I always get jealous of my kids this time of year. They are off to school and have all kinds of new stuff start in their lives. New classes, new teachers, new sports, new friends. Meanwhile, back at the ranch of adulthood, I still get up every morning and go do what I do every stinking day. Nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing offering much of a reason to get out of stinking bed.
“Oh, wait,” says the tiny little voice of optimism that reaches out from the deep recesses of my small mind. “Maybe you’ll make some new friends today!”
“Yeah,” I remind that stinking voice, “I work in tech support. I may meet a new person who is all pissed off because his or her Internet isn’t working. Sounds like fun.”
“Uh… well… they’ll be happy if you help them with their problem,” says the diminishing voice.
“Because I did what I am paid to do,” I replied. “They aren’t going to want to invite me and the family over for supper because I did my job.”
“… well… you, uh… sometimes, you’re coworkers are fun to be around,” squeaks the voice.
“Yeah, maybe today someone will come up with a new and exciting excuse to call in and not be able to come to work, and I can stress out (because everything stresses me out) trying to figure out how to reschedule stuff or make up for the work that coworker was supposed to do,” I tell the voice.
“You’re hopeless,” says the voice as it crawls back into the murk of my mind, hidden from all conscious thought… just where I like it.
Other than the weekends and the occasional scheduled vacation, I don’t find myself looking forward to too much during the course of any given day. Sometimes, I’m gifted a sporting event or a musical performance in the evening that makes the latter-half of a work day go by a little quicker. Usually, though, life is routine. For the kids, their lives are pretty routine as well, but their routines change from year to year and from season to season. Life as an adult can be… well… pretty mundane. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only adult who feels this way. I know this is one of the main reasons why I have changed jobs so many times: just to break up the mundane. I also have a feeling this is why American Idol and Monday Night Football are so popular: most of us just don’t know how to find excitement in our lives, so we settle for the faux-excitement of vesting our emotions in the efforts of someone who is actually living what we perceive to be the excitement. And for many of us, even most of the stuff we look forward to isn’t really so much about us as it is about our kids. Going to a kid’s baseball game or a kid’s soccer tournament or a kid’s piano recital. Once you’re old, you start to realize why people live vicariously through their children — because the life of an adult kinda sucks. All the good stuff happens to the young. Even the Bible agrees with me:
“Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
‘I find no pleasure in them’ ”— (Ecclesiastes 12-1)
Old age is the days of trouble when no pleasure is to be found.
So, in an effort to add something interesting to the monotony of adulthood, I decided this year to get myself a small game hunting license. As a kid, I used to hunt all the time. I grew up out in the country, and all of my friends lived in town, so I’d find myself on almost any given day out in the fields near our house shooting stuff. I’d shoot rabbits and snakes and all kinds of critters. As I grew older, I tried to shoot only things that could be utilized. I’d kill jackrabbits and feed them to our dogs. My blue healers loved fresh rabbit and weren’t quite fast enough to catch them on their own. I’d kill cottontails and make my mom cook them (which happened about twice before she said “no more”), and then I learned to make the best rabbit jerky in the world. I’d hunt sage grouse and pheasant and deer (all during the correct season, of course). I enjoyed hunting, and I haven’t hunted since I moved to the No-Hunting-or-Trespassing capital of the United States — Nebraska.
I’ve scoped out a few of the extremely small public areas around the panhandle where hunting is allowed, and I plan on killing some stuff. I plan on getting some rabbits and some squirrels and some doves and some crow and maybe even a pigeon or two and I’m going to eat them. I got a smoker a couple of years ago for Father’s Day, and I’ve learned that EVERYTHING is good smoked. Heck, if I run into any rattlesnakes or big old bull snakes, I may even throw them on the smoker.
The wife is, of course, disgusted with my plan, and the boys are terrified. But, by golly, I’m gonna start filling our freezer with numerous small, rodent-like creatures. I need to go back and re-hone my skills at being able to provide for my family with my own hands and some of the firearms collecting dust in the closet. I need to reconnect with my primal self. I need to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse.
… I need to find something more exciting than the anticipation of Sunday’s new Robot Chicken episode to look forward to each week…