Saturday, April 21, 2007

We Were Winning When I Left

In my hometown, there's a taxidermist who specializes in stuffing snakes and other pets. If you go to his trailer, he'll answer the door, sometimes covered in blood. If it's cold, he'll be wearing a jacket from his days in the war that has a map of Vietnam on it and proclaims, We Were Winning When I Left. He doesn't talk much on account of the fact that he's been struck by lightning and his hair looks greasy, a strange side effect of the strike. I know this because when I worked for the local newspaper, I had to interview him. That dude, one reporter said, is fucking creepy. No creepier, I thought, than the legions that flocked to him to have their family pets stuffed for eternity. No need to miss little Fido -- there's his lifeless body preserved on the fireplace mantle!
Now I've read that people can turn their dead pets into diamonds, pendants to remember the love you had. It costs a lot of money, much more than my old buddy charged for stuffing. He was on the last half of his last leg years ago -- I'm guessing he doesn't do much work anymore. But I'm sure there's someone who will. The impulse for preservation, I suppose, will always be a strong one. It's just that not many of us want a lot of blood on our hands to get it -- we want perfect diamonds, all that flesh burned away. We want to forget the bodies, a luxury only those who are not in the middle of the killing floor can afford.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Come on, come on, get happy/ We're headed for the judgement day." Get Happy, as sung by Judy Garland
Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: The Man Comes Around Johnny Cash
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!


Cheri said...

You can actually do that with people, too. (Ashes required, not the actual body.) I'm not sure how much it costs, but could you imagine, walking around with your father (figuratively speaking) dangling from your ears? Or Gramma in Monroe piercing on your face. It sounds... creepy.

Tony Soprano said...

I had a painting done of me and my racehorse, Pie-O-My, that I thought was well done. But Pie died in a fire. I didn't think to have her made into jewelry;it's a thought, though. Thanks for all your support of the Sopranos, Michelle. Everyone from the lowliest gopher to our producer David Chase just loves your blog! Keep up the good work and remember to tune in tomorrow for episode three of the Sopranos' last season.
We think you'll like it. Thanks again--Tony

the walking man said...

All of life is a puzzle to most isn't it?

But there are so many killing fields that don't involve blood and everyone at times stands in the middle of them either as slaughter or slaughterer the thing is most just don't know where they are unless they are the slaughter. When them that do the slaughtering, the puzzle to me is why don't they realize what they are doing?

We had a wire haired terrier that just showed up one day, she was full grown and we figured her to be about 5 years old maybe more,maybe a year less. but that dog died when it was somewhere near twenty years old, never saw a vet, as she got older never showed signs of pain or affliction until her last 6 months when she began to have thirty to fifty second seizures.

One day in our travels we were parked looking at the Shenendoa, and she was laying down in the back seat of the car.

She got up on all fours looked around at the valley, figured it was a good day and place to die, which she did. She just laid back down on the seat and passed. The old lady was devastated, this dog had been with her for 15 years, she saw her more than she did me because I worked 6am to 12am.

But she never would have thought of taking her to a taxidermist, but her ashes still sit somewhere in the house filling a cookie tin.

Two weeks after saying she would never have another pet because she never wanted to see it die, the Jack Russell Terrier with the fractured pelvis that she got from killing a bear, came to us, also fully grown about five or six years old.

When this one dies I sometimes wonder if her ashes and the other ones ashes are going to get sent out as christmas cookies by mistake.

Personally I think it would
be very strange to have them stuffed and mounted so you could have them in full terrier point gaurding the fireplace. For the first one since they were bred to be rat hunters I'd have to kill a rat and have it in her mouth and the other it would have to be a fox.

Come to think of it that sight would be a hell of a fine conversation starter as long as they were preserved better than Lenin in Moscow's Red Square.I guess that would be better than having them so compacted for so many weeks that their carbon turned to a diamond.

Unfortunately Viet Nam and all other combat veterans do know what it is like to remember the bodies on the killing floor without the luxury of thinking of them as a cookie tin filled with ashes.

Zeus said...

Hey m. How often do I get to be on the clock for work while I write one in to the blog? Gotta thank my neighbor's appetite for mediocre pizza. Yep, I'm on delivery right now, don't I sound busy?

Excellent turn around on the story. To become a crystal of carbon and be carried over the heart of a loved one. That's a kind of immortality, as much as memory. Until the day that one of your great grand children forgets that you are actually a broach, and they sell you to buy rocks, or alcohol or maybe just to pay the rent and feed the next gen.

Yes, m. You are already immortal. Your writing has made you that way; a living diamond that sheds the entire spectrum from the meager light of a monitor in the dark, from the flame of a candle. Stay gold.

JR's Thumbprints said...

A woman had her child's ashes stuffed in a teddy bear and a judge wouldn't let her bring it into the courtroom. I guess the judge didn't think it was appropriate, might sway the jury into a guilty plea for the man who killed her baby.

As for anything we do, in order to get the payoff, you have to roll your sleeves up and get dirty.

paul said...


Charles Gramlich said...

Great post. The end, about not wanting the blood on our hands but wanting the perfect diamond is very well put.

Minnie the Mooch said...

...not to mention a sweet killing floor reference. Howlin' Wolf would be proud. Turnarounds, double-stops, and the right lyrics. I'd say you have got quite a case of the blues, m.

Hidey - hidey - hidey - hi...

Susan Miller said...

I matured in a world of mounted deer heads, antlers and turkey beards. Trophies of the kill. It is only customary in these parts that you are blooded when your cherry is burst. Photographs taken to document the first death. Glass eyes that follow you in a room. As a child, I was puzzled but accepted it as our way of life.

We buried our families and our pets while preserving our conquests.