White Oak Mountain Ranger: Critics, Ego, And Memories

Saturday, July 2, 2022

“Be brief, for no discourse can please when too long.” Miguel de Cervantes


“A man interrupted one of Buddha’s lectures with a flood of abuse.

Buddha waited until he had finished and then asked him;

If a man offered a gift to another but the gift was declined, to whom would the gift belong?

To the one who offered it, said the man.

Then, said the Buddha, I decline to accept your abuse and request you to keep it for yourself.”


It’s difficult to put in words how the feedback I receive from readers affects my diminishing psyche.

My soul simply enjoys kind hearted readers who seem to find something gratifying in these humble little musings.


The most worthy feedback received is when a more than good reader takes time out of their daily life to let me know that some of this work brings back fond memories.


I assume that they were the best of memories. That’s praise of the highest order. Much more than enough of an ego shot for me.


It’s indeed, quite a struggle to come to the right words to thank you enough for your kind feedback.


There for a while I wasn’t sure anybody was actually reading, what my wife Bubbles refers to as, ‘little renderings conjured from an overly vivid fantasy life, badly run amok’.


But, there is this one critic. Every once in a long while I do manage to hit the note with him. Mostly though, he comments, “Too political,” Too controversial!” or, “Get a life.”


These little bits of constructive criticism are always points taken lightly by me.


He commonly says, “I opened the @#$% thing and read the first few sentences, and it looked kinda interesting. But, when I scrolled down the screen, and saw it was so @#$% long, I just went back to reading something else. Why don’t you just get to the @#$% point?”


Some critics do have a tendency to get to my belly button once in a long while.


This led me to wonder about the great outdoor writers of our time and how they managed to make a living out of the stories they conceive. In this short little musing exercise it came to me.


This particular critic claims he graduated from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a degree in Physics (albeit, a great many years ago. In the slide ruler/clip-on tie era).


This alumni probably never read anything much more literary than a quadratic equation when some pasty faced professor, wearing 20 year old pleated slacks, scratched on an old chalk board, in some classroom, that smelled like the locker room under Chamberlin field.


This critic probably hadn’t read anything longer than his last two summons to divorce court. I’m fairly certain that he was too lazy to even read the second summons to divorce court because the list of grievances we’re just too @#$% lengthy. When he was served the second summons to court, he just said, “whatever” and, he didn’t even bother to open the thing. Just showed up in court looking sheepish again.


So when he commented that one particular recent story was just too long to fool with; I inquired what it was that he had read lately. He admitted that Facebook Market place was his favorite because it was illustrated. His second choice of literature was the joke section of The Readers Digest. He routinely finds The Readers Digest at his hemorrhoid doctor's office.


When I finally stopped laughing, because of his embarrassed silence, he finally blurted it out; The Truth.


“You can’t read the chattanoogan.com while your’e on the toilet!” He yelled.


“What?” I said.


“The reading room, the crapper, the old one hole outhouse, the throne, latrine, the rest room….”


I stopped him in his run-on adjective laden response, mid-explanation.


“I got the picture.” I said.


The physics major had just managed to completely stun me with his latest fit of blinding insight. A physical truism of truisms. In his mind, he’s a scientist.


“The Thirteenth Law of Physics as practiced by UTC Physics Majors”:


“If you can’t read something while you’re involved in your most important daily routine, and it doesn’t have pictures of naked women that fold out, then the Outdoors section to the Chattanoogan is probably going to miss most UTC graduates in general, and @#$% nearly all UTC Physics majors as ‘the reading public’.


Man what a blow!


Then came the vision of younger Physic students at UTC taking their lap tops to their daily constitutionals. And, for a brief minute there I experienced a little better feeling.


 After all, it came to me, old Physic majors are the one’s that brought every citizen of this earth, the incredibly insidious, and ultimately evil concept, of worldwide thermo-nuclear annihilation. And, the veritable end of mankind as we all now enjoy it; in the desperate search for peace on earth.The very end of modern civilization as we know it, with the simple push of a few buttons.


Talk about being critical!


It additionally dawned on me that we had initiated this critic to deer hunting some years back; just to keep him occupied and out of jail after his second brutal divorce.


Our deer camp “hangers-on” all soon quickly noted that the Physic major never saw any deer, nor even heard any deer, much less took a shot at any deer, on any of our morning hunts.


We all thought this rather odd, and after intensive interrogation, with the addition of liberal amounts of a locally generated truth serum, (read aiming fluid from a mason jar), we finally obtained a rather startling confession.


Each morning, promptly between 08:00 and 08:30 the UTC Physic major admitted that he would laboriously and rather loudly be forced to descend his tree stand. He would then trundle off in a vector he considered to be the appropriate distance, scratch a spot in the leaves, where he would then promptly deposit his morning wolf bait.


We immediately deduced that this ill timed deposit would make any and all deer for miles, react in fits of pure terror, causing immediate disappearance of all wildlife. It was like there was an impending missile attack from a unit of deranged Russians carrying hand-held nuclear rocket launchers.


He said at times of complete despair, he occasionally used his TWRA hunting regulations as he was often forgetful, or badly hungover. He confessed that he never had time to actually read any of these rules as they were intolerably lengthly. Time was apparently important due to the pinto beans we regularly cooked in a huge pot, each night in camp.


He also noted that he invariably was forced to move his tree stand after lunch because of a constant problem with flies in the area.


So we asked, “Why don’t you just print out the chattanoogan and take it with you?”


He fell silent. The pause was pregnant with anticipation. We waited. We could see him breathing. He was trying to think, but nothing was happening.


This is apparently something that happens to old physicists all the time.



WOMR Note:

In the words of Roger Miller; “I’m looking for my second wind. I broke the first one.” Keep those comments coming to whiteoakmtnranger@gmail.com


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