Thursday, September 10, 2009

Skin Deep Beauty

As I stood at a gas station eking out its squalid existence on a stark stretch of road just south of nowhere, I glanced up to see a billboard sign emblazoned with a six-foot-tall elk head. Under the unfortunate head the sign read:

Taxidermy--1/2 Mile.

The ancient gas-pump coughed and whirred, its dingy mechanical digits heaving skyward as I propped myself on the hood of the car to ponder this macabre omen.

It was all very The Hills Have Eyes meets Night of the Living Dead and as I watched a discarded Diet Coke can rattle across the parking lot, I was fully prepared for a team of lurching zombies to burst out of the men's bathroom armed with a rapidly mutating virus and gargantuan elk heads.

I'm always fully prepared for something plausible to happen.

As the hairs leapt to attention at the base of my skull and the goosebumps on my arms sprang to life, I got to thinking that right about now would be as good a time as any, to own a gun.

Thankfully the gas tank filled and I hopped into my ride and sped away before I was forced to fend off any infected undead or homicidal maniacs. But my manic brain couldn't leave the taxidermy sign alone and while fishing around on the internet a few hours ago, I stumbled upon a website that was in some ways, creepier than the shiftless little zombie-infested service station.

"Learning Taxidermy the Fun and Easy Way---on DVD! 40% off the perfect beginner course!! Four-DVDs including Deer, Fish, Duck and Squirrel!"

Grotesquely intrigued, I clicked onto the informational link where an audio clip of a waxen and lifeless looking gentleman (pictured here)
informed me that whether I was simply looking to save hundreds by doing my own taxidermy---or looking to make thousands of dollars by starting my own taxidermy business, this was the course for me.

That audio must have been recorded right before his business partner turned him into a bipedal mount.

Now, far be it for me to find fault with someone else's hobbies. I mean, I have some whoppers of my own so I try not to be too judgemental. Or mental.

But taxidermy? I don't know. I think that might be a deal-breaker. Like, say I was asked on a date by a super good-looking guy who shared many of my dreams and aspirations, who didn't have any ridiculous emotional baggage and happened to be the head surgeon at Duke with a summer house in Vermont that he flew his biplane to every other weekend.

Say that same guy asked me out on a date and we got along like peas and carrots and laughed until our sides ached.

If that same guy brought me to his home and shared this little hobby with me?

I'd shut it down. Post haste.

It just seems that the next logical step after skinning an animal and stretching its chemically- treated flesh over a stuffed semblance of that same animal---- is skinning a date, and stretching her chemically treated flesh into some sort of suit jacket.

Call me crazy.

-Tara Callahan


  1. Funny. My 2nd ex wife (yes, I'm collecting them - but not as skin suits, thanks) was, among other things... wicked cute. 4'8" tall, 98 lbs soaking wet. Dancer. Musician. Artist. Bow Huntress. Taxidermist.

    I shit thee not.

    I should have read your post first. Gah.

    You are an amazing writer, my dear Tara-fabulous. Perhaps a book of short stories?

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Bald Guy

  2. Now I'm picturing Buffalo Bill from The Silence of The Lambs.

    it puts the lotion in the basket

    Great, now I've given myself a case of the whim whams.

  3. Michaela, you make me laugh. Thanks for finding me. Nice to see you here!!! And Randy. I am frightened. :) For you. For all of us.

  4. So funny, I love it! I still have "Desk Job Girl" (love that too), but I will return it to its rightful owner if you'd like it back. Hope all is well!