My thoughts on everything from albacore tuna to zebras
|Coming down here to the flatlands from the ridges of Pennsylvania I was prepared for weird happenings. I had heard of people jogging along the river in January…in bikinis; crowds of placard carrying people in front of the Governor’s mansion proclaiming the end is near; (Government workers nearing retirement, no doubt) and my personal favorite a giant inflatable pink pig that appears periodically in front of the capitol, an appropriate attack on government pork.
But I was not prepared for the antler people. Sure I’ve seen one or two over the years. We treated them as an oddity, a spike (no pun intended) in the normally gently curving graph of ridge runner life. We’d giggle and point and maybe not see another for several years after that.
True, Antler people are not anything new. An anthropologist friend of mine, in a study of cave drawings in South Philadelphia, (I think it was actually a subway tunnel) swears antler people have been around since…well…caveman days. He says a caveman named Ooog was the first of the documented antler people. After killing a prehistoric deer with a spear and graciously sharing it with his caveman friends, Ooog got the bright idea of taking the antlers from the deer and dancing around the firelight to amuse his friends. His friends, on the other hand, aided by full bellies, flickering firelight, shadows and a generous helping of fermented huckleberry juice took Ooog for another prehistoric deer and promptly speared him. Antler people were not heard of again for many, many years, until well after the invention of streetlights and the confiscation of spears. The fermented huckleberry juice lived on.
It was somewhere before the middle ages, which I guess would be the beginning ages, when men took to wearing antler adorned helmets into battle. While not true Antler people, (history has shown that for the most part Antler people are a fun loving if slightly obnoxious group), this did serve to maintain the visual concept of people wearing antlers. Antlers, being in short supply and a hot commodity for the aspiring village pillager, began to take on a value of their own. Soon they were traded for all sorts of items not the least of which was more fermented huckleberry juice.
In time Antler people seemed to fade into the veiled shrouds of history. Oh, an occasional sighting was written down, usually told by a newly rescued shipwrecked sailor or a scientist gone mad from one too many electric shocks, but for the most part they faded into the pages of history. But they did survive…and they multiplied. They became a secret society steeped in mysticism and fermented huckleberry juice.. The evidence has become all too…ah…ah…evident to me this week.
Apparently, once a year, the Antler people display their antlers in pride and they have chosen the week of the winter solstice to do it. Wherever I have traveled this week, I have been beset by people wearing antlers. The antlers themselves are a sight to behold. There is, no doubt a hierarchy to the antlers and what antlers you wear must signify your station in the hidden cult like world of the Antler people. Some light up, some have little bells on them, and some are made of paper and droop sadly on the wearer’s head. Some Antler people even wear brightly colored clothing and one; I kid you not, wore a blinking red nose! I have observed groups, no, herds of these antler people riding the bus and walking the streets of Harrisburg. They run cash registers at local stores. They…Aggggghhhhh!!! sit in the cubicle in front of my office proudly displaying their antlers for all antlerdom to see.
Today, as I waited for the bus, a gentleman next to me must have noticed my observation of the antler people. As if to put my mind at ease he leaned over and said, “Don’t worry buddy, by Tuesday they’ll be all gone.”
“They will?” I answered.
“Yep, they will. They’ll be replaced by people wearing conical party hats and throwing confetti.”
“Really?” I asked amazed.
“Yep, they’re called coneheads . They've been around a long time. It seems there’s these cave drawings in Southern France…”
I can’t wait.