Sunday, September 16, 2018



        I admit. At no point during the rest of the year do I think, even once, "What I really need right now is some deer jerky."
     Yet driving up to Ontonagon, on the shores of Lake Superior, it feels not only natural, but necessary to stop in Slinger, Wisconsin, at Held's Meats and Cheeses, to pick up a pound or two. 
     Tradition is a stern task master.
     There was a twist this year, as we walked through the door, my buddy whispered to me. 
     "That guy's carrying a gun."
     That he was. A very large man in a yellow shirt. A revolver, by the look of it, shoved in the right pocket of his capacious blue shorts.
     It wasn't a big deal. I joined the queue at the case, considered my cheese options, then ordered what I always do. About a pound of the deer jerky, the regular, not the spicy 
     "The thick part if you can."
     The thick part is softer. Just enough for our weekend at the lake—my wife gave me strict instructions not to bring any home. My older son once said it tastes, "like a burned down house."
     My eyes did glance to the butt of that revolver, and I snapped a photo, to share here.
     I've been coming to Held's for years, unarmed, and never felt imperiled. Obviously this guy feels differently. He has the need to go around packing, not only at Held's but, I imagine, everywhere else he goes.
      So why is he the tough guy, in the eyes of many, the proud American exercising his God-given right to carry a weapon everywhere? While I'm the cringing weenie, taking my chances on the mean streets of Slinger—well, the parking lot of Held's, I can't say I actually set foot on a street in Slinger, assuming such things exist.  
     Which of us has more faith in the nation? In our fellow citizens? In the police? In the rule of law?
     No need to answer. We each have our answers and stick with 'em. 
     Not really my business. This guy is endangering himself more than me or anyone else, and I suppose whatever person who might get shot when he reaches into his pocket for some breath mints and that gun tumbles out.
    It wasn't me, at least, not while I was there, gratefully accepting my white paper wrapped package and hurrying away with perhaps a little extra rapidity. Getting into the car, immediately unwrapping my prize in the car, carving off a generous chaw of jerky with my Gerber LST folding knife. Which shows that I am not against going around armed, provided your weapon has a purpose, such as slicing up jerky. It really is very good jerky, and only $18.95 a pound. 


  1. If that overstuffed sausage thinks he's affected the Clint Eastwood "go ahead, make my day" look, he's wrong. He reminds me more of the guy in the movie "In Bruges" who gets winded trying to attack Colin Farrell, after being referred to as an elephant.

  2. I really don't see how carrying guns around with you, every time you venture out in public, can end well.

    How emotionally mature can such people be? It seems inevitable that eventually we'll get to, "So you think you saw this parking space first, huh? Well, I got a little friend here who says you're wrong!"

    I've never tried deer meat of any kind. There's something in me that won't let me eat meat from an animal I consider cute.

    1. I understand hunters everywhere were irate at Walt Disney when Bambi came out.

  3. Didn't care for venison steaks but the sausage was good, at least from the California butcher my hunter friend used. Stupid shorts guy, a man's pants should end above his knees or at his shoes, could be tired of being called out for his fashion faux pas, or laughed at for his lumpy figure. Saw a talk show hosted by Aisha Tyler about fat shaming where they seemed to oppose any interventions with an overweight person. From today's picture, and a couple of beyond morbidly obese people I saw on my walk this morning, I understand the urge to confront these people who are committing slow motion suicide. The protrusion from his pants pocket would dissuade me in this case. Of course, from what is visible, it could be a starters pistol and he may have just been on the way home from a Bass fishing tournament.

  4. I’m way past being affected by seeing overweight people. It’s the new normal in our country, sorry to say, albeit not a healthy normal.
    There are so many causes for obesity that I don’t feel I know enough to even broach the subject.

    Noticing a gun-toting individual nearby, however, in an out-of-the-way, isolated place of business would make me slightly nervous.

  5. It's the gangbanger/thug look...which has become a fashion statement. Everywhere from the beach to the basketball court, you see that sloppy style. I'm usually the only one at the beach who's not wearing that crap. I'm still wearing the "bathing suit" or 'trunks' from 25-30 years ago...or even more. The ones that are SHORT and fall to a few inches below the crotch. Isn't that why they were originally called "shorts" in the first place?

    Let them laugh. I don't care. I'm too old to give a damn about 'style' anymore. I'd feel dumber wearing those baggy banger pants than I do in my speedo-style outfit--the ones the Olympic swimmers still wear.


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