I was walking alone through a forest this weekend when I realized I would not be able to defend myself if I was attacked by a wild animal.
I had a water bottle in one hand and two rocks in the other. I had picked those rocks specifically because I thought they would be both easy to carry and easy to throw at a wild animal's forehead.
I had initially picked up these rocks to defend myself against any rabid bear or a mountain lion that might try to attack me, but when I saw a deer with small antlers, I was also scared of that.
"What if he charges me?" I thought. "Can I even climb a pine tree?"
I don't think deer bite out of anger, but being bitten by animals that don't eat meat " deer, horses, goats " is one of my greatest fears.
I thought about throwing one of my rocks near the deer to scare it away, but I didn't know if that would make him mad and encourage him to attack me with his molars.
I will assume that a deer's natural response would be to run away, but I don't think my reaction is my fault. Young Americans are taught never to make bees mad " one of the most terrifying thoughts possible for a child " and they are never told that this rule might not apply to other animals.
I also don't think it's my fault that I chose two rocks to defend myself against large animals that I am defenseless against in almost all situations.
People in movies and other fairy tales are always throwing rocks with extreme accuracy at opponents to overcome what seems to be guaranteed defeat.
If I threw a rock, however, and dislocated my shoulder, I could return to town looking like a hero by wearing a sling I made out of the shreds of my own shirt.
All heroes return to town with their arms in makeshift slings.
I will tell you what heroes don't do, however: Get startled by flies.
I guess I was so nervous about getting attacked by a wild animal when I was walking through the forest that I would jump whenever a fly flew toward my eyes, ears, mouth or nose like flies always do.
I didn't think about it then, but maybe people are startled by flies for a reason. What if people didn't swing at them when they buzzed by their ears? Would flies just keep on going and bore into your brain?
I didn't have to worry about that, though. I had a good rock with me.
- Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212. His column appears Thursdays.