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‘Rural and Urban’
Ishmael and James Discuss the Similarities Born of Opposite Conditions


A dialogue fueled by Buffalo Trace Whiskey and Castillo Rum and Coke

Ishmael: Before I left those feathers on the rock for you, I saw that you had gone in, behind the two horses and the dog, but that you hadn’t come out, so I waited for you.

James: If the bird feathers had been a booby trap, I’d be dead. The horseshit was a day old, not fly-swarming fresh and there was fresher shit on the trail from the morning, black with lots of seeds in it.

Ishmael: Black shit with seeds—that’s either raccoon or black bear.

James: This was a pound of shit—I hope it was a bear and not some eradiated raccoon.

Ishmael: Oh, that was a bear.

James: And when I came back from the fork, it had shit on the trail twice behind me.

Ishmael: They do that. Animals—unless there is something the matter with them—go away to your flank and circle around behind you and track you. You can structure a hunt based on that, have the fifth man come in a half hour later and clean up. I’ve killed a lot of animals that way. Sometimes, if you are quiet enough, when you double back to your base, you will run into the animal that’s racking you.

James: When I realized there was not another human in there, I decided that the only threats were black bears or cougars and tried drawling my knife, and couldn’t do it as rigged in one motion. So I trimmed a club from a dead fall. I felt like a kook imagining something watching me or tracking me on the way in. But when I ran into his shit on the trail I got pissed, and wanted to club something.

Ishmael: That cougar that attacked that young hunter to the east, that is strictly abnormal. There is something the matter with that animal. Believe me, if you skin a cougar, and see the claws on that thing, as big as your pinky and razor sharp, you wouldn’t be itching for a fight. But it’s the way we think. We prepare ourselves to confront the most likely deadly predator in the environment.

James: This is a place where people universally help you—not what I’m used to—so I never type a person as a predator out here. But if it’s under 400 pounds, within reach and I have a five pound caveman club, I’m in the game.

Ishmael: I know I chuckled when I saw you with that caveman club. It looks like you got it off the set of a Saturday morning cartoon. But I did the same thing when I guided in grizzly country. Of course a club would just piss off a Grizz. My outfitter asked me one time, why I had that pea-shooter on me [a 9 MM auto] and I told him it was for when that son of a bitch dragged me out of a tent by my feet, I was hoping I’d have the wits to stick the muzzle in his ear and empty the clip. Guides and hunters have been dragged out of their tents in their sleeping bags by grizzlies. They are the linebacker of the animal kingdom, just have an attitude that won’t be reasoned with, that only respects force and they are a protected species and know it—just like your hoodrats back in Baltimore. I always piled my gear, saddle, bag, supplies, up around my head in the tent, so he’d have to drag me out from the side or the feet and I’d have a chance to react.

James: So your instinct is to make contingencies for the apex predator in the environment, even if it’s a 1 in a 1,000 chance encounter?

Ishmael: I never wanted to go easy. The first step is to be determined to defend against the worst and the second step is to make sure that that defense is never necessary. You did good out there—tracking comes natural too you.

James: I’ve been tracking ground litter in the city in the morning for 30 years to determine the risk of traversing a given space by night.

Ishmael: You know, my buddy Shane, told me that when he was in the Rangers, that the urban guys and the rural guys got on together, that it was the suburban guy that didn’t have a clue. Urban guys distrusted authority and rural guys abided by the rule that strangers were suspect. So there was an affinity, a combativeness about each—as alien as they were—that he said made them work good together as a team.

James: I was a suburban kid that got dropped into an urban environment and I can tell you that for a year I didn’t have a clue. The local guys either preyed on me or helped me out because they knew I was an easy mark. Eventually I learned, and one thing I learned was that a 10 by 10 mile city with 46,000 vacant houses and businesses has a lot of dead space. In the suburbs, the streets are always lit. But in the city, there are dead zones with no lighting, where you won’t see anybody, and in that way, in terms of having solitary spaces, the dying city is more like the country. They both have predators—which usually leave you alone—and they both have lonely spaces.

Ishmael: I have always contended that there is something about the city life and the country life that makes us brothers. You think too much like a hunter, especially in light of the fact that you don’t have the tools—but you have the mind.

James: What about this. The country boy grows up in a place where the SYSTEM has not fully taken hld. Not everything is done for him. Not everything comes from the store. The city boy, he comes up in a place where the SYSTEM is failing, where if you don’t want to be a victim, you better not depend on people doing what they are supposed to do. And the suburban boy, he comes of age in a fully functional system which abolishes most dangers and provides almost every possible convenience. The victim of the system is the suburban guy. The rural guy is half caught and the urban guy is half free.

Ishmael: Like I said, we have an affinity.

Thought Crimes: Capital

Masculinity

https://jameslafond.blogspot.com/p/masculinity.html

Biography

http://jameslafond.blogspot.com/p/uncommon-men.html

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