• Kenneth Kieser: Failed cures for an outdoors addict

  • My wife once accused me of being obsessed with hunting and fishing. She went a step further and claimed that I spend more time with my hunting and fishing buddies than with her. I, of course, denied it!

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  • My wife once accused me of being obsessed with hunting and fishing. She went a step further and claimed that I spend more time with my hunting and fishing buddies than with her. I, of course, denied it!
    But I will tell the truth to you, dear readers. I'll admit it, I'm obsessed with hunting and fishing and do spend more time with my hunting and fishing buddies. They provide better conversation, allow me to smoke cigars in the cabin and don't mind if I eat too many bean burritos the night before (well, actually they do.) I tried to make my wife understand that there are worse things I could do than pursuing fish or fowl, a point made clear by my drunken aunt on our wedding day.
    “Don't ever be concerned when he goes hunting and fishing, dear,” she said in a kind, elderly voice. “At least he's not chasing women and boozing it up like that snake I married. But I do miss him. Sad that he had to die like that, imagine a hammer falling out of the sky and who knows from where!”
    My wife was shocked by my old auntie's comment while wondering where the hammer came from. But she already knew that I would rather hunt and fish than chase wild women, or tame ones for that matter. She just hated the fact that I never stop talking about my outdoor endeavors and friends.
    Things really came to a boil one day at a farmer's market. I picked up a potato and commented on how it looked like my hunting buddy's head, square and odd shaped, but one heck of a duck caller. She probably would have been fine if I had stopped there and not bought it for a conversation piece to place in my office until my buddy came over to see his likeness.
    She cooked that potato before he could see his miracle and mashed it, perhaps out of anger. I may have finally gone too far that evening at dinner by building a duck blind out of the mashed potatoes and then placed green peas in a j-shaped decoy spread in the gravy.
    My wife finally had enough. Building a duck blind out of her mashed potatoes was bad, but the duck call? The final straw, so she enrolled me in a therapy class for addictive behavior.
    The class took place at a nearby clinic on Wednesday nights. Each person had to declare their addiction in public. The first woman, a short, portly woman with naughty-librarian-style glasses stood up first.
    “Um, my name is Mary Portland and I am addicted to bird watching.”
    “So tell me Mary, how often do you watch birds?” the class leader asked in a gentle voice.
    Page 2 of 3 - “All of the time, even when I'm at work through my office window,” she said in a sickening sweet voice. “I even watch them from my bathroom window. Sometimes I whistle at them and they whistle back at me.”
    “Wow that lady is wacko; she even thinks the birdies are talking to her.” I whispered to my wife, unfortunately too loud. “This loony chick sits on the can or takes a bath and watches birds too. That is kind of weird. No wonder she needs help. Maybe they should put her in a big bird house and lock the door.”
    “So what is your addiction, smart guy?” Mary asked threateningly. I realized the whole class was looking at me because everyone including she had heard my comments.
    “I'm addicted to hunting, a sport where I shoot different kinds of birds and enjoy it,” I said in a firm voice. “At least I don't watch ducks or geese while sitting on the toilet.”
    I am not sure where she got the brick and really it doesn't matter. I didn't see it coming and was soon surrounded by some of Mary's chirping birds flying around my head until paramedics brought me back to consciousness. Whoever thought that a portly little woman could throw a brick that far and that accurately?
    I never returned to the therapy classes, partly for fear of Mary, but mainly because I didn't want to be cured. I still love hunting and fishing, but my wife didn't and decided to find me another hobby. She bought me a tennis racket and a can of green balls. Even worse, she paid for me to take lessons with a tennis pro named Percy.
    I'm sure that tennis is a fine sport for most. I know it is popular and some of my friends love this sport. But I am 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds with 59-year-old football knees and a great deal less coordination than I once had.
    To make matters worse, Percy, who was probably still in his 20s and dressed in a flimsy white suit greeted me with a “Hi-ho, old boy,” while jumping over the tennis net. I hated him immediately. He reminded me of a kid in my high school class who was skinny and frail like Percy and constantly getting beat up by members of the golf team. Worse, he later became the president of our local bank.
    Percy gave me a sweet smile and held out his hand with his palm facing down. I squeezed his hand hard as I could and enjoyed the pained expression on his slim face. Then he turned and jumped back over the net. Suddenly this frail, sissy sort of man took on an almost sinister look as he prepared to serve.
    Page 3 of 3 - I am not sure if Percy was trying to make me look bad or show me how to hit a tennis ball. The only certainty was that he was trying to hurt or perhaps kill me with well-placed shots. Tennis balls started streaking over the net like clay pigeons flying through the air, except I was the one being shot – or at least hit by little green balls that were probably flying about 70 miles per hour. I tried to climb over the net and get him, but the barrage of flying green balls kept on pounding me back until he ran out of balls.
    My wife walked down the hill carrying a drink from the nearby club house and gasped to see me sitting on Percy's back while applying a good head buggering while he kicked his feet and yowled like an old tom cat caught in the door by his tail. I may have done it a bit too hard because small tuffs of his hair floated in the breeze like feathers off Mary's stupid birds. She started to pull me off his back, so I created another satisfying “YOWL” from Percy by giving him a final barbershop slap on the back of his box-shaped head. That was my last tennis lesson.
    Time passed and I have seldom missed hunting or fishing season. My wife finally ran off with Percy who later ran off with Mary. Last I heard, they were all three living in the Bahamas and active in bird watching!

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