BUT LICKER IS QUICKER: Alcohol consumption is up here in our happy little burg, if the DUI statistics are anything to go by. I can’t explain why this should be so, only that is. The local gendarmes detained some fifty-seven people for driving under the influence within the city limits this past year, which is fourteen more than they stopped last year. So there are either more drunks on the road or the local Finest are getting better at catching them; proficiency in this area, unlike baseball, for example, is hard to measure statistically.
Still, the presence of such a trend is somewhat disquieting, to say the least. The mixture of alcohol and almost any field of human endeavor you care to mention is almost universally disastrous, unless that field of human endeavor is making an ass of yourself. If that’s your aim, then by all means, top off the twenty Jello shots you’ve had in the past fifteen minutes with another one and a couple of beers for good measure, but before you do, give your best friend the keys to your car, this always assuming that he’s not just as crocked as you are. Otherwise, whatever it is you’re trying to do whilst under the influence, stop trying to do it; you will not succeed.
One of the many things you should not do while under the influence is watch public television. I’m not speaking here of the children’s programming, which is fairly harmless even when combined with heavy drinking, although the hopelessly intoxicated will want to sing along with big birds and purple dinosaurs, or the political, news, or cultural programming, which alcohol makes even more soporific than it already is, putting the inebriated to sleep and keeping them off the road, thereby serving the greater good by promoting the cause of highway safety. No, I mean public television’s nature and science programming, which no one should watch unless completely sober.
I bring this up because, as you may know, deer season recently ended here and my brothers, having killed, gutted, butchered, and otherwise disposed of one male deer, decided afterwards that reassembling the deer’s skeleton might be a good idea. They decided to do this on a Saturday afternoon after watching college football and gulped down enough beer to keep a team of Clydesdales scooting back and forth from the brewery for a couple of weeks, give or take a day. With the games over, they apparently turned to public television and watched a program about the deer problem now afflicting those of us here in the northeastern United States (I realize that deer afflict other areas as well, but we also deal with their attendant problems: our county’s leading export is Lyme disease, which we have more of than anyone else in the United States). Having watched the program and come to the conclusion that reassembling the deer’s skeleton would be a good idea; it’d be educational, one brother opined, although we all know what deer look like and don’t need any further exegesis on the subject.
And as I said, they were in really no condition to tie their shoelaces, much less reassemble a deer. With the courage of their DUI convictions, however, they went out to the garage where the remains of the deer remained and set to work putting Bambi’s dad back together again. As you might imagine, if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put a simple egg back together again, then how much more difficult must it be for a troop of drunks on an educational binge to disunravel a disassembled deer.
At first, they thought they ought to try to put the meat back on the bones but that failed as they kept slipping in the offal mess they made on the garage floor (yeah, that was bad, I admit it) and then decided to just putting the skeleton back together again. For this purpose, the brothers and company (mostly drinking buddies) cracked out the scotch tape, the glue, and a thousand yard ball of twine that my brother keeps in the hope that someday he might get some use out of it. He bought the ball about five years ago, I think, and I think since then he’s used about forty yards of the stuff. There are only so many things you can use twine for, you know.
Well, killing a deer is a lot easier than putting one back together again. I know this because my brothers called me down to help them, for reasons I’m pretty sure I don’t understand, since I know absolutely nothing about the anatomy of the white-tailed deer, and I found them in the middle of the garage with large numbers of bones glued together at odd angles and held together with twine and tape. I tried to make some heads or tails of the skeleton because I’m pretty sure they couldn’t, even though I’m no expert. A deer’s skull does not rest on its pelvis, I’m reasonably certain of that, and I am also sure that a deer’s ribs do not emanate from its front legs, but from the spine, the same as other vertebrates. There were also bits I didn’t understand at first, like the use of beer cans for the bones they couldn’t find or had stashed in the refrigerator with the meat still on them, said beer cans being reinforced with sticks and golf clubs. I’m no golfer, but I’m fairly certain that one of the buck’s front forelegs was a five iron.
“So what do you think,” the brothers and their cohort announced grandly. I was not sure what I thought, or if I should tell men so far in a drunken stupor that they could actually ask me what I thought of their skeletal recreation. I tried to be diplomatic, but I couldn’t think of anything right off the top of my head, which is something that happens to me way too often, I think. In this case, though, the lucky entrance of a wife saved me from having to tell a none too convincing lie. I don’t have a wife, so this is not something I can prove with facts and figures, but it seems that most wives object to trying to clean clothing drenched with deer’s blood. And the brothers and the friendly cohort were dripping with deer’s blood; at least, the parts that hadn’t already dried to their skins dripped. One of the reasons I don’t have a wife is that loud, high-pitched scream that emanates from them when they see something like their husbands covered in deer’s blood, following by ferocious swearing and nagging of a fairly intense nature. I don’t spend a lot of time wallowing in deer’s blood; wallowing as a recreational activity has never really appealed to me, but I think I’ll skip that whole screaming thing, if it’s all the same to you. On the positive side--well, it might be positive; it's purely a personal opinion, I think; they did manage to use another fifty yards of my brother's old twine.