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A Man and His Moose
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The Spectator
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 by Laramie Boyd
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        In a lighter vein, "Doppler" is a book written by one Erlend Loe, that tells of a Norwegian man named Andreas Doppler. One day Andreas decided to leave his wife and 2 children and go live in the forest in a tent with a moose. When he made that decision, he just packed a bag, left a note on the kitchen table saying he was going for a walk and didn't know when he would be back, but not to expect him home for dinner. After a few days in his tent home, Andreas got very hungry for some meat. So he went hunting and stumbled across a moose, got the best of it, and chopped it up with a knife. From that day on, Andreas went by the nickname "Chopper." Turns out that he hadn't seen the moose calf tagging along behind the now dead mother. So from that day on, strangely enough, the calf followed Doppler wherever he went, and the beast and Chopper became fast friends. He named the moose Bongo, after his father, who wasn't named Bongo. Chopper's father was really a photographer who had a hobby of taking pictures of toilets. As for the reason he chose the name Bongo, Chopper said he liked to have an open mind about things.
        On one fine day in the forest, Chopper got the urge to honor his father's life in some way, so he decided to build a totem pole, with carvings brightly painted and a waterproofed coating so that it would last a long time after being planted in the ground. The pole depicted a man sitting on an egg, and on his head was a man sitting on a bike. The man on a bike has a 1year old moose on his head, and on this moose sits a little boy. Chopper was proud of his work on the totem pole and felt that even though he never really knew his father, he now was at peace with him for the memorial totem pole he built.
        Doppler hated people in general and the trappings of city life and that's why he gave them both up for the forest and tent life. He felt that "an illusion is created that humans are more important than those things on Earth that are not human. It's a sick illusion," he said. The only part of civilization he didn't forsake was his craving for milk, skimmed milk. He had an insatiable thirst for skimmed milk. So occasionally he had to make a run, reluctantly, to wherever he might find it, whether to a market in some town, or quietly sneaking into another man's home to swipe some out of their refrigerator.
       Even in his solitude, with his friend Bongo, Chopper made some very wise discoveries about life, and what is important in life, and he often recited these out loud to Bongo, as a sort of poetry to the forest. He thought of the forest as a friend. And he spent much of his time among his friendly trees doing nothing. One of his goals in his life in the forest was to "cultivate doing nothing to a level few have achieved before. Doing nothing is a very demanding job when other people are constantly on your back," he would say to the trees. "You are here now and you'll never be here again. And it's not cool being dead. Don't ever forget that," he warned his forest friends.
        Chopper was at peace with the forest, so quiet and peaceful, with he and Bongo in a harmonious balance, doing as they pleased, slowly closing in on his goal of doing absolutely nothing for the rest of his life.
        But then, for some reason, Chopper and Bongo tired of the forest. Maybe it was because Chopper's brother-in-law, a drunken neighbor from where he once lived, and one of his sons both moved into the forest near his tent. He and Bongo were no longer alone, free to do as they wished. He began to see himself as a failed man of his time, or a man of a failed time, he didn't know which. So he told Bongo it was time to move on, to another bigger forest, to begin a new life, to be alone again and keep on doing nothing. So they left their old forest home, Chopper and Bongo, and his one son, who wanted to go with them. The three of them headed East, where they could once again be alone, to chase Chopper's dream of aloneness and reaching the highest possible level of doing nothing.
        If you get a chance, read the little book. You'll enjoy it as I did, I'm sure.