You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Friday, July 18, 2008

Rabbits, Rambo, and the Gentle Way.

I'm going to have to eat my words. I guess my cat Bee heard me talking smack about her not being so smart. Last week she caught a bunny.

I was inside and heard this sound. AAAAIIIEEEK! IIIEEEK! IIEEEK! This is the sound of a rabbit screaming. It is horrible; it sounds like a baby crying.

I immediately run outside and see the Bug, sitting on the sidewalk, not doing anything. I assume that she is the one with the rabbit.

Suddenly, Bee comes sprinting around the corner holding a baby bunny in her mouth. "Bee!" I scream. She is so excited she sprints past me into the house, looking for a little quiet corner where she could "play" with her new toy. I finally grab her by the dining table, holding the scruff of her neck while I stick my finger in her mouth. I was afraid she would clamp down too hard and that will be the end of bunny fou-fou. I rescued a bird from the jaws of Junebug a few years ago using this technique. I remember looking directly into the eyes of this little sparrow and reading the thoughts in his little bird-brain, which said, "Please help me! PLEASE!"

Junebug was pissed; after all she'd pulled that bird right out of the air like a goalie snatching a slap shot. If I hadn't seen it myself I wouldn't have believed my chubby cat could have defied gravity that way. She let me a have a what-for and went off to go and sulk underneath the viburnum bush.

Bee spit out bunny and I picked him up carefully. He was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, very soft and warm. I turned him over, looking at his tummy and neck but it didn't appear that he was bleeding. I took him outside and walked into the neighbor's yard and hid him under a bush.

When I tell people that my cats catch bunnies, they say, "Good!" My mom wants a gun to shoot her rabbits, and they ARE a nuisance. But the idea of killing this fuzzy baby bunny is something I can't stand. I had to kill a baby bird once because my cat had mangled it after it had fallen from its nest and it was dying slowly. I killed it quick so it wouldn't suffer. And then I bawled for about an hour.

I also read Watership Down as a kid and I cannot look at rabbits without thinking about the struggles of Hazel and Fiver. It made quite an impression on me.

When my parents came to visit last weekend for the race I was telling them that story and then they asked what movies we had from Netflix to watch that night.

"We have Dan in Real Life, In Bruges, and Rambo," I said.
"Rambo!" says Matt and my dad.
"No! Not Rambo!" yells my mom.
"But it's the new Rambo that just came out," I tell her. "Rambo IV."
"Oh really?" says my dad. "Cool."
"I don't like Rambo," says my mom.
We all look at her as if she's sprouted horns. And a third eyeball.
"How can you NOT like Rambo?" I ask.
"First Blood is awesome," says Matt.
"Yeah," says my dad. "Great movie."
My mom senses she's outnumbered. "Actually, I don't think I've ever seen Rambo," she confesses.
"Oh," says my dad. "It's great."
"You'd remember if you saw it," I tell her.
Then my dad says (after only 2 beers), "What was his name?"
"Oh yeah. Rambo."

Then we start talking about all the martial arts movies we like. My dad grew up watching Bruce Lee, and that was the guy that impressed him so much that he took up Karate, before moving on to Judo and eventually becoming a black belt.
"Judo is called the 'gentle way'," he says.
"Who do you think could win in a fight?" I ask. "Chuck Norris versus Steven Seagal."
"Chuck Norris," says Matt.
"Steven Seagal," I say.
"I don't know," my dad says. "The thing about karate is that you have to be fast and not miss."

Then he tells us the story of Jerry Redante.

Jerry was his judo instructor when my dad was in high school. Jerry was 6'1" and 250lbs. "Built," my dad says, "like a brick shithouse."

Jerry also was missing a few fingers on his left hand and had a glass eye.

I wondered if this guy was a pirate. "What happened to him?"
"Um, he worked construction."
"He also worked part-time as a bouncer at a nightclub in Racine. And one Saturday we read in the paper that there had been a stabbing at this nightclub. Jerry got stabbed.

"We go to class the next Wednesday and there's Jerry with a bandage, telling us we have to take it easy on him because he's still sore. The paper also said that the guy who stabbed him was in critical condition.

"So of course all us teenage guys want to know what Jerry did to him. We asked him, 'Jerry, what kind of move did you use?'
'Oh,' says Jerry. 'I call it the Animal Move.'
'Animal Move?'
'Yeah, says Jerry. 'I threw him down and started jumping up and down on him.'

"So," my dad says, "None of that fancy kicking and punching matters if someone does that to you."

So much for the gentle way, I think.

Why would anyone pick a fight with someone who was missing fingers, had a glass eye, and was built like a brick shithouse?

Something to think about.

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