Offseason: Time to go blow the crap out of stuff | AspenTimes.com
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Offseason: Time to go blow the crap out of stuff

Michael Cleverly

“This is the winter of our discontent.” Richard III, Act 1, Scene 1That’s right, it’s offseason ennui time again. The elections delayed it for a while but we’re hip-deep in it now.The campaigns were a decent distraction. Even if you were one of the few cogent adult Americans who wasn’t passionate about one candidate or the other, you could at least work up an intense dislike for all the nauseating political advertising. Now, that’s all behind us, and what we have to look forward to is a long offseason and perhaps a winter of you-know-what.Why was Richard III discontented? He and his guys had won the war, so they didn’t have anything to fight about anymore (they thought) and they were bored. So if the people who won the war were unhappy, then how the hell did the losers feel? (Wait. Never mind, I know how they felt – about half the country knows.) True to Shakespearean form, the winners of the last election seem discontented. In “Richard III” the war was over but the fun was just about to begin. I sincerely hope that’s not the case here in the homeland.Back in Vermont we used to refer to offseason and its attendant ennui as stick season. The leaves had fallen but the snow hadn’t. Sticks. There’s a mini-season that’s surrounded by stick season, hunting season (in Vermont, moron season). But it comes and goes and you still have the sticks. Hunting season in New England is different from hunting season in Colorado. The areas one hunts in are much smaller, and the population base the hunters are drawn from is much, much larger. The result is a lot more hunters per square mile, per acre, per square foot.My friends, Vermont boys who hunted, would usually “catch” their deer on the morning of the first day of hunting season. They’d go up to hunting camp, get up before dawn, hike out to the same deer run they’ve been hunting for years, wait for sunup and shoot their deer. If they were overly fond of their families, they’d take their deer and go home. Most of the time they’d sit in hunting camp and drink beer and play cards for the next week.The out-of-staters (most of them) were a different story. A flatlander would arise in a condition that is best described as still drunk and wander through the New England flora and fauna like a bull elephant looking for love. Dusk would bring the ritual unloading of the rifles. There are different ways of unloading one’s weapon; the preferred flatlander method is to keep pulling the trigger until it stops going boom. This creates an ambiance reminiscent of the beachhead scene in that Tom Hanks’ movie about D-Day.Every year, without fail, there’d be a news item in a small local paper about a farmer being shot off his tractor. These hunting accidents have always been accepted as part of the culture. Personally, I’ll never understand why, in light of these tragedies, the manufacturers of agricultural equipment continue to build vehicles that so closely resemble white-tailed deer. Either way, flatlander or local, in Vermont, blasting the crap out of stuff was an excellent way of coping with offseason ennui.The folks on the religious right down south have come up with a fairly creative way of keeping things interesting this offseason. Wielding the clout of a newfound political mandate and cheerfully inferring that quantity of votes equals quality of thought, they’re suggesting that the textbooks used in public schools to teach evolution bear a warning (à la the surgeon general’s on cigarettes), stating that evolution is merely a theory and if you don’t feel like buying into it, you don’t have to. Naturally this has freaked out us liberals and we’ve countered by saying that Bibles should bear a disclaimer indicating that the stories therein are merely cautionary tales and any association with this deity or that would basically be overreacting.To be honest, it’s so easy for the people on both sides of this kind of debate to push each other’s buttons I don’t know why they even bother. I guess it gives everyone something to sputter about ’til the holidays come along and distract us.In Woody Creek, offseason can come and go without much notice. This year everyone’s pretty much fed up with politics, we’ve never been inclined to religious debate, and blasting the crap out of stuff is a year-round occupation. Some of the boys might notice that there are fewer fools hovering behind them, lusting after their barstools at the Tavern.How you choose to deal with your offseason ennui is up to you. If you want to come down to Woody Creek, we could blast the crap out of some stuff.


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