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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cabelas, The Final Frontier

I know that Disneyland is known as "The Happiest Place on Earth", but I beg to differ. After 5pm, with all the tired little people and the exhausted parents and navigating the lines and the crowds after a day of eating junk food, it becomes "The Crabbiest Place on Earth". Fathers can be dragged to Disneyland, but have you ever actually seen a grown man skipping through It's a Small World? Probably not. But I've seen one skipping through the fishing department at Cabelas.

Okay, maybe "skipping" is an exageration. It was more like that fast run/walk you do when you're really excited and can't wait to get somewhere but you have to restrain yourself because you're a "grown up". It's the closest I've ever seen to skipping in a man. Especially a rough and tumble, huntin, fishin, big-boy truck drivin man. There's something about Cabelas that turns men into little boys. And it is a sight to behold.

Take a grown man to Cabelas and you'll get to see what he was like at the age of five. Let him press his face to the glass aquarium in the fishing department. See his eyes light up as he watches all the trout and bass swimming around, as peaceful and serene as he imagines sitting in a boat trying to catch them would be. Getting him out of the fishing department past all the gear will be like taking a toddler down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Hold your ground. There are no Marlin in Idaho - he does not need 80lb test line and a deep sea fishing rod made of graphite.

On the way to the back of the store you will have to pass through the household decor section. He won't pay much attention through here unless he's really looking for a new travel coffee mug with a duck decoy decal. You can get through here with a minimum of fuss. At the back of the store is the "General Store". He will find all kinds of cool man stuff, like meat and fish seasonings for his grill and a variety of salsas and condiments for game as well as a few "guy" deserts like malt balls named cute things like "Moose Nuggets" or chocolate covered raisins in a container marked "Rabbit Poop". But more importantly, this is where YOU can come to get fudge. You can sample every single flavor of fudge they have and then buy your favorite. By this time, you probably need some chocolate.

After purchasing your man some "Rabbit Poop" to snack on, take him to the center of the store where the main taxidermy display is. These guys do a beautiful job of recreating wildlife tableaus. There are a variety of areas where you can sit and stretch out for a minute. Depending on your man, you may even have time to take a little nap while he wanders around daydreaming that he's the one who brought in that 12 point trophy buck. He can go face to face with a snarling mountain lion or scan the fake hills for record setting big horn sheep. There's plenty to keep him entertained.

I know how hard it is to get most men to go shopping for clothes, but take him into Cabelas and he will stuff himself into down filled coveralls and a layered, waterproofed, camouflaged jacket even though it's July and 100 plus degrees. If you find him covered in camouflage crouched down and hiding in a clothing rack he's just trying to see how comfortable he'll be sitting in a deer blind for hours on end. The only way I know of to get him out is to tell him you'd like to talk about your feelings, since he's just sitting there anyways.

After you've peeled him out of his deer/elk/duck hunting gear, convinced him that the 6 coolers he has stacked in the garage are sufficient and he doesn't need one with a gas powered, back up generator and purchased his obligatory Cabelas T-shirt, you will need to drag him kicking and screaming past the gun and ammo department, conveniently located to the right of the registers. They do that on purpose. It's Cabelas equivalent of the splurge spending rack at the checkout counter of your local grocery store.

Take your man-child home, feed him some supper and tuck him into the recliner where he can watch River Monsters, Unhooked. He'll be a happy guy all night long. I realize it sounds like I'm making fun, but really it is quite enjoyable to see a man get so excited about going to a store. My fathers, my stepbrothers, my brother in law - all cut from the same cloth, so I know what I'm mocking..I mean talking...about.

Too bad you can't place personal ads on their bulletin board. I know. I asked.

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