Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Deer Whistles

My mother and step-father live in northern Michigan where the deer are as thick as lice. After a close call of almost hitting one during the late 1980s, my stepfather invested in these vehicle-mounted whistles that are supposed to scare the deer away from your car. A few weeks after installing these things, my parents and my little brother were driving close to their home with the windows when a deer stepped out in front of them and they knocked the shit out of it. Literally. Deer droppings were launched that flew in through the back window and grazed my little brother (whose reflex had improved quite a bit since the Shepherd Pie story). In the end, the deer did a couple of thousand dollars of damage to the car.
About five years later, right after I got out of the military, my step-father hit another one. This one was just grazed and apparently both the deer and the car walked away from the accident. My step-father was convinced though that if he had not had those whistles installed, the accident would have been much worse. He claims the deer did not see him, but heard him at the last minute and took off just in time to avoid a head on collision. From that point on, he kept pressuring me to put those whistles on my car, reminding me about it every time I went up to visit them. He even got me a set for Christmas one year and asked me almost every week afterwards if I had gotten around to putting them in yet. I never did, out of basic laziness, and eventually told him that the dog had gotten hold of them and chewed them up. Still, he refused to let the subject go and kept lecturing me about the hazards of driving in northern Michigan without deer whistles.
About four years ago, I drove up to visit them but when I got to their place I was surprised to find that no one was home. After two hours of waiting, I was just getting ready to leave when a police car pulled into the driveway with my parents in the back seat. They had hit another deer but this time totaled the car. My parents were pretty shook up by the experience and my stepfather in particular seemed reluctant to answer my requests for more details about the accident. After I asked him if the whistles were installed on the car, he nodded.
“So,” I continued, “Did the deer forget to turn on his hearing aid or something?”
My stepfather glared at me. “That deer was flying. He jumped off a hill and landed on top of the car like he was in the airborne.”
I shook my head in disbelief. “I don’t think they would let a deaf deer in the paratroopers, Pops.”
Even though he still swore by those deer whistles, he at least quit bugging me to put them on my car.
Last week, my mother called me and told me that my stepfather had hit yet ANOTHER deer, bringing the grand total to four. Again, the car was totaled but no one was hurt. Once I got DeerSlayer on the phone, I asked him how bad the car was. He said it was tore up pretty severely. I asked him if the deer whistles were still salvageable.
“Why?” he asked suspiciously.
“I’m going to start deer hunting again this fall and need something to call them in with.” I said while breaking into a fit of hysterical laughter. When I finally settled down I discovered that he’d hung up me, making me laugh that much harder. I called them again last night. He still won’t talk to me.

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