06.18fathers day 2011: the deer imitator
It’s 1988, and my father and I are in his two-toned 1983 Suburban headed on I-40 West toward Hickman County, TN.
Me: “Why do you like going into the woods to hunt deer so much?”
Dad: “For stress relief. To get away from civilization.”
Stress. Yes, going 60 miles from home, turning down a dirt road, and putting on a bunch of over-sized camouflage with frayed U.S. Air Force insignia on it was certainly better than junior high school. But did I know stress?
Me: I bet deer laugh at us.
Dad: I don’t think they laugh at my .30-06!
Me: No. Probably not. But think about it. Animals don’t slowly kill themselves with stress and anxiety like we do. They don’t check into rehabilitation centers for drug and alcohol dependence, or spend money on psychiatrists, or have to run a suicide prevention hotline. They don’t have heart attacks. They just eat and…hang out doing deer stuff. If there’s a danger, they fight or flight right quick and then go about their normal deer lives instead of finding an older, more educated deer to talk about what just happened and get in touch with their deer feelings about it all. Even Rudolph ran off and found a new life instead of dwelling on his deer issues. He found that dentist elf. And Yukon Cornelius.
Dad: I still say they’re scared of my .30-06.
Me: When I grow up, I’m not going to let myself stress out about everything. It doesn’t do any good. It’s reacting to a crisis that might not even happen. It’s stupid.
Dad: I guess you’re right. Try to hold onto that thought when you’re my age. And make sure you have a .30-06.
Me: Will do.
Last Sunday, I heard a preacher cite a Time Magazine article (that I’ve tried to locate online but can’t) that said the defining characteristic of our generation is fear. Not free love, a great war, rapidly evolving technology, great discoveries, or twitpic’ing genitals. Fear (and anxiety).
Are we that pathetic? My grandparents lived through a depression (a real one, not this pansy ass recession we’re in now), a world war (a real war, not this waste of time I’ve had to deploy to twice already), and years and years of drastically fewer practicing lawyers in America.
But we’re the ones defined by being scared? How’s that workin’ for us? Are our lives improved by worrying about them?
We’re 6 days from moving, and the closing attorney says I didn’t disclose something I should have. We’ve argued about it for two days; I’ve talked to my listing agent about it; I’ve talked to a real estate litigator about it. I know I’m technically in the right, but I’ve submitted a statement giving a watered-down explanation of what allegedly should have been added to my required Disclosure Statements anyway. Now, we’re waiting to see how the buyer reacts. Whether he’ll back out or not.
Regardless, we’re leaving on Friday. It’s been decided. I’m not cancelling an event we’ve anticipated for four years.
This Father’s Day, I’m told there will be pancakes and lots of bacon for breakfast.
And then, we’re going to start packing for the 17-mile move to the spot where we’ll start our new life as renters. Renters who will live closer to my office, good schools, and our church. Renters who will live farther from shootings, burglaries, traffic jams, pollution, and inflated property taxes.
It’s time to start living like deer.