Thursday, March 27, 2014

Of Hunting, Elk and Sex Lines

I recently pulled a few consecutive all-nighters struggling to write an overdue essay for the Center for Humans and Nature. I had (as is typical of me) procrastinated on far too long. The topic: “Does Hunting Make us Human?” I started the piece with an anecdote about a friend of mine who -- while hunting in the remote Tatshenshini Provincial Park along the British Columbia-Yukon border -- discovered the headless but mostly well-preserved remains of a fellow hunter from long ago who had been exposed at the foot of a melting glacier.  “Kwaday Dan Sinchi,” he is called by First Nations people, “Long Ago Person Found.”  

But I couldn’t remember how old the remains were.  I had written a story about it years ago for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Bugle magazine. So I decided to call my friend Dan, the magazine’s editor, to see if he could look it up for me. Since I did not have Dan’s phone number on me, I decided to call the 1-800-CALL ELK line to reach the Elk Foundation and ask the receptionist to transfer me to Dan. 

Although I spent ten wonderful years as the conservation editor of Bugle, and I think Bugle remains the finest hunting-related conservation magazine out there, I always feel a bit awkward calling them. I’ve had a falling out of sorts with the organization, and have vocally and publicly had a few strong disagreements with the current leadership, particularly with their harsh stance against wolves. I have since been banished from writing for Bugle and shunned by much of the staff.  When I call, I feel a bit like I need to do the over-the-phone, verbal equivalent of wearing a fake nose and glasses and and disguise my voice for fear they’ll hang up on me (admittedly pure paranoia on my part).  

Nevertheless some good friends I respect work there, such as Dan, and I was desperate for the information.

So I called 1-800-CALL ELK.   

Or thought I did. I was so exhausted I apparently dialed 1-800-CALL EEK.   

EEK indeed! Instead of hearing an expected, pleasant greeting from the Elk Foundation receptionist I instead heard the automated voice of woman seemingly trying to sound sexy:

“Welcome to America’s hottest talk line. Ladies: To talk to interesting and exciting guys for free, please press one now. Guys: Hot ladies are waiting to talk to you! Press two to connect for free now. Ladies: Press one now. Guys: Press two now.”

There was no option to press three for guys wanting to talk to interesting and exiting guys for free. Maybe it’s a right-wing, homophobic Christian sex line. But even so, you’d think they’d at least welcome the closeted ones among them -- and I am certain there are many.  

So I hung up. Likely a good thing; I do not need more excuses and distractions to procrastinate.

I dialed 1-800-CALL ELK again and got it right the second time around, got hold of Dan and he found the number for me. 

By the way: Kwaday died 550 years, presumably from falling in an ice-crevice while hunting -- long, long before there were 1-800-SEX lines.  

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