(Did I tell you I won the pizza? Because I totally won the pizza, and as my token of appreciation, I plan to dedicate every single pepperoni burp to all of you, my readers.)
So, the longer I live in Maine, the more I realize just how hardcore this place really is. James has been watching How to Train a Dragon today, and I've got to say, Mainers are about half a step beyond those Vikings as far as technology goes. They're like half a step ahead of us in terms of dress.
Right now, Mainers are furiously preparing for winter, so everywhere you turn, people are chopping their wood, insulating their windows, and tromping around trying to shoot a buck before hunting season ends next weekend. Up in this neck of the woods, hunting is 20% about sport, 70% about feeding the family, and 10% about putting bumper stickers on your truck that say things like "FIND ONE WITH A BIG RACK AND MOUNT IT" and "GUT DEER?" Or wait, my favorite, "IF GUNS KILL PEOPLE, THEN SPOONS MADE ROSIE O'DONNELL FAT!"
I kid you not, I saw all three of those on my way to work today. What can I say? It's home and I love it. I grew up thinking a $42,000 tuition bill was normal, James'll grow up thinking wearing blaze orange to the bus stop is normal. Truth is, we're all screwed up, so let's just be nice.
Two weeks ago, the wide world of craigslist brought me more than an hour away from home, and out to the middle of nowhere--Norway, Maine to be exact.
You like that sign? It's a Maine staple. We can't get enough.
The truth is, when you find a killer deal on bunkbed mattresses, you take the killer deal on bunkbed mattresses--wherever you have to go. And then, puh-lease pay attention to this, you NEVER LET YOUR CHILDREN SLEEP ON THE CRAIGSLIST BUNKBED MATTRESSES. Everybody knows that's how they end up with those crazy weird diseases like diphtheria, and cholera, and wildly crooked teeth.
But in pursuit of bunkbed mattresses I was, so off to Norway, Maine I went. By myself. On a night that was pouring buckets.
It took me longer than it should have to get where I was going--that was on account of the weather, the non-googleable address, and directions that included all kind of creative phrases like, "Ya tuhhhhn left aftah the fiyah hydrant, travel three miles 'til ya see the supah lahhhge wood pile, bump ovah two pot holes, and then pull into the driveway just befoah the mailbox shaped like a small mouth bass."
Pfft, no problem there! The car practically knew the way without me!
When I finally found that bass-shaped mailbox, the details started meshing together--and hoo boy, it wasn't looking good. I was in the woods, on a rainy night, with no cell phone reception. I was at what appeared to be a body shop, and I was buying mattresses from a total and complete stranger named Bob.
With all those pieces forming a perfect horror-movie-shaped puzzle, I did exactly what they tell you not to do. I gave myself a quick pep-talk (Kick 'im in the balls. Kick 'im in the balls. Kick 'im in the balls.), hopped out of my car, and went to claim my bargain.
As I made my way over to the garage, the giant door rolled up and back to reveal a whole fleet of classic cars, a circa-1980's Heather Locklear pin-up, and a forty-something year old man wearing a flannel shirt and some sweatpants with elastic at the ankles--good for keeping debris off the calves.
He came out, met me in the rain with an umbrella, and over the pounding of the weather he screamed, "DON'T KNOW IF YOU'SE OFFENDED BY THIS KINDA THING, BUT THOUGHT I'D GIVE YA SOME WAHHHNING THAT THEY'SE A DEAH CAHCUSs HANGIN' BY TH'RAFTAHS!"
Translation: I'm not sure if you're offended by this kind of thing, but I thought I should warn you that there's a deer carcass hanging from the rafters of this garage.
Clearly, not something I anticipated. Clearly, something I should have anticipated.
Honestly, I have nothing against hunting. It's a natural, cost-effective, super healthy way to feed a family. But you know, Jared's not a deer hunter and it's not something I've ever been up close and personal with. But I'm a Mainer, it was time, so I acted like it was no big deal.
I was like, "Psssshhht. A deer carcass? I'm so cool with that, Bob. No prob. No prob, Bob. I'm so fine with it."
And I was.
Until I saw it.
I'll spare you the really rugged details, but I will say that the legs and hooves were on the floor, the skin was draped over a chair, and that poor bastard was looking right at me.
I looked at Bob and said, "Wow. I've never seen a deer like this. That's really fascinating."
And thanks to my 'fascination,' I got the super detailed tour. Bob was all, "Well this heyah's the brisket. This is the mince meat. And this? Well this is the trachea!," as he plunked it with his thumb and middle finger. Yes, yes, definitely hollow.
I was somehow managing to view the deer through scientific, objective eyes, possibly gaining a deeper appreciation for the origins of my food...until I noticed the tongue.
That deer's tongue was all John McCain style. A whole lot like this:
Can I just mention that I found a picture of
'hairy tongue syndrome' while I was looking for
this? And that I'll never be the same? Ever?
The second I got wind of the big, black deer tongue, the contents of my colon were instantly transformed from solid poo into liquid diarrhea...liquid diarrhea with a very serious eviction notice. How does nature do that?
I felt my stomach hit my knees and I wasn't about to ask Bob if I could use his bathroom. So I glanced at my watch, told him I had to hit the road and we'd better load up those bunkbed mattresses--with haste. He [quite seriously] brushed the deer fur from the mattresses with great care, and loaded 'em up. I shoved a few bills into his palm, and peeled out of his driveway, on the prowl for a magical bathroom in the middle of the Maine woods.
I never did find that magical bathroom, but twenty minutes later I did find a bathroom at a really dirty discount store, and no bathroom has ever looked so nice.