Friday, November 22, 2013

Beware the sabre-toothed deer

There are many duties and responsibilities that come with being a father, one of the most important of which is keeping the family safe.
In many animal kingdoms, it typically falls to the male to fend off the invading hoards, defeat the savage beasts and in general keep the Missus and the wee ones from harm.
This goes back to the beginning of time when cave man dad would use any means necessary to protect his young ones from a sabre-toothed tiger, even if it meant throwing the mother-in-law into the jaws of the beast.
Hey, I never said it would be easy to keep the wife and kids safe, but some sacrifices must be made for the greater good.
While I have yet to do battle with a sabre-tooth beast, and would fight just as hard to protect my mother-in-law as I would my wife and kids (honest, I would), history has decreed I be the protector of the clan.
This role was brought to the forefront last summer when we were visiting my brother-in-law at the Sunshine Coast.
Young Daughter and I were walking up a wooded trail from the beach when we noticed a sabre-tooth deer on the other side of a fence. OK, it was just a regular old deer, but still...
Anyway, it was a wire fence with rectangular holes in it that the deer seemed much larger than, so I was not concerned.
Besides, these were town deer and grew up around people, so I did not think a doe on the opposite side of a metal barrier would be a problem.
I must admit, I was rather surprised when the deer turned in our direction and jumped through one of the holes in the mesh fence.
So now I was standing five feet away from what is technically a wild animal, although normally a docile one, it was still a woodland beast.
The deer did not act in a threatening manner, and for a couple seconds we just stood there looking at each other.
Young Daughter immediately jumped behind me.
OK, time to put on my brave-dad act. I had a walking stick with me that I figured I would use as a weapon should the deer attack.
Of course, I knew it would be a useless weapon, but I was pretty sure my disarming charm and witty nature would prove even more useless in this situation.
I have seen videos where deer attack people with flailing hoofs and gnashing fangs – OK maybe not fangs, but those hooves could surely pack a wallop.
Young Daughter, who was now Scared Daughter, was still behind me when I decided to take action and go on the offensive. I lifted my arms in the air to make myself look bigger and yelled “Heeeyyaargh” while waving the stick in an effort to scare the deer away.
The tan-coloured critter just stood there and looked at me with an expression of, “Aren't you cute with your little stick.”
It was obviously not intimidated in the least.
Fortunately, the deer got bored with our game and wandered off to munch on some nearby fauna and deposit a bunch of those little brown marbles all over the place.
Relieved, Scared Daughter came out from behind me and asked why I yelled at the deer.
"I was trying to scare it away, Honey.”
"Oh... It didn't work very well.”
"No it didn't.”
So, rather sheepishly, I led now Not-So-Scared-But-Still-Wary Daughter along the rest of the trail, keeping a close eye out for anymore smart alec deer that felt like getting in our path.
Fortunately there were none and I did not have to show my mean face again. Which was good, because it would seem my mean face is really not that intimidating and if a deer is not afraid of it, what on this planet would be?

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