This story gives a whole new meaning to shooting off one’s mouth. And, it may make you (yes, even you liberals) respect Dick Cheney a bit more. Bear with me.
I was having dinner this week in New York with a friend from Texas. He was born, raised, educated, and now works in Texas. He has Longhorns on his car (a little silver thing on the trunk, not full-on horns on the hood). He played football for the University of Texas. In summary, he’s all Texas. And, of course, he hunts.
Let me take a timeout to share my views on hunting. I don’t hunt. I’ve never hunted. I have no particular interest in hunting (and what interest I might have had was summarily extinguished when I heard the story I am about to recount). But, to be clear, I have no issues with hunting or people who hunt. I just have no interest in it. For starters, I pinged a bird with my BB gun when I was about 13 and felt like shit for it. So, I’ve always imagined I’d feel even worse watching a deer bleed to death, though with each one that attempts to leap over my car, I’m finding less sympathy for them. I feel a little better about people who eat what they kill while hunting, but I frankly don’t get all that worked up over people hunting for sport, especially if they are hunting deer in my neighborhood.
Back to my dinner with my Texan buddy. The conversation started with lobbyists. No, not hunting lobbyists. I don’t think even the PETA folks would have an issue with that. We were just talking about the corruption of politics and the role lobbyists play. He got all excited to tell me a story about a lobbyist he had met on a recent hunting trip to South Dakota. He has a buddy with a farm in South Dakota and, it turns out, his buddy had worked in Washington before losing his mind and returning to the relative calm of South Dakota. This guy invited a bunch of dudes to go quail hunting on his farm in South Dakota, including my Texan friend…..and the lobbyist he had worked with in DC.
As my friend recounted the story, he was all atwitter about how wimpy and whiney the lobbyist was, apparently because he was so soft from sitting behind a desk, giving out illegal bribes, and the like. I couldn’t wait to hear the details of the lobbyist’s wimpiness and whininess. After all, they strut around DC like such tough guys. In order to tell the story, my buddy had to explain to me how a quail hunt works. I’ll do my best to explain to you.
Picture a corn field where most of the corn rows have been cut down, but there’s one long row still standing. The quail are in the row still standing, munching on corn we assume. The group of hunters splits in half and runs up the row of corn (half on each side) causing the quail to start running to the end of the row. At the end of the row is one hunter. His role is to scare the shit out of the birds as they reach the end of the row, causing them to take off flying. Upon which all the other guys start shooting. Got it? Good.
Apparently, the lobbyist was whining about how tired he was so the other hunters told him to go sit on a folding chair at the end of the corn row and be the guy who scares the birds into flight. At this point in the story, I’m totally getting it. I see why the Texans and South Dakotans thought the Washingtonian was such a wimp. For crying out loud, if you’re out hunting all day, ya can’t whine about being tired. Suck it up. But, then, well, it got a little more murky.
The next part of the story, told from my friend’s perspective, with increased intensity, goes like this.
“So, this wimpy little douche gets all upset because, on one of the quail runs, he got shot in the face. It was bleeding and all, but, Jeez, what a friggin’ whiner.”
“Uh, excuse me. Tell me what happened again. I think I misheard you.”
“He got shot in the face. Like on the side of his cheek. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do it, but it came from my side. Well, doesn’t really matter. The point is the guy was such a crybaby; we were all laughing our asses off.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, “you’ve completely lost me. I thought you said the guy got shot in the face.”
“Ooookay, help me out here. I’m putting myself in his place. I’m out in the middle of a field. I’ve just been shot in the face. Am I not supposed to be royally pissed off?”
He ignored my question and got even more animated.
“Well, actually, he was complaining more about his leg than his face.”
“His leg? Why?”
“Because he got shot in the leg too.”
The cognitive dissonance was reaching a pitched crescendo for this non-hunter. With all the disdain I feel for lobbyists, I found my allegiance in this story shifting his way.
“So, now you’re telling me the dude got shot in the face AND the leg? And, you still think he was just being whiney to be upset about it.”
I’m not sure I ever really understood it, but what I did glean from this conversation was:
- Getting shot while bird hunting is commonplace. My Texas buddy said he’s been shot several times.
- I don’t want to go quail hunting. Ever.
- Maybe Dick Cheney wasn’t such a bad shot after all.
- In all cases, shooting lobbyists is probably OK.