Monday, May 26, 2014

Nurse the Hate: The Deer Incident




As a kid, I can count the times I saw a deer in the wild on one hand.  Deer were something that made allegorical appearances in movies, and were in my experience animated and capable of speech.  I should point out; it isn’t as if I lived in the Bronx.  I lived in a suburban neighborhood that backed into extensive woods in a fairly rural spot in NW PA.  To see a deer was like seeing a bald eagle.  As far as I could tell, deer were animals that gracefully frolicked in America sometime between the Indian Nations and shortly after the Pilgrims landed.

Sometime in the last decade or so, whatever predator deer had must have vanished.  Did pterodactyls used to fly around and eat deer twenty years back?  I don’t really recall.  I suppose I would have remembered my mother scolding me to “Look up at the sky while you walk to school!  You don’t want to get taken away in pterodactyl claws like that Cameron boy!”  Yes, it seems unlikely that was the reason that now deer waltz around like they own the place.  Now I see deer every day.  These things have become so used to being near people, they are almost like squirrels.  Deer now stare straight at you with unblinking eyes like bored 13-year-old girls that think they have all the answers. It’s a strange reversal of fortune for the deer population.

A few days ago one of my bassets was going crazy by the fence line first thing in the morning.  This is not unusual as she patrols the perimeter with the stoic ferocity of an overzealous Border Agent.  The male basset sees himself in the role of “backup”, sort of like the “fat partner with the heart of gold” in a typical police drama.  I took a look outside to see why the basset is losing her mind, and standing right next to the fence is a decent sized deer.  The deer is completely unconcerned about the dog barking about two feet away.  In fact, I would say the deer was completely unimpressed by the whole display.  The male basset sees this entire episode is fruitless, and drifts away.  The female barks for a while longer, until finally giving up and just exchanges a stare with the deer.  I walked outside to get the dogs in, and the deer just stares at me.  This is one brazen deer.

I get involved in my normal morning routine until I see the deer is now running around with two fawns in the neighbors yard.  I will admit that I did not have my contacts in.  My vision is, shall we say, compromised.  This sentence will probably be used against me dramatically as I testify in a trial sometime in the future.  “Mr. Miller, how could you see the alleged shooter when in 2014 you admitted that you couldn’t tell the difference between a dog and a deer at a mere 50 yards?”  Cue shocked gasp from the citizens in the courtroom…

I had never seen anything like it.  As I stared to try and make sense of what I was seeing, I realized that this deer was in fact chasing the neighbor’s two dogs around the yard.  I was not aware that deer now feel like they have moved up a notch of the evolutionary chain over the dog.  Well, maybe not all deer have, but this one sure did.  Then the drama went up another notch as the teenage neighbor kid went outside waving his arms to scare the deer off and instead got charged by the deer as well.  This deer was not fucking around.  It was a hell of a thing. 

I went to work and forgot about the deer.

It was later that evening when I received a phone call alerting me that the deer had returned.  He had also hopped across the fence into my yard, eaten the hostas, and taken two (2) rather large dumps in the yard.  Who the hell did this son of a bitch think he was?  I thought I was doing this guy a solid when I brought the dogs in and let him do his thing out there undisturbed.  This was my payback?  Eat my plants and take two (2) dumps in my yard? 

I will admit to having a soft spot in my heart for deer.  They always seem to get shoved out of their natural habitat by whatever new unneeded housing development or shopping mall is being erected.  I get bummed out every single time I see one as road kill.  I recognize that most of my information about deer has come from the movie “Bambi” and that might not have been a completely factual documentary.  But it’s the eyes, it’s the eyes… They seem so sweet and kind…       

This was different.  This time it was personal.  This particular deer had gone too far.  I had decided that I needed a real show of power to make this deer respect me.  Many would have gone home and fetched some sort of firearm and shot wildly at this insolent animal.  Not me.  As I had taken this as a personal affront, I decided I needed to solve it up close and personal.  I needed to make a real statement here.

Perhaps it was the several Stone IPAs I had consumed prior to making this decision.  It’s hard to say what kind of combination of rage and drunken foolhardiness made me decide to return to my home and strip down to nothing else but a pair of gym shorts, work boots, and a Mexican wrestling mask.  I had decided that this deer had probably had many experiences that I as a human could only speculate about.  However, I felt fairly certain that he/she had never been punched in the face by a full-grown man.  How often would a big-eyed deer take a hook to the side of the face?  Probably never I was guessing.  There is no way he would see it coming.  I was thinking it was going to be a “Down goes Frazier!  Down goes Frazier!” kind of moment. 

The die was cast.  I was ready.  I stepped outside my sliding glass door with some butterflies.

A strange light filled the backyard as a mammoth thunderstorm eerily rolled in.  I stepped towards the woods, the deer nowhere in sight.  It had grown even darker.  A sudden flash of lightning in the distance flickered, showing the silhouette of the deer across my fence line.  I crouched in a combat pose yelling profanity at the animal, daring him to Enter The Octagon.  Another flash of lightning.  The deer stared right at me as I met his gaze.  He paused, considered, then turned and walked away as the rain started to drop with increasing urgency.

I suppose I won’t know for sure if that deer walked away due to the need of finding shelter from the incoming storm, or if I had righted the imbalance of nature and returned to the top of the food chain.  I did return inside with a sense of confidence, however misplaced.  Now here I sit inside my well lit home, typing this out, getting weaker while he’s out there.  Somewhere.  Getting stronger.   

2 Comments:

At May 27, 2014 at 1:51:00 PM EDT , Blogger Frank said...

Of course when we were growing up there were a lot more human predators of deer, but not as much nowadays because, ya know, guns are now evil (fortunately, people are still saintly, however). In any case, I’m pretty certain that deer was rabid. Very good you didn’t punch it.

 
At May 27, 2014 at 11:10:00 PM EDT , Blogger kyle maukjkma said...

You need to check out the 1972 horror movie "Frogs" It is about how the animal kingdom turns on man on an island somewhere in the south. Maybe the creatures are beginning to do this in Northeast Ohio.

 

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