Why Crockett needs an Epi pen


I had a coonskin cap (a somewhat disparaging term even by today’s standards) when I was eight years old and would proudly claim the role of Davy Crockett whenever I played ‘cowboys and indians’ with my friend Deg.

I wanted to be the bold and courageous pioneer holding my omnipresent
musket (BB gun) as I surveyed the wild landscape of my backyard, my own personal Kentucky.

Since Deg didn’t have a coonskin cap he assumed the role of the quintessential Indian.

Back then, we’d yet to hear about political correctness and racial bias, concepts we could care less about—I was paleface and he was Tonto.
Even though we both knew Tonto was the Lone Ranger’s sidekick we needed
identity—it was just that simple.

We would play in the woods near my house traipsing through the forest and brush in search of God knows what with me shooting my musket at anything that moved followed by a whining Tonto complaining about always being the Indian.


“How come you always get to be Crockett?”


“Because I own ‘the hat’, that’s why, you baby.”


“Well, it’s not fair.”


“Could be worse, you could be a stupid squaw.”


One day while hunting down an invisible (and non-existent) enemy, I stepped on a log.
My foot sank deep into the soft and rotting wood rousing a large nest of yellowjackets. Angry bees flew everywhere.
They were up our shirts and inside our pants making us look like a couple of dancing fools.

Tonto was fine but pioneers like me didn’t take kindly to multiple bee stings.

It wasn’t long before Tonto looked at me and said, “Kemo Sabe don’t look so good.”


I felt hot and puffy and could feel my eyes beginning to swell shut.
Boys at play know nothing about anaphylactic shock, a condition I was currently about to experience, but I knew enough to go home.
It was the frightened look on my mother’s face that got me to thinking, “This can’t be good.”

She was chalk white but calmly said, “Get in the car.”

She said nothing on the ride to the doctor’s but I could see her lips moving; she was praying and I assumed I was going to die. Niiiice.

Forty years ago, the world had yet to be seized and manipulated by the Goliath-like HMO’s of today—it was much simpler than that.
A simple exclamation upon entering the doctor’s office such as, “My kid is dying! Get the goddamned doctor!” worked like a charm.

I’m a bit foggy as to what happened at the office. I assume that my sorry ass was pumped full of epinephrine (adrenaline), a hormone that basically shut down my immune system and enabled me to keep breathing.

Living things like to breathe.

I received a record 437 hugs that day from my mother who seriously thought she would be burying a son. A week later I would begin ‘desensitizing therapy’ in the hopes of offsetting my severe reaction to bee stings.

In some ways, a small door closed for me that day because contrary to what I thought, I was no Superman and certainly no bold and courageous pioneer.

I also understood that the days of Crockett and Tonto were numbered and my coonskin cap was soon to be retired.


7 thoughts on “Why Crockett needs an Epi pen

  1. Forty years ago, the world had yet to be seized and manipulated by the Goliath-like HMO’s of today—it was much simpler than that.
    There were only times I got fast service from the nurses: when I got hit by a car and when I went into full back labor with my oldest.
    I understand your phobia of bees. My father-in-law was unfortunate to step on a nest when he was mowing his parents’ lawn.

    You should see me mowing my lawn in the summer when I get attacked by a hornet.
    From a distance, I’m sure I look epileptic. Yeah, it’s funny. 😎


  2. I will never be able to watch Fess Parker on TV Land in the same way again…how’d that as tall as a mountain and a strong as a might oak tree


  3. oh michael!! you have a way with words that transports me to the time and place you speak of, and then comes the vision of the happening..and i’m sorry, but this is hysterical when i see it in my minds eye…then another part of me feels your mothers fear and i crash back to earth and it’s not quite as funny..in quick successsion i recall the realisation (as a child) that i was NOT immortal..for me it was when i fell from a rather TALL tree playing a ridiculous tarzan game with my brother because he always made me the bloody monkey..how in the name of all that’s holy i didn’t kill myself is still a mystery to me..i was 10 when that happened and haven’t climbed a tree since…i’m convinced this is where my absolute terror of heights comes from

    Very interesting with your fear of heights.
    Sounds like it could be quite possible.
    Amazing how the mind works…


  4. Oh poor kid. I hate it that kids have to experience that first moment that proves they are not infallible. I had a bee sting once and it was like fire shooting into my arm. I can only imagine your experience. Yoiks!
    I remember when I was a kid a couple of brothers who lived down the street messed with a hornet’s nest – one of them ended up in the hospital – I suspect for the same problem you had. I remember thinking ‘jeez, now we have to be afraid of hornets.’ If only things were so simple today.
    PS: You’ll always be davy crocket to me. 😉

    Awww, shucks.
    Thanks, Annie.


  5. Whilst I don’t quite remember what life was like 40 years ago, seeing as how I was 8 years away from coming into existence, things just aint the same anymore are they? And I wonder sometimes, are we REALLY better off as a result?

    I wonder, too.
    I really don’t think so.


  6. My son’s peanut allergy gave him that same red version of the stay puff marshmallow man the very first time he “tried” (?) a peanut. He carries his epi pen and calls it his poisonous marker 😉 Again with the way you take us all there…wonderful, humorous, a little scary, then heart warming again.

    Fishing around the archives, eh?
    I love when people do that. 😉
    True story too. I remember the day well even though it was so very long ago.
    Thank again, Ali


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s