Practical Philosophying

Daryl Gay | July 6, 2021

When you have a mind like mine­­—or what’s left of it—philosophical discussions can turn into wondrous occasions.

Eons ago, I learned all there is to know about philosophy from this one professor—Ol’ RC.

That wasn’t actually his name, you see, which is but a portion of learning this philosophy business in the first place. So pay attention.

An initial technique of applied philosophy is to take a full look into someone’s eyes, allow your mind to wander off into existential space, then focus on nothing but the resulting waves filtering backward into your brainbox. This gives you a true picture of who they are…

According to RC.

The name? Well, when you attempt to gaze into his eyes, what you see is a pair of spectacles more closely resembling a welding helmet bedecked with lenses like the bottom end of an RC bottle. Think Hubble telescope.

He had that Hitler mustache, too, but RC seemed to stick…

If you wanted to pass RC’s class, there was this big paper, see, slaved over from front to back of the semester. I figured that if I came up with the wildest possible theme in the history of mankind, Ol’ RC would love it and I might scrape by despite showing up fairly sober for roughly one out of 10 of his classes.

To that end, did you know that the first scientific evidence of crop cultivation pointed to cavemen using sharp sticks to carve out fields of opium poppies?

Neither did RC, but man was he happy when he heard the news! Possibly not as jolly as a bunch of whacked-out Neanderthals, but he DID give me an A, a big pat on the back and pinned that paper to his classroom door…

He was fairly google-eyed—I guess—about the whole thing, especially after checking my fully documented sources. That’s when I discovered that you can verify anything you care to believe if only you root around in the proper places.

Fast-forward to last week…

Having read Rabbit Stompin’ And Other Homegrown Safari Tactics, she was asking—philosophically—about how it came to be.

“I was so interested in the fact that you seem to have roamed around chasing just about everything. So if you had to pick only one thing from all this that you’re best at, what would it be?”

That didn’t take long.

“Killin’ stuff. Then cookin’ stuff. Then eatin’ stuff.”

Instantly, RC and all his recitation came flooding back. Because I got the same look to be seen from the backside of his specs. Her eyes were a mite purtier, though. Not to mention bigger. No mustache.

She paused before replying, “I guess I was being rhetorial in asking; what I’m interested in focusing on is the characteristics of your writing style.”


“Well, I done it; this yer is how I done it; and over thar is what I’m ‘bout to do with it now that it’s done. How’s that?”

She giggled nervously, reached into her purse, grabbed and popped a little pink pill. Them cavemen woulda been proud!

This lady was actually very nice, very well-spoken and doing the best she could to carry on an intelligent conversation. Too, she had other interesting characteristics, but we won’t focus on them. I decided to drop the redneck routine. And she actually smiled again when I ditched the south Georgia twang and used my radio voice.

“Basically, I took the philosophy out of Rabbit Stompin’. No apologies, never will be. There was no need to explain why, because the readers understand. They’ve been there and done a lot of the same things, although possibly not using the same methodology.”

I could tell she liked that word.

Then I thought of something that might help, a simple paragraph I’d read the day before—and was mightily impressed by. It was brilliant, and included in, of all things, a pole saw instruction manual!

So I asked her, “Have you ever read the label on a can of drain cleaner? If so, you’ll likely find something as inane as “If you turn this jug up and chug it like corn likker, you’re like to have a modicum of indigestion.”

She laughed. Now we’re getting somewhere. Waves are filtering backward…

“So, here’s a couple lines from a manual I just picked up: ‘The warnings, precautions and instructions in this manual cannot cover all possible conditions and situations that may occur. It must be understood by the operator that common sense and caution are factors which cannot be built into this product but must be supplied by the operator.’”

She was all perked up and circle-hooked now, I could tell. Let’s reel.

“Those thoughts are directly applicable on a bear hunt when you begin factoring in the Okefenokee Swamp, the size of the bear, his teeth, claws, attitude and a thousand other little items. On the run. Or when you have a snare around the neck of a 12-foot alligator that has to be captured alive—not shot, harpooned or otherwise molested because that’s the way the law lays it out. The law fails to lay out what in the cathair you’re going to do with him once he’s dragged to land…”

Believe it or not, she understood. Maybe boil it down to KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid; but be ready for those pitfalls when they pop up. I never wax philosophical about my hunting, because there’s an object of the exercise. And fake news has no part in it.

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