Thursday, January 07, 2016

Time to Put the Attack Ostrich on Ammon Bundy

The New York Times has an article on Bird-Watching, Patriotism and the Oregon Standoff:

In 1965, at the height of his substance abuse, Johnny Cash was called in to make a deposition, but not about possessing drugs. Instead, the singer was in trouble for leaving a burning truck at the side of a road in Los Padres National Forest in California. The flames had started a forest fire that jeopardized not only the refuge itself, but the lives of nearly 50 critically endangered California condors, which at that time made up a sizable portion of the global population. Facing the prospect of a lawsuit, and filled with “amphetamines and arrogance,” as his autobiography put it, Cash defiantly told his government questioners, “I don’t give a damn about your yellow buzzards.”

What the New York Times does not mention is the most old co-workers at the National Audubon Society were not amused, and they send one of their famed "attack Ostrichs" to dust Johnny up. Things got a little out of hand and Cash nearly died.

He was in the air, and a split second later he was on his way down again, with that big toe of his, larger than my size-thirteen shoe, extended toward my stomach. He made contact — I’m sure there was never any question he wouldn’t — and frankly, I got off lightly. All he did was break my two lower ribs and rip my stomach open down to my belt, If the belt hadn’t been good and strong, with a solid belt buckle, he’d have spilled my guts exactly the way he meant to. As it was, he knocked me over onto my back and I broke three more ribs on a rock — but I had sense enough to keep swinging the stick, so he didn’t get to finish me. I scored a good hit on one of his legs, and he ran off.

They cleaned my wounds, stitched me up, and sent me home, but I was nowhere near good as new. Those five broken ribs hurt. That’s what painkillers are for, though, so I felt perfectly justified in taking lots of them. Justification ceased to be relevant after that; once the pain subsided completely I knew I was taking them because I liked the way they made me feel. And while that troubled my conscience, it didn’t trouble it enough to keep me from going down that old addictive road again. Soon I was going around to different doctors to keep those pills coming in the kind of quantities I needed, and when they started upsetting my digestive system, I started drinking wine to settle my stomach, which worked reasonably well. The wine also took the sharper, more uncomfortable edges off the amphetamines I’d begun adding to the mix because—well, because I was still looking for that euphoria.

So there I was, up and running, strung out, slowed down, sped up, turned around, hung on the hook, having a ball, living in hell……

True story.

And, of course, what came out of it was the Carter Pocket Terrier, one of the rarest breeds found in the United States today.

No comments: