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Friday Foolery: The Snipe Hunt

Posted: 05/11/2012 12:45 pm

In the early morning fog they gathered deep in the woods of the Presidio. They were a motley group, but in truth they were following in the footsteps of a grand tradition of motley groups. They shivered, and bundled up further to ward off the chill. One of them dug into a satchel and pulled out a thermos of organic, free-trade, green and sustainable coffee, which was passed around the group. Quietly, a few wished deep in their hearts that it was Blue Bottle Coffee they were drinking, but they would never admit that out loud.

They looked at their watches as the time crept towards the appointed hour. Slowly a discussion broke out over how exactly they were going to go about their appointed task. This would have been easier if they had a leader, but before gathering they had made a solemn oath not to have a leader. This of course was now causing a bit of a kerfuffle as the group uneasily tried to coalesce around a strategy. Time waits for no one though, and suddenly, before the group was ready, the hour had struck, and it was time to strike.

Snipe season was officially open.

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with the genus snipe, this bird is truly the most rare and treasured trophy in the world. For years, motley groups of, well, motley snipe hunters, have traversed this great land of ours looking to capture this elusive prize. Early morning is required. An unfounded sense of optimism is also helpful. But most of all, a tragically misinformed sense of mission is the greatest tool of all, a belief that all this thrashing around will actually lead to a victory.

But back to the motley crew in question. We rejoin them as they burst out of the woods into the Mission. Yes, I know the Mission does not abut the Presidio, but I am taking some literary license here. It's just like those movie car chases in San Francisco where a car flies off the top of a hill in the Potrero and winds up landing in the Marina.

Where was I? Oh yes, our motley crew bursts forth into the Mission. Now, for many in the Mission, the appearance of the snipe hunters was quite unexpected, as a snipe has not been seen in those parts since the Great Snipe Migration of eighteen something or another. However, this did not deter the sniper hunters in the slightest, as their sense of mission had at this point reached a level only achieved by honey badgers and GOP candidates not named Willard.

The motley crew stomped down Mission, down Valencia, circled Church, and finally they were in a position to flush the snipe. Now, again for those not familiar with the art of snipe hunting, the final throes of the hunt are majestic in nature, truly worthy of odes and legend. If I am not mistaken, there are actually statues in many of the grand cities of Europe dedicated to legendary snipe hunters. Just between us kids, that David guy could catch himself a snipe. After all, what do you think is in that bag thrown over his shoulder?

Sorry, I digressed there. The majestic end. The veteran snipe hunters beat on a hollow log with sticks, while the rookie snipe hunter stands at the other end with a bag over the exit in which to trap the snipe. And the most important part is they must yell constantly, "here, snipe snipe snipe snipe..." It has been this way since time immemorial, and our motley crew was certainly not going to break with tradition. They knew the snipe was almost within their grasp. They beat on cars. They beat on windows. They sometimes beat on each other by mistake, but by this point that should not be a surprise.

But the snipe would not appear. This perplexed the snipe hunters, as it seemed they had done everything correctly. So they redoubled their efforts. They smashed cars. They trashed establishments. They made truly a majestic spectacle of themselves in every majestic way possible. I suppose a leader would have been helpful right about now, but as previously pointed out, this was a group that had foresworn the baggage of leaders.

There was to be no heroic ending this day. The snipe were simply not there. Dejected and disappointed, our motley crew trudged back into the woods of the Presidio (work with me people) and back to where they had started. In reality, this particular group of hunters seemed to always wind up back where they started, empty-handed and now completely devoid of organic, free trade, green and sustainable coffee. For a while they stood there silently.

Finally one person cleared his throat. In a halting voice, he told his tale. He had heard stories of a farm. A farm across the water in Berkeley. A farm where the snipe were everywhere. The snipe were doing bad things on this farm. If only the motley crew could get across the bay, then they could hunt the snipe once more. The group started to get excited again. The snipe! They knew now where the snipe were hiding. With great enthusiasm they once more set forth into the woods, convinced they would not return to the same place this time.

I however, am not so convinced. There are no snipe in Berkeley. And there is no 1% in the Mission either. Then again, most people do eventually figure out a snipe hunt. And by "most people," I mean the 99% percent of us who are not Occupy.

 

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