The Death of a Deer – Written March 11, 2003

I seek happiness.

For a long time, I have thought that the “ultimate” happiness was the nature of pure love. I figured if I could look at everything with some love, I would be happier. When asked, “What makes you happy?” a friend of mine said, “What doesn’t make you happy?” I think that is closer to the truth than anything.

Life’s too short to be worried about bullshit. The Hippie told me, “Just be happy that you’re able to walk. You can breathe. You could die tomorrow, but you’re not dead yet. So why worry about it? Tomorrow’s another day and it’s all new, and when you get there you’ll know but until then you have no idea, so stop fretting.” I never really figured my friend to be as philosophical as he was, but I now revere him as some sort of drunken master.

The Professor once told me, “Have free will. Make your own decisions freely, but also accept responsibility for them.”

That is one of the hardest things to do. Free will is taken from us all the time – most people don’t even realize it, let alone care about it. From simple constrictions like laws to hidden mechanisms like CNN and MTV, free will, perhaps even freedom itself, is being smothered. It is a long, slow process, however, because free will still lives. I choose to obey laws, to watch T.V., to be “ethical,” just like most people. But many of these people use their free wills to become little ants in one huge hive. I once thought people were sheep – now I believe they’re insects. People walk around all the time not caring about people they pass or the environment they find themselves in, they simply care about getting home and not missing Letterman. Those that actually have various clothing color coordination for each season. People that drive Corvettes and live in a trailer park. Does all this crap mean so much that we’ve alienated ourselves from the world?

And then there are the rest of you, who are like me, who actually desire to communicate through something other than fiber-optic cable. Those that refuse to buy into trends and propaganda. Those that desire to wage revolution against society. Those that still watch MTV and go to Starbucks. For us…happiness is hard to find.

For the minds out there, the true minds that have been strong enough to withstand the propaganda of society and be left standing, we are left in a paradox. It’s impossible to survive in this society and not be influenced by everything we come across. This idea has gotten me down for a long time, until recently when I had an awful episode with my roommate. We were fighting about something that we should not have been fighting about and we ended up getting philosophical about shit, which is what usually happens.

S.D. said, “Just find those five or ten things that make you happy, and be happy about that. Even if you can only find that one thing, hold on to it and let it make you happy.” I’m not sure if I agree with that, but his logic definitely works for him. For me, it took a much more moving experience.

That night that S.D. and I fought, I went on a drive with my good friend Drunk Girl. She and I were both feeling pretty shitty and decided to go for a drive in the country and babble about what was making us upset. After darting about the countryside we started heading back home. Less than a half mile down the road back, a deer jumped into the road and slammed itself into the side of Drunk Girl’s X-Terra. Drunk Girl, who was already crying, started bawling almost to the point of hyperventilation. Luckily she calmed down and we went back to look for the deer. We found her and I hopped out to check on the damage, and I discovered that the doe had at least one broken leg, though I couldn’t see how bad. Drunk Girl called the police from inside the car – she didn’t want to get out – and I picked up the deer and laid her down in a nearby field. I lay next to that deer for over a half an hour until a DMV officer showed up. I had never been that close to a deer before, and after a few minutes she moved her head right into my lap and I promised her that she’d be OK.

After the cop got there I asked to use his flashlight and discovered the deer had two compound fractures, one on her left hind leg and one on her front right. I didn’t want her to die, so Drunk Girl called all the veterinarians we could, but no one could save her. The last thing I asked the cop was to not let her see the bullet coming, because she was scared enough.

Most people wouldn’t think one would take a promise to a deer seriously, but I’m not like most people. I walked over to the deer and apologized because I had broken my promise to save her life, but that in her tragedy I had found my own happiness. It was the first time I cried in months.

That deer made me realize something – moments are fleeting. One second you’re running across a field and the next minute you’ve got a bullet headed into your skull. One minute you’re standing and talking to some friends on a street corner when a stray bullet blows your face apart. Shit happens, and it happens all the time. Tragedy befalls us, but that’s what makes the comedy better.

I’m happy that I have happiness, tragedy, comedy, all of it. Because at least I’m here to experience it and appreciate it.

One thought on “The Death of a Deer – Written March 11, 2003

  1. I had forgotten this narrative, but never the doe…
    Reading this today couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. I mean, Thanksgiving is tomorrow and shit is a mess.
    A friend of mine recently told me, “Enjoy the suck.” I sure as hell am having a hard time thinking about what makes me happy, so I will be thankful for the suck.
    I might as well embrace it, before I kill myself trying to fight it.

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