Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fashionable accessories and ammunition too.

Every time I go to visit New York I come back to Pittsburgh with a readjusted view of the world. Suddenly I realize that I may have become complacent about my surroundings in Western Pennsylvania. Perhaps I've becom too accepting of elements of that persistent red-state phenomena sometimes known as 'redneckiness'. Fortunately a trip to the Big Apple always jolts me back.

Case in point: I needed a jacket. A casual jacket. Something to keep me from freezing my tuckus in the morning chill. For some reason, I thought, instead of going to the mall or just ordering from Bean's I'll try something different. I decided to go to Cabella's. They have stuff like that.... and so much more. If you've never been to a Cabellas I have to say, it's really something. It is, I suppose, essentially a hunting and fishing store, but on a grotesque super-sized kind of scale. It’s sort of a Caesars Palace for people to take discussions of bass worms and shotgun shells VERY seriously.

Yes, this is where I decided to go look for a jacket.

So where to start..... The parking lot. The parking spaces are about two feet wider than you would find in a typical retail establishment, specifically to accommodate all of the Chevy Z71s, Ford F-250 Dualies and chrome wheeled Dodge Rams that Cabella's patrons tend to drive. There were also a lot of Jesus fish in evidence. Planning ahead for this scene, I wisely left my little Japanese car in the garage and took my wife's Durango, complete with dog hair in the back.

I wanted to blend.

As you enter the store, which is a gigantic log cabin, you are greeted by a sign on EVERY door that reads, "Please check all firearms with the welcome desk before shopping." I'd say this is a good idea because there are enough stuffed dead animals inside (more on this in a moment) that a befuddled hunter might get the wrong idea and start blasting. There is a lot of camouflage. Things you didn’t even know could be camouflaged, like underwear, that leave you wondering why on earth they need to be camouflaged at all. They sell guns, ammunition, fishing tackle, and there is even a ‘lifestyles’ section where you can purchase furniture, meat smokers and assorted decorative paraphernalia evocative of the outdoor life. They sell ‘turkey jerky’ dogs treats that actually qualify ‘dog treat’ with “Not for human consumption”.


So I’m looking around and I find myself in a section of all camo gear. And there is a table full of hats in front of me. I started to turn to find the non-camo section when a fellow wearing a ‘Git-R-Done’ t-shirt walks up to the table and puts on a hat (pictured above) over his neatly coifed mullet. He turns to me and he says, “Hey, what d’ya think of this hat?” I’m really thinking to myself that if that hat was in lavender it would look like something that the ladies at the Ebenezer AME church would wear on Sunday. So I look at the guy with stern appraising glance and I say, “Well, in a different color it might look….. frilly.”

He stared back at me for a second and finally said, “Frilly?”

“Yes”, I said.

Then he silently put the hat down and walked away.

Incidentally, I did learn that this hat is what they call ‘3-D camo’ which is designed to break up your silhouette against the brush so the deer can’t see you before you blow its head off. I guess that’s important.

So I did mention that there are a lot of stuffed dead animals. There is also a live trout stream that passes through the middle of the store - because you need one of them. The animals though are set up in their respective regional dioramas to offer, for example, a glimpse of a polar bear hovering over a baby seal on the tundra, or a mountain goat on a ledge, or prairie dogs in the arid southwest. Ah yes, the prairie dogs. Mind you, this store is absolutely, completely, one hundred percent devoid of any irony whatsoever. These people are about hunting and fishing and they mean business. The prairie dogs – there are two – have a slightly different thing going on. I’m sure the intent was to make pose to look like they were horsing around. One of them is posed on his back with his legs up in the air. The other one is mounted over the first in what might have been intended to look like the moment of attack in a mock wrestling competition. In reality it looks sort of…well…missionary. That’s right. The prairie dogs look like they’re getting it on, but I’m sure I’m the only one who noticed this.

In any event, I did actually find a jacket. A little fleece number with nylon patches on the shoulders, no Camo, and, I'm sorry to say, I didn’t get the extra ten-percent discount that comes with your NRA membership card, but it wasn’t too bad.

Then, safely back in the Durango, I heard a man exclaim as he stepped out of his small Japanese car, “Jeez, look at all these trucks.”

I’ll not repeat that excursion again for a while. I am ready to go back to visit New York again though.


Blogger Kim said...

Have you been to Bean's in Freeport? Trout there too. When they first built the "pond" all the fish died. My sister and I always say we'll meet at the sushi bar when we need to shop separately.

10:32 PM  

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