by Bruce Bodson
As I sit here, tottering on the edge of geezerhood, I am, in theory, old enough to know better and yet still not senile enough to have forgotten the important stuff. As a result of this happy coincidence, I have amassed lots of valuable advice, most of which I have sense enough to keep to myself.
I will however dispense a few tidbits that I am confident are correct and will be of use to most people. At least they will be of use to most people who hang out in rivers, swamps, deserts and other such places.
1. Always assume the water is over your head. You’ll be wrong a lot, but the hassle it saves on those occasions when you’re right makes it all worthwhile.
2. Assume that all unidentified snakes are venomous. It is a sort of prejudicial assumption, but they don’t seem to take offense and it really cuts down on the whoopsies.
3. Never tap on a beehive to see if anyone’s home. This should be self explanatory. Goes double for hornet’s nests.
4. Never mess with baby gators. They’re cute as hell and their mamma thinks so too.
5. Always take the horse with the longest ears.
6. Shortcuts aren’t. Dead ends could be. Never take either one.
7. Local knowledge is not necessarily the same thing as actual knowledge. There are idiots wherever you go.
8. Never shoot a feral hog with birdshot. A night spent in a tree is an excellent teacher.
9. Never put a rattler in your glove compartment. Should be fairly obvious, but somebody actually had to learn this, and I’m not saying who.
10. Never leave the gas on while you look for the matches.
11. Never catch a badger in a burlap bag. Pillow cases don’t work either.
12. Never try to take a goose from another man’s dog, unless it just means more to you than your fingers.
13. Never inspect the rapids before you run the river. This is sort of counter to what a lot of old river hands will tell you, but I think if you insist on scaring the crap out of yourself before the trip, you’ll never go anywhere fun.
14. Rabies shots aren’t so bad, after the first few times.
15. Never feed skunks and then take the leftovers into your tent. Even if the zipper holds the incessant scratching and squalling is a bit unnerving.
16. Chipmunks are adorable, except when they’re latched onto your finger tip.
17. Don’t buy anything out of the ordinary at cross roads general stores. It’s probably been there since grand pappy opened the place after the war. The 1918 war.
18. If there’s a river at the bottom and a place to park at the top, it’s a boat launch. Anything in between is just part of the trip.
19. Plunge right in to most things. You’ll only die once, but there’s no limit on near death experiences. Death may be a tragedy, but everything else is just an adventure and a good story.
I reserve the right to ignore most of this good advice. I’ve probably ignored it all once or twice. I only mention it so if you find yourself in these predicaments, I can say I told you so. It’s one of the perquisites of impending geezerhood.
|The author, Bruce Bodson