Tuesday, May 03, 2005


The Last (Old) Men Standing

Do you feel lucky today, frat boy? Well, DO YA?
You've heard that old joke about the stunningly beautiful woman playing in a foursome with a young man, his father, and his grandfather, right? On the 18th green, she has to make a nearly impossible 20 footer to break par for the round, and she promises a night of unbridled passion for whichever of the men can show her the right line to sink the shot. The young man shows her one line, Dad shows her another, but Grandpa picks up her ball, hands it to her, and says "That's a gimme. My place or yours?" Hardy har har. The moral of the story:

Old age and treachery beats youth and skill every time.

Some years back, I saw this proverb put into play in a way that still makes me laugh out loud. A bunch of us rugged outdoorsy types decided to go camping at Bushnell Tanks, a pretty spot not far from Phoenix. We set up camp and had a great time hanging out, playing cards, and insulting one another all day Saturday. Oh, and did I mention we like to shoot? We're like a militia out there. That trip, we had plenty to shoot with - black powder, .44, .357, .22's. Dan the Man even brought his AK-47 just for grins. We were having ourselves a fine ol' time. But then, just as were settling in on Saturday evening, in rolls this convoy of frat boy asswipes from ASU. They set up what they thought would pass for a camp, but it didn't really matter, since all they wanted to do was get shit-faced and make annoyingly loud pains in the ass of themselves. Mission accomplished.

Now, this bunch of friends I was with could hardly be called patient, especially Big Jim, but that night they went above and beyond to not stomp a mudhole into a single asswipe. I was impressed, because the asswipes did everything within their power to annoy "that bunch of old farts over there." They screamed. They sang. They lit a bonfire that could be seen from the space shuttle. They played shitty music really, really loud. They shouted out unintelligible Greek letters. All while us old farts kept quiet and tried valiantly to get some sleep. At one point, Big Jim heard a noise outside his tent, which he took to be an asswipe infiltration into enemy territory. He simply waved his Ruger .44 outside the tent flap once or twice, and the noise went hurriedly away. Later on, there was some mysterious thudding against the sides of the tents, but it was too dark to see what was causing it.

Finally, the asswipes ran out of booze and/or energy, and the canyon finally fell quiet somewhere around 3:00AM. Of course, Big Jim and Rex are two guys who always wake up at like 5:00 in the morning, regardless of when they went to sleep, and this lovely Sunday morning was no exception. In the daylight, the source of the mysterious thuds a few hours before could be clearly seen: eggs. Your tuition money is being put to good use there, Dad.

I don't really recall whose idea it was to initiate 5:00AM target practice that day, but it was - in a word - perfection. Unless you've heard a Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum fired in very small canyon, on a very quiet morning, you can't really appreciate it. But then, why should we give a shit? We had ear protection and no hangovers. The shots echoed like 40 times before mercifully dying away. And while Big Jim blasted away with that badass handgun, Rex answered the call to arms with a .357, and Dan with his AK-47. I can't even imagine what that shit sounded like to a bunch of hung over frat boys working on two hours of sleep, and I don't want to. Within minutes, they had rolled out of the rack, packed their shit and headed for the highway. One poor kid got left behind while bringing up the rear, and didn't know how to get out of there. He was forced to ask us for directions. Big mistake. I think Rex sent him and his Honda on the 4-wheel drive trail to Mt. Ord or some other equally inaccessible place. That idiot is probably still out there somewhere, nothing but a pile of empty beer cans and a skeleton in a Civic.

But the best line of the day was delivered by none other than Dan the Man. After the initial volley, before the brain-shattering echoes even died down, as the smoke and cordite still swirled around us, Dan uttered those now famous words:

"Young guys party late. Old guys party early."

Ahhhh, yes. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Or hot. Very hot, with 240 grains at 1200 feet per second.


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