Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jesus, Take the Wheel

Pee Dee National ForestI don't mind hanging out in YOUR office, if it'll get me out of MINE. Luckily, I get that opportunity a lot. High-rise headquarters, mid-level partition farms, basement dispatch cages ... I've crashed 'em all. Today, however, I lounged about in my favorite kind of workplace: the kind that moves. J.D. Bricken was behind the wheel. It only seemed right; as manager of the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge he knew tons more about its 8,443 sprawling acres than some goofy-ass cameraman. Soooo, after a thirty minute commute and a ninety minute trip to Anson (where the hell is Anson County?) County, I gladly settled into the shotgun seat of a federally owned F-150 and let J.D. do the driving. But he didn't just drive. He took calls, put out paperwork fires and called out every species of fauna, flora and flattened frog we passed along the way. I tried to shoot 'em all - but with a manly man like J.D. at the helm it was tempting not to find my happy place, knowing that even if we toppled over into the rushing Pee Dee River he'd call out to the fishes, launch a few emergency flares and order up a helo strike l-o-n-g before I could pen my first polysyllabic ode to suffering. Whew! He even proved his readiness later in the day when somebody took an ant-bite to the hand and commenced to blathering about rogue crocodiles lurking in the marshes... Yes, it pays to have a well-equipped naturalist around when you're on safari.

The tranquilizer dart, I could have done without, though. My left cheek is still throbbing...

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