We had a fabulous dinner at The Steakhouse in Red Lodge tonight, presided over by a moose delivering decidedly mixed messages.

He was very handsome, despite the fact that he was sans hindquarter and mounted on the wall behind the bar. He had a broad, expansive forehead, denoting intelligence and wisdom. Wide, flaring nostrils, indicating a passionate nature. Stubby, undersized antlers–I mean, seriously, the smallest rack I’ve ever seen on an adult moose–indicating… –

Well, nothing good.

How do animals like this survive in the wild? It’s not like he can buy a Corvette or a Harley to compensate. It’s not like he can learn to do a double triple salchow on a skateboard, wowing the ladies with his athletic prowess to make up for his other, um, shortcomings. It’s not like he can swear a lot and spit on the sidewalk.

How is he going to compensate for the testosterone deficiency indicated by those seriously stunted antlers?

He must have been a really, really nice guy.

Either that, or his legacy lives solely on the barroom wall, and the genes that gave birth to those pathetic antlers are no longer in circulation.

Sad for him, but probably a good thing for the Montana hunters who are endlessly seeking that mega-manly moose-rack to mount under the peak of their cathedral ceilings.

Come to think of it, what are they compensating for?

Still, I thought I sensed a certain sensitivity in his gaze–a look in his limpid eyes that told me this was an especially empathetic moose-man that would let his chosen lady moose see deep into his manly soul, and give her the whole of his magnificent moosey heart –

But–oops–those are glass eyes, provided by your friendly neighborhood taxidermist.

Never mind.