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  The Gauntlet

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letters, opinions, editorials

re: wild hares

Dear Friends Back East,

I am happily picturing your annual Big Apple Thanksgiving pig-out, featuring Nathan’s and Arthur Treacher’s foodstuffs, washed down with vodka-laden egg creams, followed by Brooklyn cheesecakes of many colors. I remember those times and wish you happy holidays!

I’m sorry to report that I’ve had a nasty fall on a hiking trail, and I now resemble the dermatologically-challenged Freddy Krueger. I was doing just fine when suddenly I found myself airborne over a particularly steep, rocky downhill stretch. After a belly landing, I managed to slide roughly three miles on knees, elbows, hands and forearms before finally achieving stoppage through skilled use of my rudder-like nose, forehead, and cheekbones, and my speed also slightly checked by drag from my eyelids.

What happened? Well, I have concluded that a large, vicious New Mexico jackrabbit, waiting in the shadows of a small juniper bush, stuck out one of those oversized hind feet, and tripped me. No, I was not bested by one of those little cottontail creatures that deliver Easter eggs and are featured on the covers of Beatrix Potter books. I’m referring to the ever-dangerous, giant New Mexican jackrabbit—evil, menacing, grotesque.

As you well know, I am no longer the hapless city dude I was when I retired here. I am now comparable to a frontiersman—very Davy Crocketty and Lewis-and-Clarky in my wildlife knowledge. And I can tell you that there are huge differences between a jackrabbit and a regular rabbit. First of all, jackrabbits aren’t rabbits at all—they are hares. And hares far exceed rabbits in their savagery, brutality, and fiendish malevolence.

To compare a New Mexican hare with a common rabbit is like comparing mountain gorillas to chimps; hippos to hogs; sharks to smelts; yaks to wapitis; steenboks to stoats; kangaroos to kinkajous; asses to elbows; Vikings to wombats.

If you’ve never experienced the hollow, mocking laughter of a New Mexico jackrabbit, consider yourself lucky. As I lay bleeding, painfully sprawled on the rocky trail, I heard the merciless laughter of that evil beast. Actually, it was not laughter, but a shrill, terrifying, bucktoothed chortle—a sound reeking of beta-carotene. Luckily, I wasn’t assailed by an entire pod of these things.

I am sorry to report that some of my local friends doubt my story and have let their skepticism be known. They prefer to think I simply fell over my own two feet, probably while carelessly fondling my iPod, trying to switch from The Four Lads to Doris Day’s latest and not paying attention to my footfalls. They would have you believe I somehow inserted my hiking stick between my ankles, tripped, fell, and skidded on face and belly down the rocky trail like a miniature Spruce Goose, but without benefit of landing gears. They would prefer you think I was just a clumsy, retired New Mexican oaf, rather than a heroic victim of an assault by a wild animal.

Well, let them doubt my word and believe what they may—it’s no skin off my nose.

Patrick Cat seems to be getting used to my multi-colored facial properties, although he seems hesitant to turn his back or take his eyes from me while he eats. Hopefully by Christmas, he’ll realize I’m the same intrepid, Kit Carsony person I was before the ambush.

—Your Friend, Herb

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