The Nuge
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“My god, Ralph.”

It was my wife, panicking. Her eyes expanded with each heartbeat like boiled eggs someone was squeezing, and she chewed all ten fingers.

“Our daughter has a date with Ted Nugent. He’s picking her up in a limo at seven and driving her to his concert downtown,” she said. “I’m petrified.”

“Nugent?” I said. “The Motor City Madman? Oh my lord, he’s...feral. And Traci is…pure. And sweet. And 17.”

“Doesn’t he play a song called ‘Whang Dang Sweet Poontang’?” said my wife. “And another called ‘Whang Dang Doodle’?” She had to hold onto me for support.

“Yes, I believe all his songs have Whang Dang in them,” I said. “Or—” I shuddered “—Doodle.” I felt helpless. “But,” I added, “isn’t the Nuge our age now, and a married man with kids? I think he may actually be sort of respectable now. I mean, back in the 60s, when I saw him with the Amboy Dukes, he was a maniac who chewed acid on stage, but now he’s as harmless as Rod Stewart.”

  
 
“You saw him in the 60s?” said my wife. “Were you stoned?”

“Of course I was stoned. Why else would you go hear a band perform ‘Journey to the Center of the Mind’? But look, if the Nuge is our age and respectable, what does Traci see in him? Are you sure she’s going to his show?”

My wife released me and pondered. “It’s because you took her hunting and let her shoot that gun. Nugent runs a gun school for kids,” she said, “and I bet you Traci wants to go there. All she talks about since she shot that squirrel is guns, guns, guns.”

“Do you think?” I said. “Geeze, I bet it’s expensive.”

“She’s probably hoping the Nuge will give her a deal when she talks to him. Here she is now.”

“Hey.”

“Hi honey,” said my wife. “Listen, Traci, I’m not sure going out with a gun fanatic is right for a girl your age.”

“Mom, Teddie is not a fanatic. He’s a skilled marksman and hunter and he teaches gun safety, not violence. Let it alone.”

“I think,” I said, “we’re just going to have to face up to the notion that our daughter likes to kill her own meat.”

“Right. Well here’s Teddie’ s limo. So long.”

We watched her go.

“I hope neither of them is armed,” said my wife.

That said it for us both.

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