Maybe this is funny, or maybe it's not
I was searching the annals of my old newspaper columns today for some of my writings on still-hunting, and found one that made me laugh out loud. It's a column I wrote back in June of 2009.
I'm not a humorist. When I say something funny, it's pretty dry humor. I usually get an eye-roll, but no one laughs.
I don't know if this is laughable or not, but back in June 2009 the President of the United States killed a fly during a televised interview. I couldn't resist talking about it. So, here it is:
Everyday Hunter Tortures Fly!
A recent news story from Cleveland reported that residents witnessed a black bear wander through their neighborhood. TV news is, of course, about pictures. But by the time the cameras arrived the bear had run away.
So, someone created a simulation for TV viewers, dramatizing how the bear “escaped.” A guy crouched behind a bear-shaped cardboard cutout and stumbled into a patch of woods.
Picture it: here’s a guy using a cardboard prop to illustrate a wildlife mystery: how the bear ran away.
Yep. I get it now. It’s so much easier to understand. A bear. It ran. It ran away.
Does that strike anyone else as funny? How about pathetic? I pity media-enlightened Americans who get treated to “news stories” where there really isn’t any story.
Another case in point: President Obama recently took a little hunting trip, literally an armchair expedition, and slapped a fly that landed on his hand during an on-camera interview.
What surprised me most was how everyone was so impressed. “That was a big one,” reporters marveled. Certainly no previous President had the skills to act swiftly and prevail decisively against an invader while discussing the important issues of the day!
That’s right! No president in history so aptly combines the hunting prowess of Teddy Roosevelt with the buck-stops-here attitude of Harry Truman. Obama’s new mantra: “The bug stops here!”
I figured this incident would result in air time for PETA (not People Eating Tasty Animals, but the other one—People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.) I was right. They revived the story (but not the fly) when they sent the President a deathless bug catcher contraption.
You can purchase the humane device on the PETA website. A gripping copy blurb makes it a must-have for every animal lover: “Are you the kind of person who wouldn’t hurt a fly? Is your motto ‘live and let live,’ …. Simply place Katcha Bug over the bug and slowly slide its plastic trapdoor shut. The bug will step onto the trapdoor as it closes, and you can carry Katcha Bug outside, where all you need to do is slide the trap door open, allowing the bug to walk away…. you won’t have to get too close for comfort.”
That might convince PETA sympathizers, but it raises too many questions for me. What do you do if the fly avoids a nice flat runway and hides in a flower arrangement? Or gets behind the curtains? Or even lands on (heaven forbid) the back of a President’s hand?
You do what I do. You consider the Katcha Bug a waste of money, even if it is only $8.00. Why? Because lots of people catch flies in their hands, not by slapping them, but by swiping at them while closing the hand. I could show the President myself (or show PETA, for that matter) how to do it. In fact, most any 10-year old boy could show and tell.
If you’re a PETA-type, you then open the window, relax your hand, and release the pesky fly to go annoy a cabinet secretary or bother a bureaucrat hidden in the bowels of Washington. Then wash your hands.
Or, if you’re not a PETA-type, you can stun the fly by dashing it against the floor. Then squash it in a tissue and waterboard it (just to be sure no one revives it) by flushing it down the toilet.
I can see the headline now: “Everyday Hunter Tortures Fly!”
I was thinking about PETA one evening while grilling a couple of burgers in my back yard. A Cooper’s Hawk flew by and nabbed a young robin. I wondered if PETA would think that was ethical.
The answer was clear to all the angry robins scolding the hawk: they thought it wasn’t.
I didn’t get the license plate of that raptor. Nor could I point to this murderous Cooper’s Hawk with its unregistered claws in a police line-up. But I briefly considered reporting the meanie to PETA.
Then I thought, maybe it’s better that I just forget the whole thing, or PETA might come after me for waterboarding a fly.