big buckLately I’ve felt trapped between two worlds. When I lived in Montana, I felt overly liberal and cosmopolitan – huffing about having to order my Urban Outfitters couture online and having to make my own hummus. Since I moved to New York, I’ve felt like a libertarian hick, shocked at the two-digit cost of a pitcher and the uber-PC comments of boutique-shopping trust-funders. Sure, I like international cuisine and wearing shoes, but I also don’t like the absence of trees or paying more than $30 for my aforementioned shoes.

In Montana, we would go to a bar called Bucks Club. We were never sure whether it was named after the various deer heads mounted on the wall or for their famous burger-and-a-beer for-a-buck deal. Either way, it was a great place where we could play darts and pool and where the bartender knew our names even when she was really drunk.

In New York, we’ve had more trouble finding a bar to call our own. Most places are too loud or too crowded or too fancy or too expensive. But over the last few months, we’ve found a way to escape to a place where we don’t feel so lost or torn. It’s an arcade game called Big Buck Hunter Pro and it’s popular enough in New York that we can find one almost everywhere we go.

The game is simple. Using awesome fake rifles, you shoot at bucks and avoid shooting does. You get extra points for hitting critters (possum, rabbits, birds) and even more extra points for accuracy. The redneck voice-over encourages you by saying things like, “Boy howdy, what a shot!” and “That’s enough to feed the whole family!” while in between rounds attractive women in camouflaged hot pants give you tips on how to improve your game.

It’s perfect for the way I feel these days. In the game, we take trips to the Yukon, Alaska, and, yes, Montana, where we get to hang out in beautiful, virtual forests and plains. We get to un-PC-ly shoot many, many more animals than we could ever eat. More importantly, we get to actually participate in a fun activity instead of sitting in some lounge and talking about how we’ve been affected by certain art installments.

At the same time, we don’t actually have to shoot real buck, which I don’t think I’m capable of. And we don’t actually have to hang out with the actual buck hunters who sat around at Buck’s Club, usually talking about their good-for-nothing wife or how much they’d like to stab a gay person (yes, I’ve actually heard both of these conversations at Buck’s club).

I might be confused over what I want and where I want to be these days, but at least, if only for a few minutes each weekend, I get to shoot a lot of different stuff with no consequences. As the redneck voiceover would say, “It’s a dead-eye shot!”

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