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Buck Stops Here

Buck Stops Here

In response to a Write On Mamas writing prompt (“I want to remember’, 10 things to remember from this week):
– see a much more sensible version here: http://writeonmamas.com/watch-out-for-buck/

So yesterday I was, for the third time, confronted by a sizable buck (not a lifeguard or pool-boy kind of buck) (and not sizable in the R-rated sense), but a large deer, with antlers, and an attitude, up on Belvedere Island. The neighborhood online noticeboard had a long thread documenting the aggressive deer behavior of late. I have to admit, I found it kind of amusing – until I ran into the original victim at the grocery store and heard about her literally Starsky-and-Hutch’ing a car to get away from a charging deer.

Me: Dude, I just ran into Kathleen. The deer really are charging up on the island!
Dude: How much?

Okay, it was still kind of amusing – until I was face-to-face with a buck, on one of the narrow sets of steps that make the island such a great place for walking off your butt. It felt like Gary Larson had just re-written Stephen King’s PET SEMATARY (yes, it starts with ‘S’, I googled it), but this deer had no sense of humor, and was very much alive.

Well I am very glad that I had Mr Howell there (my burly beagle), because he was absolutely no help and it reminded me that I should never rely on anyone else but myself in these situations. He was cowering behind me like the un-watchdog he is.  I tried the ‘tch tch tch’ thing. I am practiced at the ‘tch tch tch’ as I use it to trick Mr Howell into chasing imaginary squirrels, just to entertain myself. The deer stared me down. He was flinging swear words at me from his mind, I could tell. What happened to that sweet little boing boing Bambi-tail retreat thing they do? This guy meant business.

I tried walking slowly backwards down the stairs. He matched my steps, coming toward me! What is that?! Some kind of evolutionary food-chain malfunction thing? Anyway, I ended up bushwhacking through yards and up an embankment where Mr Howell felt safe enough to pretend to want to save me from the huge squirrel.

This has happened twice since. The next aggressive, scathing deer I encountered was on a paved road. Paved! (just in case you missed that). As I retreated with my eyes averted, and took another route, I was thinking ‘wait! This isn’t right.’ This deer was obviously surreptitiously teaching its offspring (no doubt they were there in the bushes somewhere) to stare down humans, or charge at them and watch them roll athletically over car hoods. And I thought, ‘huh’ and also that there is going to be a whole new generation of deer that will take over the streets and walkways of.. . the entire continent. And with any chosen action, right at that moment, I was shifting evolution in a way that we will only know when we are looking back from off-shore floating jails manned by hoofed despots.

But I digress.

I get the whole bear thing (act small and dead), and I know to be all big and Sasquatch-like when in the vicinity of a mountain lion, but nothing has been written (has it?) on the right reaction when one encounters a potty-mouth, bully deer. I figured that walking forward was no better than walking backwards, when it came to the face-off, and since I just read the Dalai Lama’s introduction to Buddhism book, I thought it would be best to just be (om!) like a d… hey, wait a minute! Like a deer in the headlights!? What are they up to?

In any case, I thought all of this as I was running away full-pelt and whimpering like a ferret runt in a bull ring, so it was too late to be so enlightened.

And so, the third time I encountered an evil, tyrannical, people-smuggling deer, I stood my ground.  This buck was particularly broad-headed and jumpy, but I stayed strong for the good of humanity, my heart beating and my mouth dry. This one small act, I told myself and Mr Howell, was my version of benevolent resistance to this gamey uprising. I was saving the human race as we know it. And Mr Howell said ‘Okay, good for you, see you at my dog bowl,’ and pulled full-throttle away from the buck.

It was at least five minutes, okay, seconds, of challenging meditative staring, with a frantic, panting beagle pulling me off balance until he (the broad-headed buck), ceased his diatribe of profanities and sort of said ‘you’re not worth it’ and did a satisfying boing boing Bambi-tail retreat.

Yeah! Shchwooooo! (that’s a crowd cheer)

Well, I’ve only remembered one out of ten things –  but I’ll finish by saying, I want to remember (aha, got the prompt in there) the words of Stephen King, who said (or wrote, or yelled, or typed, I’m not sure) “The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there . . . and still on your feet.”


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