the boat back up on the trailer with the big motor, you take a run at it with the trolling motor and - in a complicated series of co-ordinated movements not unlike those you might see at a local performance of the Nutcracker Ballet; you pirouette on the fishing stool, snatch the trolling motor up 1/10 of a second before hitting the trailer (remembering to compensate for the big motor's swinging effect), and then hop off and balance on the edge of the trailer while quickly winching the boat back into its berth.

Of course, you should not hit the trailer off to one side, get the trolling motor hung up in the bunks, crank up the big motor when its going "kaawackity wackitywatckity thumpthumpth ump thump", accidentally back the lower unit over the top of Uncle Buster's submerged sprinkler system pump ($680), fall in, run the boat up over the trailer wheel-wells, run the boat into the tailgate of your truck, get our truck stuck in the mud at the edge, break a rod tip, step on a crankbait, or accidentally get out - leaving your truck in reverse while backing down into the water.

Those are some things you should not, under any circumstances, do to Uncle Buster's boat.

So, after I fell in, got the trolling motor unstuck from the bunks, backed the lower unit over the submerged sprinkler system pump ($680) ran over the wheel well, and got my truck hung up in the mud - we all went to the waffle house and had a patty melt. At waffle house we compared notes and realized that while I was busy thrashing around in the boat and my Uncle Buster was busy rolling his eyes at me - my Uncle John had been quietly snatching fish out of the water left and right.

Now, I'm 27 years old. I know how to operate a veritable bevy of farm equipment, motors, trucks, boats, and firearms. Seriously - I can do it. And, if nobody is around - I can even operate it without mangling the equipment into a twisted heap of steaming metal. So, last night when I went BACK out there fishing by myself - everything was smooth and easy….until I had to load up. Ordinarily there are two of you, and one person hops out to back the trailer into the water so the other person can load up the boat. As I was alone; I had to pull the boat up alongside the bank, get out, run over to my truck, back the trailer down into the water, then get BACK in the boat, and load up.

When I got out of the boat I accidentally shoved off with my foot without realizing it. After backing the trailer down into the water I went back over to the boat to hop in. Unfortunately, by that time the boat was nearer the center of the lake than the shore. Do you know what I mean by "nearer the center of the lake than the shore?"

I could have slung a crankbait over into the boat - snagged the carpet and slowly pulling it in to shore. At least, I could have done that if all my stuff wasn't already in the boat.

Fortunately, I like to swim in dark-water lakes at night, alone, in people's backyards when they don't know I'm going swimming. It adds to my swimming enjoyment. I particularly like the thick muck at the bottom of the lake that you sink knee-deep into and wonder, abstractly, about killer mud-snakes, quicksand, and lack of life-jackets. Then, the fun starts in earnest when I get OUT of the water because I especially prefer to be wet, muddy, and cold whenever possible.

I have learned to prepare for this sort of thing by always having some paper towels and a clean change of clothes under the seat in my truck. So, when the motion-sensor lights turned on - there I was - naked on my Uncle Buster's back lawn; attempting to dry myself on my tshirt.

Nature was my leotard.