It wasn’t one of those weird flash forward instances like in every hilarious, poorly-acted Final Destination movie.
And I certainly didn’t see this in a dream (most of my sleep thoughts consist of fighting panda bears that have dragon wings and/or talking to old friends who morph into 80-year-old versions of themselves – the sad part is both scenarios really have materialized in this brain in recent nights).
For some reason, I just know. It’s a strange, uncomfortable feeling in the depth of my gut. I don’t know when it’s going to be, and definitely don’t know why. But there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will experience death by either plane or deer.
I’m fairly certain that the one chance fate had of ending me while airborne passed a couple of years ago, when I somehow averted the reaper by surviving 45 minutes hurtling in circles above Oakland airport in a storm that would make Zeus shake in his sandals (I’m talking lightning bolts striking just outside my window, rain causing static-like screens in my immediate vision, and unbearable turbulence).
So the more likely answer is that I will one day be killed by a freakish, vegetarian, antlered beast of the suburbs.
Please, let me explain.
I should have realized this was life’s verdict around age eight. Our neighbor used to have a shoddy little basketball court just down the street from my house. Before my family got a hoop for the driveway (always set to seven and a half feet so I can throw down monstrous dunks like THIS), I would mosey on down to the neighbor’s court and play for a while on most summer days.
Side note: For how often I shot hoops as a kid, there is no explanation for how royally I SUCK at basketball…
To provide context, my house (address not listed for security reasons – I don’t want you hooligans pulling any shenanigans like stealing my six-year old DELL, collection of NOW CD’s, or signature of Janet Evans) is also backed up to the Open Space.
In Walnut Creek, CA, the “Open Space” is a big, grassy, hilly area with flowers and wildlife and bodies of water. You know? A space…that’s open. Oh, nevermind. It’s where people go hiking and walk their dogs.
Sometimes, the woodland creatures venture down to my street from the Open Space and try to eat our apparently delicious garbage. Snap back to the basketball court with eight-year-old Jeremy ballin’ like LeBron. Before LeBron existed. Weird.
I chased an awful air ball into the bushes behind the hoop, and when I turned around there was a centaur-like buck with gargantuan antlers staring at me, furious. I had gotten too close to his sugar mama and offspring for his liking and Papa wasn’t happy.
Let’s just say my description of the animal is completely exaggerated, but he really did have antlers. And cut off my only route home. So eight-year-old me with my peach-like ego proceeded to whimper and sob in the bushes, clutching my basketball, until my dad came looking for me an hour later.
My dad scared off the mighty deer, reinforcing every young boy’s belief that his fatherly figure might be a superhero, and walked me home.
To this day, I have loathed the animal that trapped me in embarrassment for so many painful minutes. Add in the fact that they kind of resemble horses, which legitimately terrify me, and that those little puff-tailed demons shit ONLY ON MY LAWN, I’m convinced that deer have it out for me.
When I was little, I rarely thought about death. But now that I’m nearly a senior citizen (turning 24 in January) and very close to a deer-induced burial, it crosses my mind. And for whatever reason, those disgusting critters have evolved.
They are all over my neighborhood, and only come out at night. Especially when I’m driving down the street. In the rain. And they only jump out from the bushes when they recognize my car.
Fearlessness is a pretty scary trait to face in an opponent. And even though yelling and honking my horn no longer fazes them (they look up from eating, smirk, and carry on…bastards), I do have a shovel and many sharp kitchen utensils at home that are begging to be used.
See? They are out to get me. One way or another. They’re gonna find me. They’re gonna get me get me get me GET ME! Whoa…sorry.
So I don’t know when, why or how I will be killed by deer. I don’t know if it will be a hoofed kick to the heart, a mass deer-gang car jacking and beating, or a rabid buck who mistakes my neck for a delicious leaf.
I’ve accepted my fate. Remember me well, friends. But at the funeral, if you quip “Deer-ly Beloved,” my posthumous spirit will not laugh.
Maybe. I do love puns.