Monday, March 06, 2006

Bobcat vs. Donkey

At one point during my weekend-long cedar-whacking extravaganza, the donkeys and horses came over to see what I was doing in that loud, clattering contraption. I always thought equines were prey animals and, as such, ran from anything in the least bit out of the ordinary. (And if me working on a weekend isn't out of the ordinary, I don't know what is!) But on the contrary, they're very curious, so they sauntered over to check out the Bobcat.

The thing is, I didn't want them to be comfortable around it. You can't see very well in it, and I was fearful that I'd accidentally run over a donkey, or drop a tree on a horse, or mistake someone for a cedar and try to shear it. So I was in the awkward position of having to scare away these creatures who in general trust me very much.

I started out slow, just tooting the (incredibly pathetic-sounding) horn. No dice, they just twitched an ear. I stepped it up to driving towards them at top speed which, in a Bobcat, is about 2 mph. Again no deal, they seemed to think I was coming to play. Finally I raised the shears high overhead and waggled them back and forth, giving rise to a fierce clanging. At last the animals reacted with appropriate dread, and ran for their lives.

But it made me realize that I am just not a frightening individual. No one is scared of me. For the love of Pete I had a hard time alarming a herd of prey animals with a multi-ton bulldozer strapped around me!

This has always been true, even back in high school. For instance, our "Wilderness Club" had taken a weekend trip Ship Island in Louisiana to clean up the beaches and then soak up the sun for a few hours. The girls had wandered out into the deeper water until it was up to their necks, and had taken their tops off, waving them above their heads to taunt any hapless male members of the group who might walk by on the beach. One of the guys, Scott, made as if to charge into the water after them and the girls squealed and giggled with mock horror and delight, hurriedly redressing until he peeled off and resumed his walk down the beach.

So here I come, walking down the beach, and the top-waggling resumes. "I'm comin' in!" I yell, splashing towards heaven on earth. "Eeeek, look out, let's -- oh, it's just Jeff. Come on in!"

"Just Jeff, come on in"?! What am I, chopped beef? An extra from Brokeback Mountain? Apparently I just missed out on the whole "This guy is trouble" gene somehow. I don't think I could scare a basket of kittens if I had a dog costume on.

Next time I'm definitely renting a bigger bulldozer. I think I'm gonna need it in case I run into a mouse or something really ferocious and need to scare it off.


Denise said...
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Denise said...

You need to learn how to really terrorize living creatures, Jeff. It's not by waving a mechanical creature at them... no sir... it's more subtle. For instance, "I think we're going to have to run more tests on that..." "Hello, this is the IRS..." "Lean over and cough."

For a woman, it's, "Honey, we've got to do something about all that gray hair on your head -- ever heard the words 'Lady Clairol?'"
For kids, it's "Young man, what do you have hidden in your pocket." For dogs, it's the two words "spay" and "neuter." On second thought, that could be two of the worst words for the male population as well...

Maybe we could learn to be more trusting of the four-legged animals and less trusting of the two-legged kind! Animals can sense when a person's got bad intentions or good intentions. They looked beyond the hulking metal contraption you were cocooned in. Although, admit it, it felt good smacking the crap out of everything, stomping, destroying and mutilating everything in sight. Ummm, how much did it cost to rent that thing.....

Either way, your description of yourself in the Bobcat reminded me of those guys in the last Matrix movie in those big, hulking machines where they shot everything in sight. This, I might add, is about the only thing I've understood in all of the "Matrix" movies. I do not get the movies. Never. Despite watching them two or three times. Don't get it. But I do get "An Affair to Remember" and "Sleepless in Seattle." And if you came at me waving your big ole shovel in a Bobcat, I'd say, "Hey Jeff." Because I know your heart to be gentle.

Jeff Hebert said...

Denise said:
Either way, your description of yourself in the Bobcat reminded me of those guys in the last Matrix movie in those big, hulking machines where they shot everything in sight.

I thought about that too. Those things bug the heck out of me though -- they're completely impractical. The human inside them is mostly unprotected from flying shrapnel, there's no way they can hole enough ammo for the rate of fire they have to sustain, the area they have to cover isn't large enough to need mobile forces, on and on. I hated those things.

Denise said...

Well, the only thing that's really protected when you're driving a Bobcat is your ass. Which is what you're really trying to save in the first place...