Cruelty

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(From the Montrose Daily Press)

There is a herd of elk (the one in the article above) that lives in the valley leading into the town of Telluride. A couple of weeks ago we passed it as we were driving into the village, and what a beautiful group of animals it was. There was a stag in the group who had antlers that were as magnificent as any I’ve seen outside of photographs. We pulled our car over just to watch them for awhile. Because they are accustomed to people and cars, we were within 50 yards of the herd without seemingly bothering them at all.

Some days after our visit, a coward went into the area and killed a bull elk from the herd. It would have been as if one walked up to a group of cows and shot one. No more courage or skill was required than that. What they did was apparently legal but I wonder … how do you boast about shooting a cow?

No matter how one twists logic to justify it, the “sport” of hunting involves the killing of other creatures … for fun. The whole sorry business is despicable.

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Robin continues to mend steadily but at a slower pace than she would like. At least that is how I would think about it if our situations were reversed. But then I have never claimed to be stalwart in the face of discomfort of any kind. When I was a child spending time on Grandpa Jacobson’s farm, I would often get slivers in my hands. Since I had been taught that leaving the splinter in there was going to either bring on the nightmare disease of “lockjaw” or my hand would swell up and fall off, I had to seek help. And the help available was Grandma or Grandpa.

Grandma’s approach was to sterilize a small needle in a flame and then carefully unroof the splinter and extract it with a tweezer. Grandpa, on the other hand, would pull a pocketknife from his overalls and set about carving out a chunk of my flesh that would hopefully contain the bit of offending vegetation. It wasn’t that he was anything but a kind man, but when such a knife is the tool you have to work with, that is what happens.

So whenever I had a choice I would hide the injury until we got back to the house and Grandma could take over. Even then there was an embarrassing amount of grimacing and whining on my part until the thing was done. I’m not sure, but I expect that I might do the same today in similar circumstances. Heroism does not run strong on my side of the family.

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My favorite sort of cartoon is one that surprises me. One that takes me somewhere when I didn’t even know that I was traveling. The drawing above this paragraph is an example. It’s quiet, subtle, but is obviously taking place in some alternative universe. The clearest indicator is the dog being in the operating room in the first place. Such a thing could never happen, at least in the U.S. … or could it? There would be so many barriers to the animal getting in there, so many doors to get by and so many nurses and technicians trying to catch it and expel it from the premises.

Now look again. While the OR staff are all masked, none of their noses are covered, which is a totally unacceptable break in protocol. If we’re going to spread something from human to human, what issues from our noses is an excellent way to do it. Not everyone in the country appreciates this, though. I see it every day in the public square as one of the things our local drizzlewit population does when presented with mask mandates.

Lastly … those naked feet. God knows what microorganisms we carry about on our feet from day to day, but finding a pair of tootsies exposed like that in the operating suite would be enough to horrify any nursing supervisor to the extent that they would surely come down with a variant of PTSD.

No, this cartoon limns a place of fantasy where the beam from the overhead lights cuts sharply through the surrounding darkness and isolates the six characters (I include the dog and the owner of those feet) in their very own world. It’s a great cartoon.

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Even for an operation on one’s knee, there are modifications of the home that are necessary. For instance, we’ve added several useful hardware items to the furnishings – a chair in the shower and a walker, for instance. Also we’ve temporarily retired several area rugs and put them out in the garage to prevent them from causing tripping and falls.

Said rugs are now piled high enough to pose hazards to anyone in that part of the building and may prove an effective burglary deterrent. “Honest, Officer Krupke, I had no idea that a stack of rugs could do that to a person. Do you think a good mortician … ?”

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Krupke, Krupke … now where did I hear that name? Oh, yeah … right here, from 1961 …

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I have a nomination for the best book title of 2021. It is Josh Ritter’s “The Great Glorious Goddamn Of It All.” I have it on my list for winter reading. How could I not?

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