Monday, May 31, 2010

The 8th Deadly Sin

Gun lust.  It's not exactly one of the seven deadly sins but it ought to be.  Some guys have auto lust, some have power tool lust, some have rod or reel lust.  In the end they're all cheaper than good old fashioned lust but only by the smallest of margins.

Lust is not something to be denied.  It's genetic after all, pre-programmed into us to preserve the species.  Without the primal physical attraction of one gender to the other we'd all just coexist until we died out, barely more than flashes in the pan of evolution.  But migrating to something so practical, so utilitarian, so genderless as a weapon seems contrary to all of Darwin's notions.  It just can't be natural...

Graceful curves, elegant lines, warm to the touch, gentle pull.  Or how about smooth action, rugged type, or more than a little kick?  Whatever your type she can catch your eye and the mind soon follows.  Attraction precedes obsession and is followed by rationalization and when you hit rationalization, you know you're in deep.

Fortunately, gun lust can be written off as "collecting" or "pursuing a hobby", even to the point of becoming an aficionado.  At any level it's entirely socially acceptable.  As time wears on, stricken hunters become serial offenders as they tend toward more guns and more specifically, more-specialized guns.  Like a woodworker who can always find an excuse for a new tool the hunter eventually feels a need for turkey guns, duck guns, quail guns, pheasant guns, upland guns, wetland guns, fast-shooting guns and even beautiful guns while at the same time acquiring choke sets for each of these so that it can potentially be used in place of the others.  Never forget that at its core lust is an emotion, and emotion trumps logic every time.

Possibly this is why each of the Deadly Sins is considered deadly.  If logic prevailed, such vices would be turned away at the door and we'd all live long and innocent lives, temptation-free and pure as spring water.  And boring as hell.  Vive la ├ępice of gun lust.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Purgatory

I've been without a bird dog for over a year now.  Doesn't seem like that long but nothing ever does when you're looking in the rear-view. Never thought I'd be this long without one, and I can assure you this isn't going to turn into one of those "as much as I hated it, it turned out for the best" posts.  It's been about as bad as I thought it would be.  I know, I know, cry me a river and build a bridge and get over it.

There's still a dog around the house and he's of a bird dog breed and all, but he's no bird dog.  The only flying things that interest him are butterflies and grasshoppers.  Needless to say he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Not to discount his presence, though, which has been a godsend over the last fourteen months. I don't need any New England Journal of Medicine study to tell me that scratching a dog's head is good therapy.

As any parent, businessman or politician will tell you, once you're given something the consequences of taking it away are oppressive.  After a decade and a half it sort of becomes an established part of you, both expected and taken for granted that in some form or another it will always be there.  Remove it and you might as well be a hillbilly with a broken still, a Canadian during an NHL players strike, or my wife without access to Facebook.  Wars have been waged over such misfortunes.

The upside to being an inquisitive person is that there's knowledge to be had everywhere, hiding in plain sight if you keep your eyes, ears and mind open.  One of the nuggets harvested over the last few years is that as you get older, changes in life brought about entirely by your choice result in other changes over which you have exactly no say whatsoever.  Kids seem like a great idea before you have them, problem is that nobody has figured out a really good way to let you know in advance how much time, money, and mental stability they consume.  Lacking this preview you get temporarily blinded by potential bliss only to see something resembling a Pollock when your vision returns.

A second parcel of wisdom is that just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should.  As King of the House, I could have exercised power over my domain and brought home another bird dog last summer.  And I could have watched that dog run off because someone forgot to put the electric fence collar on him.  And I could have sweated as my already thin bank account dwindled further under the weight of dog food, vet bills, replacement shoes, furniture, etc.  And I could have watched his antics reduce my spouse to a drooling cucumber, sitting in a corner rocking in the fetal position.  Yes, it's not just about me any more.

Strangely, time seems to have a way of resolving nearly everything.   The tide of inconveniences that conspired against a new dog last summer is slowly receding and while a puppy still might not be such a good idea, I'm warming to the idea of a 2-3 year old, well-trained or at least well-started dog.  Slightly less spastic and unruly, ready to hunt this fall, house-trained if I'm lucky.  Maybe when my butterfly chaser goes it'll be time to put a puppy in the rotation.  And there's the matter of finding a few new places to hunt seeing as several of my old coverts have gone the way of neglect or subdivision or foreclosure.  Gotta look into some new gear, too.   If I look far enough out there, I think I see the sun rising.