Wednesday, March 25, 2009

But . . . you're an Eskimo.


It is the second full day that we've been without our den mother. Really - it's the best day of them all. The first day each of us boys go through our own withdrawal and fake that we're doing alright.

The second day - we're true nomadic and enjoying full male bonding. Today we ate meat - bovine. Not moose nor caribou. I did not kill to provide for the family.

I've never killed anything with fur to provide for the family, actually. (Steve - we both know in 1994 it was out of necessity. Keep. Your. Mouth. Shut.). A couple of years ago - when we were new to the valley and where we're currently residing - I received a phone call. It was an invitation to go harvest a moose that was killed by a 3/4 ton truck on the highway. I accepted the invitation to gather said moose, then the question came: "Do you have the equipment we'll need to dress the moose?"

Huh?

Now [nervous chuckle]- I didn't ask or think that I needed to actually bring clothing items for the dead moose, [Putting away old wool socks]. I said: "Boy - we just moved here and haven't unpacked everything yet."

My new friend let out a sigh: "Okay - we'll I guess I'll give Brooks a call and see if we could borrow his stuff. But you know how to field dress the moose right? I haven't done it before."

"Of course I do." I lied - I hung up the phone and went to Google to find out how to field dress a moose. I, in fact, did not need wool socks for the moose. I committed the instructions to memory and headed out the door.

There was a small group of us gathered together to take care of the fresh roadkill. All semi-recent transplants from the lower-48. All of them impressed to spend an evening with an Eskimo who was about to show them how to quarter and prepare a moose.

I stood over the carcass and declared: "That's a big moose."

Jeff - who was extremely excited to get started grabbed a knife and asked what he needed to do first.

"Do you want the traditional way or just slice and dice version?" I asked.

"Oh - the traditional way of course! Have you gotten a moose before? I'm sure you've dressed a lot of caribou and reindeer too." Alan exclaimed.

I stood forward and began to regale them with a story about how the steam from the animal was believed to be their spirit returning to the creator - after that I couldn't remember anything else from Red Dawn; so I said that we needed to take out the eyes so that we may see as the animal saw, to take the tongue - to taste the zest in life - and drink the blood to keep the cycle of life going.

Jeff from Utah was totally stoked about it and proceeded to do as I said. He even gave a prayer of thanksgiving as he first started to scoop out the eye with his knife. Then asked where he needed to make the first cut to start the field dressing. "The belly." I answered remembering the instructions from Google. "Then just scoop out the organs."

We had spent about 45 minutes hacking apart the dead animal when Brooks showed up.

"What are you guys doing?" Brooks asked - visibly confused by what he was witnessing. "Why didn't you skin it?"

Everyone looked at me.

Now - I have a card that was issued to me verifying that I am indeed of Eskimo heritage - what the card does not explain is that I was raised in a completely western civilized home including being a latch-key kid and MTV. I've never gone hunting or fishing growing up. I wasn't taught the ways of the Eskimo people: I grew up playing baseball - watching cable TV - and NWA.

I confessed my inability to field dress a moose. I told them I had no idea how to speak Yup'ik. I even told them that I lied when I said it was the truth that on real cold nights we share our wives.

Silence.

Brooks walked over to the moose - or rather the hacked pieces of moose. "The meats rotten anyway. The muscles are full of blood from the impact - you've been wasting your time."

Jeff: "But . . . you're an Eskimo. You should know all this stuff."

"Well - I can tell you about the time when I was in the 4th grade and wrote a spoof about 'Ghostbusters' called 'Grossbusters' - you see instead of fighting ghosts . . . the Grossbusters were fighting garbage . . . where are you guys going?"

11 comments:

nsiyer said...

Bob, your humour is infectious. I was out of circulation for sometime. Enjoyed your post. Do visit my blog.

aworgill said...

Nice. I had a guy in my mission who was an Oklahoma Indian, and one of my companions told a story of when it was freezing in their house and the guy suggested they make a fire but had no flammable materials. The said Indian said, "Let's use shoe polish. Shoe polish burns GOOD!" They threw a bunch of polish on the fireplace and it died pathetically, and my companion got pissed because the noble savage should know things like that.

Pearl said...

Ah, I love this sort of stuff. One of my better friend's fiance was adopted as a newborn from Viet Nam and is constantly told how good is English is. Jerks!

Pearl

Carly said...

why do people have to use complicated names for things? why not just say 'skin the moose'?

Brent said...

one of my favorite zone leaders was Japanese descent, and that just blew evryone's mind in Brazil; "you mean there ae Japanese people...living in AMERICA?"

Amber said...

Eskimos do share their wives, people. But only when it's really cold and she's been out in the village for over 3 days and is feeling really lonely...

Perhaps I should not give away the ending.

Steven M. Adami said...

Wait...Bob, you're an Eskimo? Well this changes eveything.

mommak said...

That story is so funny and so typically you. Thanks for sharing

Monica said...

Thanks for the laugh Bob, why am I not suprised you just didn't admit up front you'd never skined and animal...men!!

Mitchell Maddness said...

GREAT READ! I can totally see you doing that!

darsden said...

Oh my goodness thats funny!