In order to even start talking about what I am about to tell you, I feel like I should first legitimize it by telling you a little about myself. I don’t like to throw the word hardcore around, but I feel like I am pretty hardcore when it comes to hunting. This last season I was in the field for 300 days. I work as a guide full time and when I am not hunting I am generally hunting alone on extremely rough hunts. That being said, I feel like I have a pretty decent grip on some of the problems hunters run into. This is why I have wanted to write about what I have dubbed, “the hunter’s curse” for some time.
Many of the top outdoor publications for some reason don’t want to talk about the hunter’s curse. It is probably because the truth is too sinister for the average reader. Before I wrote this article I wanted to make sure that this was not something that only happened to me, so I asked a good cross section of hunters about experiencing the curse. Not one denied that it has happened to them. If you read this and can’t relate, I think you may be one of the lucky few in the minority.
The curse generally happens like this: you are innocently embarking up a mountain in pursuit of your quarry. Then somewhere along the line, a snip-bit of music floods into your head. You really don’t even notice it at first. It just happens. Often, you can’t remember the last time you heard that song, in most cases you really don’t know the lyrics, but it keeps playing over and over. It is like there is a discount wedding DJ looping the crappiest catchy lines you have ever heard. Here you are, full-bore in the manliest sport on the planet – attempting to chase down and kill an animal – meanwhile, a terrible song is stuck on repeat and you can’t shake it.
The real killer with the curse is when it is man-card revoking music. I mean VH1’s worst songs of the decade. The stuff you may have only heard a few times but pops in unannounced. For example terrible pop music, ad jingles, kids’ songs, anything by Justin Bieber, or songs that have a correlating dance ie. The Macarena. This is really scary stuff!
Let me divulge a little personal story. I almost don’t want to recount it for fear of a flashback. I was hiking up the mountain archery hunting for elk one day- doing my thing and really getting after it. Then, out of nowhere, the worst thing that could happen to a hard-core mountain hunter happened! The curse of all curse songs popped into my head and it went like this, “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world, I’m made of plastic and it’s fantastic.” I know, right? What the *%$# did I do so wrong to deserve that kind of punishment! I don’t even know where I heard it from. It is possibly the worst case of the curse ever.
Luckily that song only happened once! Okay maybe twice? But, seriously- I am going to clarify for all those ball busters out there who want to make a funny comment about me probably having that song on loop in my iPod. If you think that, you are missing the point! Yeah songs you hear can get stuck in your head, but there is also the chance that something from nowhere can -BAAAM- hit you like a freight train and wreak havoc.
Believe it or not, I have actually developed a way to combat the curse. As soon as I notice something getting out of control in my head, I hum the Indiana Jones theme song- you know: dun-na-nu-nuuu, na-nu-nuuu, dun-na-nu-nuuu, nu-na-nu-na- nuu! Why that one? Well first off, I made it my personal theme song for life because I like to think that I am always on an adventure. Second, I wore a fedora practically every day till I was 14 because I thought Indian Jones was the shit, and I don’t regret that decision! Third, it is easy to quietly whistle and has no words so it does not matter if it is on constant repeat! Plus, as a bonus and testament to the greatness of the tune, it helps power me up the mountain thinking I am a bad-ass. Especially compared to a few lines of the “I’m a Barbie girl” song I accidentally heard in 1997 that randomly popped into my empty head to torment the crap out of me.
Now just because you read this does not mean you can also use Indian Jones as your curse breaker/ theme song for life. I am calling dibs on it! You have to earn your stripes and do some hard yards to play that one. Since I am calling dibs, I also get the beginning of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. Actually, I really only want the first 16 seconds of the song before the lyrics start, the rest of you animals can hash up the rest. I know that might not sound fair – me getting Indian Jones and Led Zeppelin, but I am the one helping fight the hunter’s curse so it is an even trade in my book. Just think of something you like and run with it.
Another solution is to counteract the psychological damage of the terrible songs playing in your head by doing something manly. Eat an animal heart raw, drink your coffee black, grow an awesome beard, pee more in the backyard, whatever!
If the whole alternate theme song thing fails to work and you do manly things all the time, the last trick I know is what I call the misery loves company solution. If you are hunting with someone else, bait them into getting the same song stuck in their head, if for no other reason than it can be funny. You may actually shake the song from your mind when someone else picks it up. If you can’t in good conscience directly get a bad song stuck in someone else’s head- try making a simple statement like, “Man, I have the weirdest song stuck in my head right now.” If they ask to hear it, then it really is not your fault, they asked for it.
If you are a female hunter reading this, I am not leaving you out! I just suggest skipping the growing a beard part and diving straight into the “misery loves company solution”.
Last year on a backcountry mule deer hunt my brother Jason told me he had the hunters curse and the song was so bad he refused to put the same burden on me. Nice guy! I know he was trying to bait me into “misery loves company”. I am an old pro at avoiding this, but it really got me thinking what it could be? He is one of the toughest guys I know, and by the time we reached the top of the mountain, it looked like he had just been water-boarded for four hours. Honestly, I think I may know the song, but even I am too afraid to say it out loud.
According to a poll conducted by James J. Kellaris, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati for a presentation to the Society for Consumer Psychology. The top ten annoying songs stuck in peoples head are-
- Other. Everyone has his or her own worst song that keeps popping up.
- Chili’s “Baby Back Ribs” jingle.
- “Who Let the Dogs Out”
- “We Will Rock You”
- Kit-Kat candy-bar jingle (“Gimme a Break …”)
- “Mission Impossible” theme
- “Whoop, There It Is”
- “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
- “It’s a Small World After All”
“I use this stuff on all my high altitude hunts, which is basically all of them. It makes all the difference.”
|The Good Stuff:
“Can’t forget the essentials.”
“Great taste when I have become sick of other bars. Fuels me up and the effects last. Great energy booster!”