Sunday, September 16, 2007

Virgin Hunter

I’ve always wanted to go hunting. Not in a ‘Tally-ho! Lets don some tweed and go shoot small things with big fuck-off guns!’ kind of way, but in a proper way involving a man vs. beast battle to the death. I love the idea of dressing up in camouflage and heading off alone into the woods, tracking a single deer for a number of days, each of us leading on and deceiving the other in a constant battle of wits and skill, before finally the deer lowers its guard, I get a clear shot and bam! Man defeats beast. This would all be followed by a series of bizarre rituals involving the deer’s blood and me crowning myself Lord of the Forest and going on to spend the rest of my days in a tree. I have a tendency to take these things too far.

Still, I find the idea of pitting myself against nature intensely appealing. It’s probably got something to do with living in a city that’s suppressed the hunter in me. The closest I’ve come to hunting and killing my own food was when my kebab got a little frisky and tried to run off down the road. Thankfully it got run over and I was able to resume munching. But somewhere in me are the genes from thousands, perhaps millions of years worth of human ancestors who had to hunt and kill their food on a daily basis. Sometimes I think I can hear them screaming at me in disgust.

The reason for this is that I don’t know if I could actually go out and kill my food. I’m a hardcore meat eater (if such a thing can exist) and have no problem with the mass slaughter of millions of animals for my own dietary satisfaction. I always assured myself that if I was on Shipwrecked I wouldn’t be like the pathetic idiots who can’t even bring themselves to slit a pig’s throat.

But the other day I ventured out of Edinburgh to a mate’s house. At this house were a few chickens which were kept for general amusement, selling and eating purposes. Now I have no time for chickens. They’re stupid things but they’re also fucking freaky. The way they flick their bodies about and stare out with their hollow eyes always makes me think that they’re gong to flip out at any second and start pecking at my eyes with their beaks. It’s an irrational thought, but it did mean that I found it difficult to imagine myself grabbing one and wringing its neck. I mean, it’d just be a bit… gross. Inside my veins I could hear my ancestors expressing their disappointment in me, like the parents of a child who resolutely refuses to learn the proper way to use a toilet.

If I can’t kill a chicken, how the hell am I meant to bring myself to kill a deer? It’d be plain embarrassing to stalk a deer for days and then at the crucial moment bottle it. It’d be so humiliating the deer would probably come over and put a patronising hoof on my shoulder. Before taking my hunting knife and doing to me what I was too scared to do to it. Don’t think it wouldn’t either. Animals are after all cunning, vicious, selfish bastards.

So am I when it comes down to it, but not enough to kill something. I blame Walt Disney. All these damn anthropomorphic creations with their giant crystal eyes who sing and dance and are generally lovely. How are you meant to blow Bambi’s brains out of his skull with a high-powered rifle? And while having Simba’s head mounted on my wall does have its appeal, it would probably be socially frowned upon.

It’s a necessity thing. I could quite easily get through the rest of my life without having to directly kill any animal. But I can’t shake this feeling that I’ll have missed out on a basic human task all because I find animals just a little bit too freaky/cute. Fukkit, I’m gonna grab a spear and head for the Savannah. Bring it on Nature.

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