GUN Christopher Buckley is hilarious

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by JaimeZX, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. JaimeZX

    JaimeZX Formerly of :Sep 2001: fame - Also: Sprout Crew OT Supporter

    Nov 7, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Charleston, SC
    Just read this in the magazine but it is also conveniently on the Forbes website. The pictures add a little but aren't totally necessary. I quote below. Long, but funny.

    Blasters of the Universe
    Each year an uncommon group of hunters gather On the South Dakota prairie
    for lies, liquor and a legal limit on local pheasant. It's a happy hunting ground

    The crowd at gate A-12 at the Minneapolis airport looked like a caucus of the
    National Rifle Association: 90 percent male, in orange blaze, camouflage and
    boots. Clumpy boots. The TSA screeners must have had a heart attack when
    they saw this bunch coming. For that matter, so would Osama bin Laden.
    There, among them, was Chuck.

    How do I describe Chuck? Six-foot-three but looks six-foot-six. Jut of jaw,
    piercing eyes, ruggedly handsome. He was the Winston Man in the ads.
    Played football for West Point. At 65, he looks like he could still get the ball
    into Navy's end zone. He is wearing military-style dark glasses, a cowboy hat
    and his old Army jacket, with Ranger and Airborne insignias, combat
    infantryman badge and captain's bars. Thirty-seven years later, it still fits him.

    "Chuckee!" I call out. I call him this in ironic homage to his machismo. A few
    hunters' heads turn suspiciously, wondering if they've wandered by mistake
    onto the set of "The Return to Brokeback Mountain."

    Chuck has with him the current issue of Fur, Fish and Game magazine. He
    points to a page, inviting me to share his indignation. "Muskrat's going for
    nine bucks." I have no immediate reply. "When I was growing up," he says, "it
    was three." I shake my head as if to say collegially, Well, damn.

    I have known Chuck for nearly 20 years. Never in all that time have I once
    heard him make specific reference to what happened in Vietnam, other than
    to some riotous night in a Saigon bar--of which there were, apparently,
    many. A few years ago, as I was flipping through a book about the history of
    the U.S. Special Forces, I came across a photograph of Chuck, circa 1968.
    He's holding what looks like a still-warm M-16 in one hand. He's staring at the
    ground, grimly. I looked him up in the index and read. While lying in a jungle
    camp, stricken with malaria, his outpost was overrun by North Vietnamese
    troops. He pulled the IV tube from his arm and went to work, killing 12 of the
    enemy. The last time I had seen him, a few months ago, was at Elaine's in
    New York, sitting next to Kirk Douglas and John Milius, who wrote the movies
    Dirty Harry and Apocalypse Now. So--there you have Chuck. We're going
    hunting together. Being a card-carrying metrosexual wimp whose idea of
    rugged is not finding a cab, I am somewhat nervous.

    The scene at baggage claim in Aberdeen, South Dakota, is festive. Men tend
    toward exuberance when being reunited with $10,000 shotguns and $3,000
    hunting dogs. I get that way when the repair guy from Comcast finally shows

    Chuck has rented us a pickup truck that looks like it was sired by a Humvee.
    He pops in a Vince Gill CD and lights a Marlboro.

    "Shouldn't you be smoking a Winston?" I say.

    "Nah. Boro!" he bellows out the open window. "I only smoke when I'm out here."

    The music is blasting, the October air is crisp, the sky is blue and very big.
    We are in South Dakota. Chuck gives the steering wheel a happy
    thump. "Isn't this great?"

    It is. We drive past Wal-Mart. Denny's. Motel 6. Grain silos. Immense grain
    silos. A freight train chugs by, 104 cars. Not a Starbucks in sight. Signs
    everywhere say: hunters welcome! You don't see that much back in old

    We get our hunting licenses at a gun store housed in what looks like a large,
    blast-proof concrete igloo. Perhaps the idea is to contain a blast. There is
    enough ammunition inside to retake Fallujah.

    Chuck decides he needs one more "house gun"--another phrase you don't
    hear so much back East. He selects a stainless-steel-finish Ruger over-and-
    under 12-gauge. It looks utilitarian, like something you'd point at a burglar
    rather than a pheasant.

    "Not the prettiest guns in the world, Rugers," Chuck observes, drawing a
    bead on an imaginary bird, "but man, you can depend on them."

    Jon is with us. Jon is Chuck's friend and property manager. He grew up on a
    Blackfoot Indian reservation in Montana. He knows everything there is to
    know about hunting. He and Chuck hold an erudite discussion of ammunition,
    specifically: lead versus steel versus bismuth. When hunting "core land," such
    as a watershed, you are required to shoot steel pellets, which are
    ecologically friendly. Anything with the word "lead" can be assumed to be
    ecologically inimical. (If you want to get a reaction from Al Gore, lean in close
    to his ear and and hiss " Lead!")

    Bismuth, I learn, is ecologically friendly; in fact, desirable. Indeed, Mother
    Nature yearns to be littered with pellets made of bismuth. But like the Kyoto
    Accords, it's expensive, and the Chinese won't go along. Chuck shakes his
    head at the necessity of shooting steel pellets. "It doesn't have the stopping
    power of lead," he mutters. "I've shot birds practically point-blank with steel.
    They just go, 'What was that, a mosquito?' and fly off."

    I carry a crate of lead and steel rounds to the pickup. There's something
    atavistic about hefting ammo. It's so much more manly than taking out the
    garbage. We drive west.

    Chuck's property consists of 860 acres overlooking the Missouri River, about
    two hours west of Aberdeen. Lewis and Clark passed right through his
    property on their way to the Pacific. Sacagawea, the young Shoshone Indian
    woman who served as their native translator, is buried not far from here, as
    is Sitting Bull. We're on the ancestral land of the Standing Rock Nation.

    The last nails are being pounded into Chuck's brand-new bunkhouse by a
    nervous young contractor as we drive up. I'd be nervous, too, if I were a
    contractor working for Chuck on a tight deadline. Jon grins. "Chuck has been
    sharing his concerns with us for the last several months about the necessity
    of finishing by today."

    The bunkhouse is about the size and shape of a double-wide: one large room
    with bunk beds for ten around a wood-burning stove. There's a very decent
    modern kitchen, two bathrooms and a caretaker's apartment. A covered
    porch runs the length of it, though I hesitate to call it a "porch." It feels more
    like one of those boardwalks outside a western saloon. You expect to hear
    the clink of spurs and boots and a voice snarling at you, " Steady, pilgrim."

    The sun will be setting in an hour, so we head out with Jon and his dogs, five
    splendid German wirehaired pointers with names like Buster and Duchess, to
    hunt a small coulee behind the house. A coulee is like the Grand Canyon, only
    a lot smaller.

    We descend into the coulee, boots crunching on dry Russian thistle. The land
    here was in drought. You sense that if you dropped a match, the
    conflagration would go all the way to Aberdeen.

    The dogs soon flush a bird. We shoulder our guns. Jon shouts, " Hen!" We
    lower our guns. "Hen," I learn, is an anticlimactic word, the equivalent of "Not
    tonight, dear." You're only allowed to shoot "roosters"--cock pheasants. The
    limit is three per day.

    Over the course of four days we saw perhaps a thousand or more birds.
    South Dakota is to pheasant what New York City is to people. Indeed, the
    respective populations are about the same: eight million. Last year, hunters
    in South Dakota took about 1.9 million (pheasant, that is, not people).
    Conservation over the last 20 years has quadrupled the pheasant population.
    Enforcement is rigorous and entails curious rituals. For instance, when you
    clean a bird, you have to leave the wing, head or leg attached to the breast
    so as to satisfy the game warden that it's a male. The wardens,
    or "conservation officers," here are treated like maître d's back home--with
    reverence and fear.

    It is getting cold. The stars are beginning to appear and there's a sliver of a
    hunter's moon.

    "When one is hunting," Ortega y Gasset wrote, "the air has another, more
    exquisite feel as it glides over the skin or enters the lungs, the rocks acquire
    a more expressive physiognomy, and the vegetation becomes loaded with
    meaning. But all this is due to the fact that the hunter, while he advances or
    waits crouching, feels tied through the earth to the animal he pursues,
    whether the animal is in view, hidden or absent. The reader who is not a
    hunter may think that these last words are mere phraseology, simply a
    manner of speaking. But the hunter will not."

    We work our way up the coulee toward the railroad tracks. Jon
    shouts, "Point!" and in the next instant Duchess or Buster flushes another
    bird. It bursts out of the scrub.

    " Rooster!"

    Chuck swings his Benelli 12-gauge pump and shoots. The bird wobbles, but
    flies on. I fire and, for some inexplicable reason, hit it. The bird drops and is
    briskly retrieved by the dogs.

    We are too tired to cook, so we drive into town and eat at a place called the
    Wrangler Inn, where everyone is either a hunter or a walleye fisherman. A
    large member of the Standing Rock Nation plays darts.

    The others arrive the next day, friends of Chuck. They've been shooting
    together for years. There is Philippe, who is Belgian but might as well be
    French. He owns two famous restaurants in New York. He is handsome and
    funny and wears expensive cowboy boots and hat. He strides in, hands
    holding imaginary twin six-shooters. "I have two licenses," he
    announces. "One for these"--he unholsters the faux pistols--"and one for
    these," reaching back to unsling two imaginary lever-action rifles. "That way,
    you can shoot twice as many!" He immediately sets to turning several poulets
    into dinner. We are in a bunkhouse in the middle of an Indian reservation in
    South Dakota near nowhere, and a three-star chef is preparing dinner. Give
    me the hardy life anytime.

    Phil arrives. Phil runs a New York advertising agency and is, as Chuck
    says, "an 800-pound gorilla." If you see a commercial on TV that has
    anything to do with prescription drugs or chronic pulmonary obstructive
    whatever or restless leg syndrome, chances are Phil produced it. He is a New
    Yorker, which is to say that every third word starts with the letter F. He's a
    very good shot. One night after dinner someone says to him that he seemed
    quiet earlier in the day. Phil says, "Ever since I lost my son a few years ago,
    it's like you're carrying a brick around in your pocket. It's always there. You
    never get rid of it."

    Jerry arrives. In the 1960s he and Chuck were Army lieutenants stationed in
    Germany. Their reminiscences of this period are colorful. Jerry is from
    Jacksonville and has a deep Southern baritone, along with a ready grin. He
    has sons and grandsons and is close to them and hunts with them. He
    develops real estate. Chuck tells me, "He's done real well." You wouldn't know
    it to talk with him. No hedge fund manager, he.

    Gary arrives. Chuck calls Gary "The Will Rogers of the New Millennium." He's
    Texan--deep-down Texas: funny, bandy-legged, goateed, chews tobacco,
    which he spits-- pwwwwt--into a Coke bottle while at the dinner table (you
    don't see that in Manhattan much, either), knows the lyrics to every country-
    western song ever written and lives to hunt. He doesn't miss. He's just flown
    in from Iceland, where he has spent eight days in a wetsuit up to his groin in
    ice-cold water shooting an allergy medicine commercial for Phil. He has
    arrived from Bismarck, two hours north of here. "Man," he says, standing in
    the doorway, "they got some tumbleweeds the size of Volkswagens blowin' in

    Chuck has bought all-terrain vehicles in Aberdeen. We set off on a variety of
    three- and four-wheelers. Chuck says, "It's like a bad Mel Gibson movie."

    I sit on the back of Chuck's four-wheeler, one hand holding the Ruger, the
    other clinging on to a handful of Chuck's jacket for dear life. He drives at 35
    miles an hour over prairie dog holes. In his post-Vietnam hell-raising period,
    Chuck and his Harley-Davidson were a regular fixture on Manhattan's streets.
    He owned a bar where the local chapter of Hells Angels liked to drink. Powder-
    fine dirt coats me head to toe.

    Philippe asks me, "What happen to you?"

    "You look like Rommel," Chuck says.

    "More like a raccoon," Gary observes.

    We peer out over a vast dry lake bed. It's a mile or so across, thick with
    desiccated cattails. There's a stiff wind blowing, 25 miles an hour or more,
    creating a blizzard of dried cattail spores. It looks like the Before part of one
    of Phil's allergy medicine commercials. We descend.

    "This is cowboy hunting," Chuck says, spitting out cattail spores as we
    crunch through. You can't see anything. I can tell where Phil is by the sound
    of F-words.

    An hour later we emerge, birdless, blind and spitting out lungfuls of cattail.

    "Man," Chuck says, "that was nasty."

    We drink wine and watch the sun set as Philippe fills the house with pleasant
    smells of dinner.

    Someone opens a hunting magazine to a two-page spread. It shows a
    mountain lion staring frostily at the photographer. The headline says: cold

    "Man," Gary says, "I'd like to pop me one of them. Have the leg hangin' down
    over the mantle."

    The conversation drifts to the subject What is the "scariest" animal? The
    correct answer is, surely, "man," but something tells me not to offer this
    insight. Philippe gives a shrug as if to suggest that there can be no
    disagreement. "The Siberian tiger," he says. " They are the most ferocious."

    Chuck shakes his. "Polar bear. Vicious mother******."

    Philippe brings the conversation to a screeching halt by calmly
    announcing "Ostriches."

    Heads turn. Ostriches?

    "When an ostrich is angry," says Philippe, "it will gut you-- with its claws." So
    now as I drift off to sleep I have another item for my list of Ways I Really,
    Really Don't Want to Die: clawed to death by annoyed ostriches. What
    would they say at my funeral? That God loved me?

    We are manly men, but we take our Lunesta and Ambien. Why not? Phil shot
    the commercials! As we drift off, Chuck murmurs, "We're gonna get some
    birds tomorrow, boys."

    In the middle of the night I awake to the sound of coyotes. A great many
    coyotes. In fact, a stunning number of coyotes. In fact, should there be this
    many coyotes out here? Is this, like, normal?

    Breakfast conversation:

    Philippe: "You should go to Hungary, for the wild boar. Fantastic."

    Chuck: "I don't shoot four-leggers."

    Jerry: "Only two-leggers?"

    Chuck shrugs. "Got my limit on those."

    Gary comes back to the house with two sharp-tailed grouse, which you are
    allowed to shoot before noon. They're beautiful birds, whitish with black and
    tan chevrons; but they look very plain beside Phasianus colchicus, which,
    with their green heads, red cheeks, white-ringed necks, iridescent plumage
    and long, golden tail feathers look as though Nature dressed them for Mardi

    "Man," Gary says, setting them on the table, "it's hotter out there than a
    backseat on prom night."

    We drive over to Chuck's neighbors, who have kindly allowed us to hunt two
    cornfields on either side of a swatch of trees. This is primo pheasant land--as
    Chuck puts it: "Two restaurants on either side of a hotel."

    When eight guns converge through tall corn and forest, you want to be
    laying down some rules. The biggest story in the local paper today is about
    two hunters who ended up in the hospital with faces full of number-six shot.
    This has become known as "Dick Cheney--style hunting." The Vice President
    must be thrilled that his name has become synonymous with "Shooting your
    fellow hunters in the face."

    The neighbor draws a map and assigns positions. We are all wearing orange
    blaze; still we enthusiastically agree: "No low shots." Make sure you see blue
    sky behind the bird.

    The dogs go in, and within moments the birds are boiling out of the woods
    and corn in every direction. I take aim at a high-flying rooster just as a buck
    deer leaps out of the corn. The buck has nothing to fear from me, but for
    some reason the sound of eight shotguns blasting away have persuaded him
    that this neighborhood has gone to hell.

    By the time the dogs have done their retrieving, we count 21 birds. We place
    them in the back of the pickup, where they form a mound of iridescent jewel-
    toned feathers and still- warm bodies.

    We're sweaty, tired, smeared with dirt and blood, and happy in that way you
    are when the hunt has gone well. The neighbor's two grandsons, ages eight
    and ten, look on wistfully. They badly want to be 12, when they can hunt
    legally. The younger one shows me a badger skull, which I admire. I tell him I
    was about 12 when I first hunted pheasant with my father. A freight train
    whistles in the distance. The moon is already up.

    Gary squirts a cudful of tobacco juice onto the road. It lands with a dusty
    splat. "Don't worry about the mule bein' blind," he says with mock
    annoyance, "just load the****** wagon." Everyone laughs. I do, too,
    though I can't quite put my finger on why it's so funny. We load up and head
    on back to the bunkhouse.

    I cook dinner that night and am nervous, since I do not normally prepare
    meals for a three-star chef. But the pheasant are tasty. We drink the last of
    our wine and smoke a cigar on the porch, shivering and listening to the
    coyotes. The next morning there is snow on the ground and it's time to go
    home. We got our limit.


  2. xpinchx

    xpinchx hes got a nice cock, on the thin side but its stil

    Dec 18, 2003
    Likes Received:
    East Lansing, MI
    probably ifl
  3. JaimeZX

    JaimeZX Formerly of :Sep 2001: fame - Also: Sprout Crew OT Supporter

    Nov 7, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Charleston, SC
    Definately. I had to put down the magazine at the ostrich comment I was laughing too hard.

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