(for those that understand me, this will be funny…if you’re PETA happy, well…I don’t shoot geese)
So, I wake up this morning…in my normal fugue state…and stumble downstairs to start the coffee for the spouse (yeah, she actually had to get moving before me this morn, what is the world coming to). In my rush to create the nectar-of-the-caffeine-gawds, I left my glasses upstairs. The results of this (normally) is simply squinting at the computer screen like a little old man trying to glean information from a technical manual on a particle-accelerator…that he has confused with the latest issue of (insert your favorite girly magazine here).
Today, the results were a little different. After starting the machine of black nirvana, I stepped out onto the porch to investigate the results of the 5am lightning strike (that sent the wife, the mentally-challenged cat, and the aforementioned wanna-be little old man, into a fit of apoplectic thrashing and sheet tangling) in the back yard. I stepped out barefoot, breathed deeply of the warm moist air, and began to squint…and squint…and squint.
The blur that had become my world snapped grungily into a vague semblance of focus (or swam lazily into a blur of green/gray confusion..whichever). As yet another sign of my decrepitude (failing vision…I think it’s a plot to make me feel old) stamped itself deeper into my conscious mind, I saw something large and gray(ish) in the ‘weed’ garden in front of my tool-shed. IT was back…the raccoon.
This raccoon has tasked me (since early winter) with its mangy fur, stubby tail, and audacious attitude. First seen waddling out from under the carport by my wife one dark and cold eve (making her squeal ‘it’s so cute, can I keep it') to leaving paw prints on the furniture my friend graciously ‘donated’ to my back porch (to make room for his new furniture…’but Mike, it’s NICE stuff’…that same 'nice' furniture a local charity later deemed too abused to pick up and take to the needy poor) to taunting us by climbing up the window of the shed from the inside while we sit at breakfast. This beast has left ‘sign’ on the hood of my car, and shared my disdain for yard work by leaving a ‘present’ on my lawn-mower.
The final indignity heaped upon me was this last Tuesday morning, as it sauntered up to the front door of the shed in the early morning light as I drank my coffee. I saw him, he did not see me (and proceeded to try to tear his way under the door to get in the old building). I grabbed my bb-gun and crept out the door. He saw me as I closed it. He stared at me as I pumped the weapon up and drew a bead. He looked singularly unimpressed, as though sensing a certain impotence on my part. I shot, he sauntered to the right of the building (twitching his stumpy tail in disdain). I crept after him, wondering how I could miss a simple shot of only 30ish yards. My wife, hearing the noise, looked out the upstairs window to see me creeping around the left side of the shed. She watched me take a second shot as I rounded the corner…he reversed direction. 5 minutes of this ‘tango’, back and forth around the shed, before he dove up a tree in the neighbor’s yard (flicking that damnable tail) and thus ended the hunt.
I couldn’t believe it…I’ve always been a good shot, how? How could I have failed to fell the vermin? Then I looked down at my ‘weapon’…and saw the empty reservoir. NO BBs…not a one. I had been blasting AIR at the bloody animal. I stared up into the sky, empty weapon at my side, shaking a fist at the uncaring heavens and roared “Coooooooooonnn”! (trek fans, you’d better get it)
So anywho, back to this morn. In the weeds before the shed, is the humped vision of blurry gray that I have grown to know and detest. It simply sits there, as before, and I creep backwards through the door and begin to paw blindly for the weapon of mass embarrassment that is the air-gun. I pull it up, out the door (closing it behind me to prevent the idiot feline I share a domicile with from bolting outside) all the while not once losing sight of my prey. I glance quickly down at the chamber, and reassure myself that there are projectiles to be had and look back up. ‘Good, good …he tasks me, he tasks me…I’ll chase him round the weeds of my she’…well, you get the point.
I creep to the bottom of the stairs (quietly pumping the weapon up to maximum lethality), bare feet treading the damp concrete…and he does not flee. To assure best accuracy, I begin to creep out from under the porch roof and onto the wet sidewalk…closer and closer…yet still he does not flee. He is absorbed, in what I do not know, to such a degree that he does not even look up.
As I get to a range where I begin to worry as to whether or not I could escape an angered Raccoon bent on revenge for being shot at…I begin to question data that has been accumulating. Why has this animal not raised an arrogant eye at my bumbling attempts to visit my wrath upon him? Why has his tail not popped up to taunt me? Why has he not begun the dance about the shed that brought him such joy, and me such frustration…why does his coloration now resemble that of a Canada Goose?????
(To make a shaggy dog story longer, a brief interlude…my grandfather always loved collecting/making duck and goose decoys. A hunter he was. He thought of them as utilitarian art, and was not wholly wrong. Some of these decoys are quite lovely, accurate, and very very realistic)
I stand, squint a bit harder (remember that the fearless hunter of this story has forgotten the glasses that have been forced upon him by a cabal of 20/20 vision personages, such a small and insignificant group bent on making themselves feel superior to the remainder of the peoples of this earth…the oh so smart and handsome visually challenged ) and the oh so long neck of the Goose decoy becomes visible….
I turn, I walk slowly back into the house. I set down my weapon, the emblem of my fast fading virility and youth, tromp up the stairs and collect my glasses. As I put them on my face, I feel the weight of age settle upon my head…and I raise my fist at an uncaring ceiling and shake it at the crushing sense of my own failure.
I have been outsmarted by a devious raccoon, and a plastic goose…oh the humanity.