Ol’ Stormin’ Norman was a little steamed about the reluctance expressed by our Gallic allies to participate in Operation Desert Storm. The French aren’t renowned for their martial spirit, but I don’t think we need to go all Groundskeeper Willie on them. True, they’re cheese-eaters, but “surrender monkey” seems a little harsh. But since the general is not the type of fellow you’d want to pick a fight with, we’d better leave it at that.
As for hunting, the Idler has only limited experience with the blood sports due to a congenital condition (laziness) that prevents him from climbing up and down hills and tramping through snow or mud with or without an accordion. This is why I have always drawn the job of cook/janitor in the few hunting expeditions in which I have been invited to participate, and this experience has taught me a valuable lesson: There are only so many ways in which beanie-wienie can be prepared before your dining public rebels. And since the diners involved were heavily armed men of often doubtful sobriety, I decided to hang up the spatula before I got any killer reviews.
Hunting never used to be controversial. Everybody I knew as a kid could use a rifle and a shotgun. On every block there was at least one fellow who had a beagle or two that could run the same rabbit past you as many times as you needed to close the deal. Other guys had a setter or a pointer. And almost everybody went small game hunting, that is, hunting for rabbits and birds. It’s undeniably a thrill when the dog freezes, then slowly approaches the quarry which all of a sudden goes popping up out of the cornfield in a flash of feathers and a whirr of sound. The old fellows took care of the game and gave every kid a literal feather for his cap. The old fellows also took care of “cleaning” the game, that is, getting it ready for the kitchen. This is not the glamor end of the operation, more about which later, but I can say I rarely had to pick any birdshot out of my teeth.
Deer hunting is a little different. For one thing you’re usually toting a high powered rifle. You’re dealing with a pretty big quarry – whitetail can go 200 lb.- and if you bag one, you don’t have to render it kitchen ready, but you do have to “field dress” it. This is where the Idler gets off. There’s a whole industry known as “meatpacking” devoted to turning beasts into hamburger, steaks, chops and even wienies (but not beanies) as well as other delightful tastefully-packaged products. They don’t try to do my job, whatever it is, so I’m willing to forego doing theirs.
But don’t get me wrong; I’m not going over to the PETA crowd. People have always eaten meat, at least since our first ancestor swung down out of a tree and went cruising for a wildebeest burger. Even the French still go nuts over pâté de foie gras – goose liver – which is something you’d find if you “field dressed” a fattened goose. Hey, I wonder what “beanie-pâté would taste like?