Proof that I’m losing it

November 1, 2012

By Pat Detmer

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Although my face and body show the full effects of having lived for 62 years, I like to think that my brain is akin to that of a 20-year-old: resilient, fast, pliable, my neurons still covered with plenty of fatty insulation and firing on all cylinders.

Those who know me well are laughing out loud as they read this because they’ve been witness to my fuzzy nerve endings and resultant misfires for years, and my actions at a recent business meeting finally made me face the fact that I no longer have the gray matter of a youngster, although I do still have plenty of fatty insulation, unfortunately none of it attached to neurotransmitters inside my skull.

Case in point: The Sainted One and I traveled to Eastern Washington to talk to a business owner about helping them sell their company. The owner’s wife/partner was at the initial meeting, and as we got acquainted she said that she was very familiar with Whidbey Island where we’d had a second home because of the work she did picking up partridge there to bring to Eastern Washington for a company called “Feel Free to ….”

She said a word. I didn’t hear it clearly, but I could tell that it started with an “H” and a “u”. As the conversation continued around me, I was lost in thought. What had she said? Feel free to … what? Why would anyone transport birds from western Washington to the other side of the mountains? Is it possible that birds were hauled from one place to another — like pandas or Siberian tigers in national zoos — to procreate? Was there a shortage of partridge in coulee country that I was unaware of?

If that’s what she was referring to, it would be a mighty unconventional name for a business, but I’d encountered odd company names before. I might have saved my question for a more opportune time, but I was dying of curiosity, so when there was a brief lull in the meeting I turned to the wife and said:

“Excuse me. Did I hear that correctly? Did you say ‘Feel Free to Hump?’”

Yes. I said it out loud. “Feel Free to Hump.” I said it to two lovely people who didn’t know me or my husband from a hunk of basalt, in our first meeting ever, the most important meeting of all. After a silence as deep as the Dry Falls, she said, “Umm … no. It was called ‘Feel Free to Hunt.’”

Of course. “Feel Free to Hunt.” My vision of happy, horny pheasants running around making baby chicks and replenishing the population was gone in a puff of smoke, smoke that I believed I could almost smell given that I could picture the sizzle and burn of another dying, overloaded synapse in my brain.

Luckily, they laughed. Then I laughed. Then I overheated as I laughed and needed to fan myself with our company collateral.

Believe it or not, they decided to work with us. Or maybe just The Sainted One …


You can reach Pat Detmer — who believes that stuff like this is a sign of genius — through

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