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Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001
There seem to be four re-occurring themes in what I write about.


They say to write about what you know, but I'm gonna have to work on this. A little variety, for heavens sake. Short of tossing out bad poetry (and I use tossing in the most non-Euclidean sense, ie; tossing your cookies), there must be something else worth prosing over. Let's see what I can do.

So tonight I'll be going to the annual Hoo-Hoo Oyster Roast and Celebration of Geriatric Debauchery. This is the one time a year event where my brother Hoo's throw open the door to the general public. Stu can't make it since he's laid up in a hospital bed with a blood clot on his shank (foreleg? gam? drumstick?) that I think he got while working, so I might have to take a family member, seeing as how I already paid for the tickets to attend.

There, how's that for variety?

Hoo-Hoo? Yes, that would require a word of explanation. It's supposedly one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the country, a brotherhood of lumber wholesalers and others affiliated with the wood products industry. That leaves me out on the fringe of what constitutes a proper member, since I don't wholesale any lumber, I just cut it up.

But they let me be a member anyway. Probably needed the dues.

This is a club in which initiation is required. It is a highly secret ceremony, and I took an oath not to reveal the details. Since a black cat is the logo / mascot of the organization, I can tell you that we plebes were called kittens on the night of our ordination. That we were blindfolded. Made to walk around in circles for a while. Escorted into a small room. When the blindfolds were removed, several lanterns were turned on in the pitch black space. And then............

Nope. I took an oath, remember? You wouldn't believe me if I told you anyway. I did count myself lucky that I had worn an old shirt, though.

They gave us a diploma and a pin, since we all passed the various tests. This allows us to hang out with the fellas once a month and listen patiently as one of the lunatics pounds a gavel, eat fantastic food, swill beer, tell off color stories and see the people we buy lumber from get tanked. Like I said, they needed the dues.

Oh yes, I mentioned Stu in the hospital. Putting the words 'Stu' and 'hospital' in the same sentance is like trying to associate Bill Gates' new house with a hovel in Bangladesh.

He was bitching and moaning about his leg on Tuesday. I figured it was just more aches and pains normally expected with an ancient warrior who bulldozes through the day without regard for health. But he turned up gimpy yesterday morning. Pulled up lame. Took off for the Doc in the Box (or as he calls it, the Quack in the Hat).

He swung by my jobsite after 3 hours of letting a doctor who majored in gynecology probe his meaty calf and generally making it feel worse than when he had limped in. We adjourned to the office of the F250 for a libation and a conference.

Outfoxed: "So what's next for you? Chinese acupuncture?"
Stu: (chugging a cold one) "Naw. They gave me some great drugs though. Going to run some tests at the hospital. Bastards. And they said I have high blood pressure. You'd have high blood pressure too if you had a blonde nurse with huge boobs bending over you and acting all concerned."

Next thing I heard was of his admittance to the hospital. I can only imagine the fracas that occurred when they told him he was spending the night with them. I wasn't aware that the hospital employed that many large and grim faced orderlies. But he did call me later on.

Stu: "Jesus. They got me in a room with a for shit TV. And they put water in the pitcher on the nightstand, can you imagine such a thing? This place is just going to make me sicker, I can see it coming."
Outfoxed: "I cut the lining of my big coat a little so I can probably smuggle in a six pack."
S: "I got the ice, I'll just dump the water outta that pitcher. Hey, check out that nurse........"
O: "So what are they doing about the blood clot?"
S: "Hell if I know. Calling in a specialist, they say."
O: "Got your pocketknife?"
S: "You betcha. I stuck it in my shoe so the nurse wouldn't take it away."
O: "Go change the cylindars on the door lock. I'll send over a pizza."
S: "Done."
O: "You know you're a bum for leaving me with all this work, don't you?"
S: "Aww hell. Now I'm feeling all guilty. Hey, you're not going to the Oyster Roast without me, are ye?"
O: "Betcher ass, laddie."

It's occasionally been noted by those close to us that we look like two eagles in the morning, that same fierceness, wildness of the eye as we jump in a truck and go off seeking our prey. And there doesn't have to be many words exchanged, because we both know.

We are, in short, the last of the cowboys. And it is good.

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