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What November Means

11|01|09

In Wisconsin, you have been able to hunt deer with a bow and arrow since September 15th. With a license, of course, and then you need a bow and arrow. Robin Hood’s shoddy wooden number probably wouldn’t work against the ‘roid ragers roaming the woods these days, so you’re better armed with something like this:

Parker Tornado

Kill Shit.

Now that November is happening right now we can live the memory of the frost that gathers early in the morning, the retrieval of last year’s wool socks, and the growth of a full man beard in anticipation of hunting season. In Wisconsin, November becomes the manliest of months. The deer have been feasting on garbage rotting in the woods and birthing Bambis all over the place, thus their numbers must be quelled and the freshly bearded men of Wisconsin (and Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa) are the ones to do it. We women are too soft and must suckle our young back at the farm.

Actually, the women also grow beards and go into the woods. It’s due to the steroids in beef.

There were two years in which I lived with a guy named Joe (name not changed) in a small house on Hudson Street in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Joe was a carpenter, from a small town in farther-out-there-than-some-place-called-Eau-Claire, Wisconsin. He was a manly man who drove a (big) truck, never wore a shirt, and hunted. I didn’t eat meat, was an English major, and burned incense. We were like”The Odd Couple” with more beer, except I’ve never seen “The Odd Couple” so I’m just making a vague reference. What this meant was that I became educated in what November means in Wisconsin. Joe stopped shaving and spent a lot more time comparing different shades of camouflage. I just wore a heavier jacket. And then one day he packed up his truck and made off for his cabin. Everyone in Wisconsin has a cabin– it’s not a vacation home, but more of a shack in the middle of the woods with no bathroom.

Hunting does involve drinking, but usually after the guns have been put away (hopefully). But Joe would take a week off from work, bag a deer, and come back to the Ranch (what we affectionately dubbed this house on Hudson Street) smelling like the manliest man. Which is to say, he had not showered in awhile and spent his days trekking through the woods, trying to stalk deer. And sporting a fine chin of bearded glory.

Please, no flash. It startles the deer.

Training.

I enjoyed this Wisconsin education. I didn’t start eating meat until I moved to a different house and drank too much and then ate a turkey sandwich, but I did try some of Joe’s venison later. It was damn good. After several years in Wisconsin, I moved on, thinking that I needed a more liberal landscape for my personal growth. In reality, I just surrounded myself with people who wore flannel for fashion and not warmth. Their beards weren’t the beards of November and camo.

In November, I seem to miss Wisconsin a lot more.

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