Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Typology of Foxhunters, Part 2: Juice Junkies

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!"

To A Louse
Robert Burns

For our second entry from A Typology of Foxhunters, we consider Juice Junkies. In case you missed the previous posting, these musings result from my observation of several clearly definable archetypes that make up the community of fellow foxhunters. Last week featured Nouveau Gentry. Still to come are Falstaffs, False Staffs, Saddle Tramps, Strivers, Posers, Hodads, Hunters Emeriti, and Chasers.

And, as was cited last week, I again borrow a theme from Burns in the way of a caveat:

I pray no power the giftie gie them

To see themselves as I do see them.

May readers sing the praise that’s due me,

But none get pissed and try to sue me.

Juice Junkies

The adrenaline rush – some folks just gotta have it. And nothing gets those adrenal glands pumping out high octane juice like straddling a half ton of muscle and bone as it rockets across rolling fields, zips down twisting wooded trails, and soars over fences built of unforgiving timber and stone. Skydiving may come close, especially when the chute fails to open.

Juice Junkies need that fix; the hard cores need it at least twice a week, three times or more for the worst addicts. Everyday life is too sedate, increasingly devoid of risks, total dullsville. Seat belts, airbags, security checkpoints, gun laws, food packages with all the ingredients and nutritional value listed, product safety warnings (“Do not use hair dryer while in the bathtub.”) – where’s the excitement? What’s the modern person to do for a little thrill now and then?

You could stand in a bathtub full of water and dangle a plugged-in hair dryer around your knees. Or you could go foxhunting. (In the opinion of many, the choices are about equal on the Idiot-O-Meter.)

If you choose the latter to satisfy your adrenaline cravings, you’d best select a hunt club led by a master with a hefty touch of Superman Complex, the kind who thinks he’s bulletproof and will brook no babysitting. It’s keep up or go home, full bore, balls to the wall all the way. A four foot fence with a five foot drop on the landing side? Screw it, hounds are running. Close your mouth and squeeze your legs. This type of field master starts the day with 30 to 40 followers. Five hours later, when the last fox has been put to ground, he may have two or three left. Those are the Juice Junkies.

Remember the guys in high school who were the natural jocks, who never bothered with training or workouts but could step onto the playing field and win the big game anyway? The ones who got the hottest girls? The handsome wise-asses the women teachers coddled and the men teachers hated? The guys whose voices changed when they were ten, started shaving at twelve, and lost their virginity at thirteen? They couldn’t spell a word like “Renaissance” if given a dozen chances nor name one member of the US Supreme Court (living or dead). They’ve made their way in life on charm, chutzpah, and a stratospheric tolerance for risk, fueled by their belief that fortune shines on them above all others. They chose a career path where success depended more on balls then brains, where they prospered handsomely from their ability to sell cow shit to cattle ranchers.

They differ from Strivers, who we’ll consider in a future posting, in that the Striver has something to prove, some feeling of inadequacy to overcome by amassing wealth and power. Juice Junkies have no sense of inadequacy – indeed, they consider themselves vastly more adequate than all others – and thus are more at peace with the world.

But they still need to feed that craving for danger, the urge to put it all out there on the line, to saunter up to the God of Fate, chuck the old bugger on the chin, and say, “Catch me if you can.” Five hours later the Juice Junky is draining the last dregs of someone else’s flask as the few survivors of the day’s final chase are heading back to the trailers. Everyone else, including the God of Fate, packed it in two hours earlier and is already home nursing sore muscles in the hot tub.

Juice Junkies are skewed toward a male demographic but not exclusively so. There are plenty of gals (“ladies” may be an inappropriate appellation here) with an equal need for the sensual thrill of sitting astride a writhing mass of sinew for a bone rattling, teeth jarring, out of control, rollicking roll. And the longer it lasts the better.

© 2010, J. Harris Anderson


  1. Wonderful writing--and very sagacious.

  2. Once again, John, the Fyodor of Foxhunting, has pinned the tail on the hunt horse. Luckily I saw no resemblance to any of my Masters.