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Hubby and Young Son Number Two returned from their hunting trip today.  They brought a deer back with them.  It was shot by our brother-in-law, who was hunting with them, but he let Hubby tag it.

Hubby was in the thick of butchering the deer when I got home from work.  He’d already done quite a bit of the processing, so his back was hurting from holding the same position.  I agreed to help with the meat carving, even though I’m nowhere near as good as Hubby.  He says that he’s not very good at it either.

If you’ve never butchered a deer, let me tell you, it requires a lot of skill to free decent cuts of meat from the fat, sinew, tenons and, worst of all, the silver skin.  This latter substance is a thin, slippery, somewhat tough film that covers all the meat.  When it’s released from the meat, it tends to come off in spider-webby strings.

This all got me to thinking about the word “butcher.”  Why is it we use this word to mean someone indiscriminately slashing away, typically at another human being?  In actuality, it takes a huge amount of skill to properly butcher meat.  A true butcher has to know all the different cuts of meat and how to properly cleave them off of a carcass, working around the bones, joints, and the aforementioned fat, sinew, tenons, and silver skin.  Given this, perhaps we should reserve the term “butcher” for those who show the requisite skill and use “maniac” for the indiscriminate slashers.

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