Roger L. Simon

Day, Night and Morning of the Hunter

I’ve never been much for hunting. I only did it once, as a Hemingway excercise in Spain when I was twenty-five. But when I saw the splattered corpse of the rabbit I shot, I felt sick and couldn’t even eat the stew that night, which, as I recall, contained my favorite saffron sauce. Since then, the only hunting I have done is the kind described in Sir Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso list to hunt….” I really enjoyed that, a lot, but am a happily married man now and in retirement.

Still, as a man, like VP Cheney, whose age has the dreaded 6 in front, I can sympathize with the desire to get up and boogie, especially if you have, like the Vice President, a dubious medical history that encourages you otherwise. You have to fight time by pursuing the hobbies you enjoy, physical ones above all. But what I don’t get is that a man as smart as the Veep didn’t immediately report the shotgun accident. Did he actually think for a moment that it wouldn’t come out? It’s hard to believe that. Perhaps he was afraid the accident was more serious than it apparently is. But if it was, all the more reason to report it. Again, however, I can’t get all exercised about it. What we have here is something quite predictable and normal – human cowardice. It’s not pretty, but it sure is commonplace. Another way to look at it is a lack of grace under pressure. Hemingway knew about that when he wrote one of his great hunting stories – “The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Perhaps Dick Cheney should reread it before he dusts off his shotgun again.

UPDATE: Having read the comments below, I’m reconsidering my position on this. [Hey, that’s how blogging’s supposed to be.-ed. Well, I said I didn’t know much about hunting.]

MORE: Considering the recent relevations about Mr. Whittington’s heart, I’m still not sanguine about how Cheney handled this. He is Vice President, not a private citizen. At the same time, the press is ridiculous in its over reatction. No one shines here.