Tough like you.

The testosterone in the room is so thick you can cut it with a machete. These guys are tough tamales. Their uniform isn’t jungle or desert camo, although at one time it might have been.

Today, the uniform is suits. Guys in ties. Hard guys in ties. Meeting in a corporate conference room. Numbers are being discussed and they’re not funny these days.

One guy used to play hockey and now coaches it on the side. One guy used to take a bruiser from the construction department with him on customer complaints. When I’d heard this I asked him if he needed the protection. He calmly replied that the big guy was there to hold him back in case he lost his temper. He’d been a barroom brawler. I made a note not to get in this guy’s face.

One guy was a black belt in one martial art after another, until he ran through them all. Now he boxes. A simpler sport, and more direct. One guy’s a fiftyish hot blonde woman who looks thirtyish and can shut off any argument with a stare that freezes blood.

And the beat goes on. There were a few more of these characters. All doing okay in a world that wasn’t.

A break in the action, and small talk becomes required. Somebody says to me, “And what are you doing for fun, these days?”

By the way, did I say that I belonged in that group? I did. I was a walking declaration of independence. I’d gone head to head with every person in that room and come out ahead.

But back to the question. I say, “bird watching.” No response. Then I say, “I put together a website. Check it out, if you want: “Two-fisted Birdwatcher.”

Nods all around. There’s a vibe in the room and it’s saying: “that’s cool.” This has nothing to do with me and what I’m doing. It has to do with you and what you’re doing. You, who are reading this.

Bird watching is cool. If you don’t think so, that’s tough. Just like the guys in this room. Just like the bird watchers who are out in the woods today, or taking pictures of an eagle over a dead cornfield. Or holding binoculars on the shore when the wind is polar but there are rare ducks in the water.

And every one of the guys in that room asked for your web address, two-fisted birdwatchers.

5 Responses to “Tough like you.”

  1. Rob L says:

    “One guy’s a fiftyish hot blonde woman who looks thirtyish…”

    One GUY’S a fiftyish hot blonde WOMAN…

    Writing does not get any better. The two-fisted birdwatcher is a two-fisted writer and one rare bird. Keep it up! We love you here in Cleveland.

  2. Two-Fisted Bird Watcher says:

    Tom’s comment is a response to Norm’s reference to hunting. We hear from guys who used to hunt. And now they’re birders, and don’t hunt. Maybe some do both. But a lot of messages start: “Back when I used to hunt…” or “In my deer hunting days….” then they’ll relate a bird sighting they remembered. Both activities, hunting and birding, get at an instinct to stalk something, then nail it. But nailing doesn’t need to mean killing. It can mean shooting a photo, adding a name to a list, or just nodding in recognition. It’s ironic that one of America’s greatest birders figured the best way to see birds was to knock them out of the air with his guns. That was John James Audubon. He lived in different times with different ideas. Today, he’d be using binocs, scopes and cameras. And maybe he’d be telling stories about his former days as a hunter.

  3. Tom says:

    Unlike deer hunting you are not required to shoot the birds, even in the nastiest weather.

  4. norm says:

    Well, At least you didn’t get any Mr. Peepers remarks! Maybe it was the name of the site. By the way, bird watching is the same as deer hunting in one respect. You have to be patient and sit (sometimes) in nasty weather and wait and wait and wait………..

  5. mike w. says:

    Fun blog for those of us with fanatic bird-watcher-wives. Need to know enough to make the bird trips fun. Standing and watching the bird for more than 40 seconds gets rough, reading about them and understanding the little characters makes it much more interesting. Grrrrrr.