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.
As long as it’s not deer in the headlights – not sure how well that would work out. Also, all the procreating would only mean you’d have to move again. 🙂
@SL, Good points!
And Happy Father’s Day. Enjoy your pancakes and bacon.
@britt, Thanks–I did!
I agree with most of what you said. There is a lot of fear being peddled around town and some of it isn’t worth the energy because it is nonsense.
my grandparents lived through a depression (a real one, not this pansy ass recession we’re in now)
But I wouldn’t be so quick to marginalize the economic problems that so many of us face. Every day more people lose their homes and more people wonder if they are going to be relegated to food stamps/welfare because they can’t find work.
I know more than a few people who have been unemployed or “partially employed” for so long now that they have no savings left.
Many marriages are dissolving because of financial issues or barely hanging on because they can’t afford to split up.
This time frame may very well be described later on as a depression- some say that it isn’t because it would create more fear.
All that being said you’re spot on about not letting fear control our lives. Have a good Father’s Day. It is well deserved.
@JackB, Thanks for your feedback. I do recognize it’s bad…I have friends who are bankruptcy lawyers or “family” lawyers who are extraordinarily busy these days erasing debts and eliminating marriages. Most of my clients are indigent due to injuries that aren’t their fault and an inability to work as a result. Still, I don’t think things are nearly as bad as they were 70-80 years ago. Hopefully, they never will be, but it’s too soon to tell.
In modern times, fear doesn’t do us any favors. If you worry about something and it happens… then your worrying didn’t solve anything. If you worry about something and it doesn’t happen… you worried for nothing. Turns out, Yoda was right all along!
@dave2, Is there anything Yoda WASN’T right about? Didn’t think so.
Let me be the first to offer you, my newborn deer, a salt lick. Then a tequila shot and a lemon wedge.
Enjoy your breakfast and the move.
@Always Home, Ha! Best gift for a new deer ever.
“Who among you, by worrying, can add a single day to your life?”
Somebody kind of smart said that.
@shieldmaiden, Yes! Learned that as a kid and have tried to never forget it.
Stress and anxiety…I know them too well. Better off without them. Happy Father’s Day!
@Karl, I hope you don’t know them for long. Thanks, Karl!
You were a weird kid, weren’t you?
Happy Father’s Day, and have fun frolicking in the meadow!
@beta dad, Yes. But at least I grew out of it, buddy.
And I frolic all over the place.
I always thought of deer more as co-op owners tham renters.
My wife and i have been talking about renting again. Scares us (ah hah) a little with the kids.
@homemakerman, They’re a bunch of damned socialists, really.
The difference between the two Depressions is less than you think. We’ve only just started this one.
@HH, I hope you’re wrong, but I suppose it’s too early to say. At least unemployment is nowhere near what it was in the ’30s.
Now I’m all curious which direction you’re headed. Sounds like the burbs, whatever the case.
Wouldn’t that be funny (and a tad bit creepy) if you moved close to me? Oh well at least I’d then have a fun drinking friend. (To add to my other fun drinking friends. We always like new blood.)
@Sara, Pretty much due north 17 miles, so maybe? I’ll email you.
That sounds like a pretty good plan. Good luck with the move.
@SeattleDad, It was! In hindsight.