I'm Too Smart for Them

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

I knew how the Crusaders felt, questing after the Holy Grail. Well, no, maybe I knew how Monty Python felt.

It was after 11 a.m. and I was trudging the long mile back to the car. I'd been up since 4 a.m., turkey hunting.

All right, be honest: since 4 a.m.

I was being humiliated by turkeys. Nothing new in that. It's happened for 30 years.

My face felt like the haunch of a rhinoceros. Eyeballs in laboratory specimen jars felt better than mine did. No sleep, ears plugged up, sinuses plugged up, brain plugged up. Ticks were holding wind sprints all over me. My lower spine felt like Humpty Dumpty's - after the fall.

I walked like Grandpa McCoy. Every year another vertebra gets out of synch with its fellows.

I shambled over the top of a long, steep hill and looked into the valley. There, 150 yards away at the edge of the woods, stood a magnificent gobbler, beard like a Biblical patriarch. He saw me instantly, of course leaving me no chance to circle around him and woo him with my ambrosial calling.

He trotted a few steps toward the woods, paused at the edge and turned toward me.

He gobbled at me! It was the equivalent of Ted Williams endearing himself to the fans of opposing baseball teams with a familiar gesture of contempt. Then, with magnificent disdain, the gobbler ambled into the woods and vanished.

I've been humiliated by turkeys longer than most people have been alive, but I never had one stop to cuss me out before.

It was the latest and greatest indignity visited on me by Mr. Meleagris gallopavo. What's next? They get me down in the woods and beat the whey out of me?

I used to blame my poor turkey hunting on bad luck or a Jamaican curse. Russian conspiracy was a possibility in the days before glasnost. It had nothing to do with my methods and calling, which are impeccable.

Bad luck doesn't run for 30 years, the Russians are more worried about eating than in messing up my turkey hunting, and I don't know any Jamaicans. There is only one possible explanation:

I am too good for them. There, that's it. Yes, I know that sounds arrogant, but let's be honest. Hunters who couldn't call a turkey on the telephone if they had the number stamped on the palm of their hand have stumbled into the woods and had gobblers fight each

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