Kenyon Kritters: Dear Deer

Kenyon Kritters: Dear Deer

Warning: The following is semi-educational and not recommended for the purposes of actual guidance. My colleague, Deeridre, is not a certified advice columnist, nor is her advice very applicable to modern college life, but she certainly puts our silly student problems in perspective. Take her word with a salt lick.

Greetings human juveniles of Kenyon College,

Today’s Kenyon Kritters features a special guest author: it’s me! I ran into your regular correspondent, Sarah, as I often do in the fields down at the BFEC, and she sighed and told me “Deeridre, everyone keeps asking me for advice with their human problems, like I have the slightest idea what they’re talking about!” Well, as the responsible adult, I decided to put hoof to keyboard and help the poor child out, so I’ve ruminated on your letters and attempted to answer some of your concerns. And I only ate, like, 6.

Let me start at the very beginning by telling you a little bit about myself. I’m a doe, a deer, a female deer, and I’m 4 years old. I’ve lived in Gambier my whole life where I’ve raised three successful sets of triplets. You’ve probably seen us crossing the road in the early evening or grazing outside your classroom window. You may have even heard me snort as you pass by the woods on a snowy evening. It’s just my way of saying “hi,” and “get the hell away from my children.” Really, it’s nothing personal.

Alright, enough fawning about. Onto your letters!

Dear Deeridre,

My English professor always calls on me in class even when I haven’t done the reading and I have absolutely nothing to say! How do I get him to stop putting me on the spot?

NOT John Crowe Ransom

Dear NOT John,

That feeling of being caught unawares is the worst. I have a similar feeling every time I try to cross a road only to have a giant SUV come barreling toward me at full speed. Every time it happens, I freeze. And no, I don’t have a death wish, I just have a really hard time seeing with those bright lights burning into my eye sockets. Deer eyes are built for dawn and dusk, not blinding sun rays from your metal monsters. Might I suggest that you try a similar tactic with your professor? I don’t mean you have to feign blindness, per se, but the next time he turns to you to expostulate on Jack Caribou’s ‘On the Trail’ or whatever, just stare right back. The wider and more bewildered you can make your eyes, the more uncomfortable he’ll be, and rather than keep up the weird eye contact, he’ll likely swerve around you to another unwitting victim. Works every time!


Fun fact: My eyes glow in the dark because of a special membrane in my retina called the tapetum lucidum (which is a really cute name for a layer of skin in your eyeball) that helps me absorb lower levels of light, since I’m a crepuscular critter. The light from your headlights that isn’t absorbed in my retina is reflected back through the extra membrane, producing that silvery white glow. Here’s my friend Dearyll and me caught in the act of some early morning mischief.

Dear Deeridre,

I have a friend- we’ll call him ‘Bartholomew’- and I’ve noticed that recently he’s been behaving kind of strangely toward me. I think he might be interested in me in a ‘like-like’ sort of way, but how can I know for sure without asking him?

Bamboozled buddy

Dear Bamboozled,

As a highly sought after doe, I’m no stranger to advances from potential mates (that is the situation here, yes?) The best way to tell if a male is interested is to pit him against another male. How spiky are his antlers? Is he a bellower? Find another male, tempt him with your feminine wiles and watch the battle rage! If Bartholomew defends you and emerges the victor, he’s your buck. To be honest, I’m not sure why they feel the need to prove their masculinity all the time- I think it’s a testosterone thing. But hey, if I had bones sticking out of the top of my skull that grew a quarter inch a day, I might be a little touchy as well. Good luck!

Ah, the rut. The best is when their antlers actually get locked together. Then they’re literally ‘stuck in a rut!’ Wordplay.

Dear Deeridre,

Why am I always hungry? I swear, I go to every meal, I eat a bunch of french fries, hot dogs and grilled cheeses at Monday lunch and then 2 hours later I’m hungry again. How can I keep the hanger away?

Foiling the frosh ’15

Dear Foiling,

Hanger is a very real problem. I always feel hungry. That’s why I eat 7 pounds of grass, leaves and fruit a day. If that’s not really an option- those Peirce plates are just too small for that- here’s how I keep the gurgles away. I move my food into the first chamber of my stomach and let it bounce around a while, and then, when I get feeling peckish again, I cough it back up and chew some more. Ta da, easy afternoon snack! Then, when I’ve mashed that into a pulp, I send it back down my gullet so my handy-dandy fermenting gut bacteria can get all the goodies out for you. And while that’s all gurgling down below, I can graze some more!  Problem solved. Except I guess this isn’t really an option for you, what with the puny digestive tract and all, so… snacks? Grab a branch off that berry bush on the way to your 3 pm lecture or strip some bark off a nice young birch tree. Whatever fits your fancy!


You have to admit: chewing cud is way better than that weird pink stuff you guys chomp on. I mean, why waste energy working your jaw if you don’t get to eat anything? Who are the real animals, here?

Dear Deeridre,

I’m a senior this year and I’ve never really done anything noteworthy. I’ve been here 3 years and it still doesn’t feel like anyone knows who I am. People keep asking me if I was abroad last year (I wasn’t) because they swear they haven’t seen me before. They don’t remember my name, even if we’re the same major and have had 7 classes together. How do I leave my mark on this place before I go and get others to notice me?

Invisible almost-alum

Dear Invisible,

Establishing your presence is crucial, and we deer have creative ways of leaving our mark on the world. My male counterpoints mark their territory by rubbing their head and antlers on trees, leaving large gashes in the bark. It’s practical because it keeps the antlers sharp for battle and reaches those tough itchy spots behind the ears, but it also leaves signature marks that clearly say ‘Dearyck was here.’ I believe your equivalent is called ‘graffiti?’ We ladies like to be a little more subtle, so we use our pheromones in our saliva and urine to send messages about where we are and what we’re up to. I can confidently say I’ve licked and or peed on every tree, shrub or patch of grass from the town water tower to the woods behind Old Kenyon. If you do that, people will definitely take notice. You’re welcome in advance!


Selfie, LOL! (Whatever that means.) Okay, Deeridre signing off.

Sarah’s note: Yes. So that probably wasn’t particularly helpful, but at least it was entertaining… right? If you have animal questions, send them my way, but best leave the human stuff with actual counselors.




Share your thoughts on this post.

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: