This happened about two years ago...
We walked into this giant warehouse of hunting gear, weapons, and clothes. It was like Wal-mart meets G.I. Joe’s complete collection of weapon supply depot. I felt like a weirdo, like I needed a card proving my manhood, or flash a can of long cut Copenhagen, to let me in. Everything unmanly I had ever done in my life flashed before me. Was I qualified to enter? And what the heck was I doing here anyways?
There were aisles of fishing lures, rows of camo shirts, and more guns, and more guns laid out like produce at a grovery store. It was if Noah had sacrificed one of every animal getting off the boat to be mounted in this place. Moose, elk, turkey, fish, weird birds, you name it, it was there. Dead, and stuffed. Hanging on a cheap little plaque.
PJ and I walked around looking at the various things. Elk Jerky makers, make your own bullet machines, and a list of hunting videos by bigger rednecks than Jeff Foxworthy that would have rivaled Blockbusters entire selection of new releases. Every Bubba of backwoods Virginia had put out a video. We walked over to the knives, which is why I had come. I was hoping to buy a knife. It was no small display either. Cases of them. This kind, and that. I had no idea what I needed, but I wanted something that was a little on the cheap end, as a beginner knife, and something that would help me cut up an elk if one of my friends killed one.
I laid my eyes on the Grizzly Kodiak knife. It sounded manly enough for me, and had an extra saw blade to cut through bone. I asked the rather intimidating man behind the counter if I could take a look. He grabbed it, laid it on the table. I looked at it for a minute in the container. And everyone was kinda staring at me, like, take it out, feel the blade, see it you fool. What’s a knife in the plastic sheath? So, as they stared at me, I pulled it out.
Again, I was completely new to this, and not sure what I was thinking, but as I pulled it out, I ran the edge along my hand somehow. I felt the cutting of flesh, but was hoping they did not see it. I pretended it did not happen, and started ooing at the features, and the metal, looking everywhere but my hand that was pulsating. I was hoping my movement away, despite the pain, from my hand to the blade would have them miss it too. Within second it was bleeding. The guy behind the counter looked at me like an idiot, and said, “do you want a Band-Aid for that?” Oh, wow. Look at that. How did that happen? Sure, that’s not a bad idea.
I had walked into my first experience of hunting and I had already cut myself. This was not the plan. Or why I had come. I wanted to feel like a man, not like this little kid who needed a band-aid for his ouchy. I felt like a fool. The shame of what I had just laid out before this man. I was completely unaware of how to do anything, even hold a knife.
I bought the knife, and we got in the car, and PJ and I started laughing.
I had drawn first blood.