"Mi, mi, mi, miiiiiiii!" That was what I expect to hear come out of their furry lips.
Or-- given there are three of them-- perhaps a barbershop trio routine. Three-part harmony, with feeling. A rousing chorus of "Down by the Old Mill Stream," "Shine on Harvest Moon," or if they were feeling cheeky, some Skynrd.
Yes, each year, on Labor Day, I'm invited to a hotdog roast at the home of my best friend's uncle. A tranquil location in the country, chock full of Nature with a capital N. We spend the day with pigs and cows and horses and cats and turkey vultures and hawks and a corpulent hound dog with a taste for root beer and ice cream, particularly if it's in your unwatched dishware.
But it's the animals of the non-living variety that yearly have me in stitches.
You see, in "Uncle Fuzzy's" well-appointed trailer (and yes, he goes by "Fuzzy," I am so not making that up), on one solitary living room wall... In a home otherwise sparse for decor except the occasional John Deere home fashion item...
Yes, there, looming above a small sofa, there is the trio of which I spoke. They are the heads of three very unlucky deer. And they are like none I've ever set eyes on before.
I mean, this is Western Pennsylania, so I have seen my share of taxidermied animals. The rearing squirrel... The wary fox... the thoughtful moose...
And the deer, they usually have that proud beauty... Or, would, rather, if they weren't actually dead.
Alert... Yet with a placid gentility. Their expression shines through warm brown glass eyes.
Uncle Fuzzy's deer are not like this. For whatever reason-- whether his taxidermist has a morbid sense of humor or is losing his faculties with age... Whether the deer were having a little tete-a-tete when they met their unfortunate end, or rigor mortis had already set in—
For whatever reason, Uncle Fuzzy's deer look like they've been participating in a raucus woodland cocktail party where the grass and berries fermented and had a bit of a kick.
Rather than their long necks looking forward, attentive, nature at its most noble, these deer are looking all different directions, this one's head cocked to the side a bit like he's listening to the bawdy joke from the one on his left...
That one wondering whether he should trot on over to the bar for a fourth Deer Park Water and Whiskey.
Singularly, they would be whimsical.
As a collective, it's like Animatronic Hell.
No matter where you stand in the room, they are the largest thing in it. And as they hang there together, one great reddish brown energetic crowd-- they eyeball, they consider, they raise deerly eyebrows in hammy ways and seem like they're a second away from offering guests a frosty beverage.
It's like walking into the set for George Harrison's "I Got My Mind Set On You" video. Except the props are all half-mad and slurring.
Part of me always finds itself thinking it's a good thing they really are just heads. Because with bodies, they'd be off filming each other doing Jackass-like stunts, daring each other to stand in the road in headlights and play chicken with the oncoming cars.
Or challenging each other to jump over fences while inebriated. Or trying to work a shotgun between the three of 'em to just give the locals a taste of what it's like.
But, you know, I guess the nice thing is that even when Uncle Fuzzy is between girlfriends, he's never really alone. He can settle back on his couch after a hard day of farming, put his feet up, his obese hound at his feet, pop in a video and the five of them can enjoy a comfortable night in.
Sure, the deer might turn every film into an episode of Mystery Science Theater. I wouldn't doubt it for a minute.
But it never gets dull at Uncle Fuzzy's perpetual stag party.