It’s a mostly true story recorded May 18, 2009, at Zanies in Nashville, TN during Mary Mack‘s cd release show. I did a rambly 35 minute set of stories that I (mostly) had never told on stage before & this was probably my favorite clip from that:
In the video I said it happened in February, but it was actually January 13th, as evidenced by my twit (twat?) on Twitter.
The end of that story is the big writer’s embellishment – I didn’t string it up in the back yard and field dress it while the neighbors watched in horror. I wish I had. I thought I could find a guy to come cut it up that night, but no-can-do. I ended up going back out on the road for a few weeks.. salivating every time I thought about it’s sweet, FREE, organic goodness. Next thing you know, it’s been a month or two and the thing is still frozen solid.
My Lovely Wifera & her friends wouldn’t let me hear the end of it. Any time I tried to tell them how to live their lives (and apparently I do that a lot), they’d say, “OH like I’m going to listen to you, YOU’VE GOT A DEER IN YOUR GARAGE.” Maddening. I had to put an end to the jibber-jabber. I was home for a while so I borrowed an electric saw from my dad & thought I’d go ahead and thaw Bambi out and see what I could do with him.
Turns out, a frozen buck is incredibly difficult to get out of a chest freezer – especially if you’re as weak and lazy as I am – plus it was too heavy for one person to lift as a fresh kill. My Lovely Wifera Laura was no help to me.. she absolutely refused to take part at all. I gets no support! No support, I tell ya! Even if I did have her help, there’s no way it would have come out of there.. I had to thaw it first.
I cut the power to the freezer the morning of May 30th and figured it would thaw over the course of the day & I’d cut it up that night. Guess what? It takes about five days for a frozen deer to thaw out. FIVE days. Five days of waiting and worrying. Five days of “I told you so”s. Five days of “hey Chad, I saw a squirrel on the side of the road yesterday.. want me to run by and see if it’s still there?” Five days of “WTF am I doing with my life? I’ve got a college degree, for shit’s sake.”
By June 4th, it was finally pliable. I tied a rope to its antlers, ran it thru a pulley hanging from the ceiling of our garage, and tied it to the bumper of My Lovely Wifera’s truck. I inched it forward and pulled the deer up out of the freezer and let it hang over a 55 gallon trash can. No, I’m not white trash at all.. I’m endearingly resourceful, despite my complete lack of funds, class and common sense.
I used a steak knife to slice it from its balls to its throat, hoping the guts would more or less neatly dump out. It looked easy in the YouTube video I watched.. but I guess rednecks are way better at this kinda thing than jackass comedians are. I had a few complications. The guts of MY deer were still solid ice. It was a pain in the ass to get ’em.. but with frozen fingers, I was able to pull it all out. Unfortunately, the impact of the truck had broken the rib cage and ruptured the guts pretty badly.. so the surrounding meat wasn’t edible. Oh well, plenty of salvageable stuff left.
I used the saw to cut the forearms (or whatever you call deer legs – drumsticks?) off at the joints and started skinning it. The meat looked pretty good.. the thing just generally smelled game-y. If any deer happen to be reading this, you guys should think about showering every once in a while. Maybe if you took a dip in the creek you’d be able to score more does when you’re out strutting around the glen, waiting to dart out into traffic.
My brother Kirk assured me this entire process would take around 45 minutes, but I think he underestimated my gross incompetence. Somewhere around 3-ish a.m. I was getting sleepy, but visions of venison stew and jerky and burgers and steaks and sausage kept me going. As I pulled the hide off the nub of one of the elbows.. maggots shot out.
“That’s it, I’m done.” I thought. I tried to make it work, but that was a quitting point if I’ve ever seen one. The hide had been ruptured at the elbow, the ribcage and on the head. I guess a fly found it’s way to lay some eggs in the elbow at some point? Realistically, I probably could have used 70% of the thing’s meat, but even I have limits. I started having doubts when I saw how the ribcage looked.. but when I saw mf’in maggots I was able to accept defeat and call it a wash. When it comes to cleaning out the fridge and eating questionable stuff, I’m a human garbage disposal.. but there’s no way I could have eaten any part of this thing without that image of little wiggly larvae shooting out of the elbow coming back to haunt me. I’m ready to vomit now, and it’s been months.
I lowered the deer into the trash can and loaded it up into the back of Laura’s truck. I washed up and hauled the corpse off to a wooded spot down the road where I could dump it. I came back home, and hosed off the trash can and felt like Dexter cleaning up the garage.. except my inner monologue wasn’t unnervingly adorable psychotic rationalization – it was my wife’s friends telling me how bison-shit crazy I am.
Lesson learned! Roadkill is ONLY acceptable if it’s fresh & you field dress it IMMEDIATELY. Just don’t leave it laying around too long. I’m sure you already knew that.. some of us watched Bear Grylls eat rotting Camel ass on Man vs. Wild and thought, “I could do that.” The rest of you have common sense. I’ll admit when I’m wrong, dammit. I guess I’m less of a Hunter.. more of a Gatherer.