Monday, December 01, 2008

Hunting For Buster

From halfway across the yard at TDC Uncle Buster hollered "we're headed out to hunt - do you want to go?" I responded in the only way one can in that situation (if one wants to be invited back) which is to look away like you don't really care, spit, scratch around the crotch-al region a bit, mumble "I reckon", then make sure you beat him to his house to load up your gear first so you don't get accidentally left.

There is also the question of funds to consider. LAST time I went hunting with him I was swaying in the breeze 15 feet up a tree half-in, half-out of a stand when, from the comfort of his four-wheel-drive golf cart Uncle Buster announced: "Ok, good luck. Oh - also - if you shoot something big its going to cost you $975."

Based on that new information - as soon as Uncle Buster was out of sight I unloaded my gun and left it on the ground to avoid temptation; then I spent the evening watching a monster 8-pt with a 20" inside spread gently hump the first 2 steps up to my stand. All I could think is: that's $121.87 per point.

After awhile I noticed through my binoculars that, at 8x, the coal black eye of a monster buck standing directly underneath you looks extremely malevolent. When the sun set that fact, compounded with my already profound fear of the dark, AND my recent viewing of Pet Sematery I made me extremely scared - enough so that someone eventually had to come find me with a flashlight and help me get down. In the process I managed to step on my favorite rifle which, in my excitement, I had forgotten was still on the ground.

After a great deal of introspection on the way home, what I ultimately realized is that my purpose on that occasion was not to hunt FOR ME or WITH Uncle Buster - it was to hunt FOR Uncle Buster. He wanted to sit on BOTH stands himself, but hadn't figured out an effective way to do that yet with current technology, so he was willing to settle for two pairs of eyes and just one gun (his). Either way he would get most of the benefit of having hunted both locations at once with very little downside at all. A brilliant plan.

Ever hopeful, this week I thought "perhaps this time I am hunting for ME!" and I hopped up into the truck. A short 30 minutes later we arrived at our location. Uncle Buster let me out on a dirt road, indicated a general direction, and said "go that way, then after dark - come back this way." I prepared to do so, but this time, with my prior experience firmly in mind, I first asked: "how much is this going to cost me?"

"Shut up" he said.

"Ok" I said.

When the cloud of dust from his 200 horsepower golf cart subsided - I unloaded my gun and checked to make sure my flashlight battery was dead. It was, so I left my gun on the ground and clambered up into my stand with my binoculars.

When you're deer hunting - two pairs of eyes are better than one.

A Strong Seat on the Matter

Thanksgiving, and the vast quantities of food it entails, exacts a heavy toll on my delicate psyche. At some point during the week I generally feel it necessary to escape the gluttonous fetters that keep me tethered within a 20ft striking range of the kitchen and actually DO something productive.

Ordinarily I’d run off to TDC for a few days of laying around in front of the fire while slowly weaning myself off of Thanksgiving leftovers, but this year the weather was so miserable I decided to remain at home. Instead of going hunting on Saturday I did the unthinkable and I actually went shopping. I, James G Ewing Jr., loaded myself into the truck, alone, and alone I essayed forth into the wilds of post-Thanksgiving shopper-zombie-hell.

Actually, I stopped off at my local federal firearms-licensed gun broker and bought a new rifle, THEN I went shopping. That’s not terribly important though; except to explain why there was a shiny new rifle laying across the front seat of my truck when I pulled up outside Joseph A. Banks (clothiers) a scant 30 minutes later. If you weren’t there you wouldn’t have noticed, but if you were: that’s why.

Now you know and you can quit interrupting.

I made myself a parking spot very near the front of that fine establishment, walked in the door, and immediately noticed two things that are salient to this conversation
1. EVERYTHING was on sale.
2. Two extremely well-dressed, extremely gay, gentlemen were making cooing sounds of delight while floating rapidly across the store in my direction.

I ended up spending roughly $351.97 more than I had originally intended ($99) in order to save approximately $898 off of quoted retail prices; a fact rapidly brought to my attention by the cheeky cashier whose smile quickly faded when I upended my empty wallet, shook it vigorously in his face, and asked him if he would “kindly bend over and pick up my $898”. Generally, I’ve found any retail conversation I start by suggesting that the other party “bend over” doesn’t go well by the standards of polite society, but this time it was worth a cool $898 if you ask me. I can’t help it if every cashier in North American thinks I’m The Un-funny.

I know certain of you can sympathize with my post-purchase cognitive dissonance; but this story really isn’t about shopping - it’s about appropriate personal interaction with strangers; to which end - please allow me to transport you to the fitting room….

It was brought to my attention recently by a certain female that “pleated-front pants” were somewhat out of vogue for men under 50 – a fact that had escaped my attention thus far; evidenced by the preponderance of pleated-front pants inhabiting my closet. So, in good faith I loaded up gay salesman #1 with a stack of high-quality wool plain-front pants, slipped a pair on in the dressing room, and marched back out for a viewing.

So, now I’m standing in the center of the store in thin wool dress pants, cowboy boots, a white t-shirt, and a camo hat; twirling around in front of a three-sided-mirror-thing surrounded by sales staff and one little Vietnamese guy who grew up out of the floor somewhere with a cloth tape wrapped around his neck and pins stuck in all his lapels; and I’m trying my best to get a good viewing angle on my backyard which, with that many people standing in my immediate personal space, ain’t easy. To make things even more difficult - the little Vietnamese clothing genii is unaccountably swiping at my crotch with a tiny bar of soap while spouting off clothing jokes in quick succession; so between slapping at his hands and twisting this-way-and-that; my natural good humor is rapidly wearing thin.

I finally managed to achieve line-of-sight on my rump and crotch at once only to conclude that what gay salesman #2 described as “a wee bit tight up front” actually looks more like a meatpacking accident during an executive tour of the plant.

Quick switch of trouser.

More plain-fronts (next size up) appear draped around the neck of gay salesman #1.

Everyone appears sweaty for some reason - which makes me sweaty - so now my plain-fronts are sticking to my plain-rump and - even worse - the backs of my knees (which makes me feel vaguely suicidal).

I power through a quick change-out and, finally, a pair fits in the waist. I can breathe again - so I’m happy.

Silence abounds.

Crickets chirp.

Then, in a very soothing voice, gay salesman #2 pipes up: “perhaps we should go to a pleated front….they’re better for someone with a strong seat and powerful thighs.”

All I’m saying is: you don’t have to hurt my feelings to sell me pleated pants.