Who among us didn’t spend at least five to seven seconds this summer — between Tinder swipes and stalking older but still sexy high school French teachers online — marvelling at the gift nature bestowed upon us, a.k.a. the “Downtown Deer,” when shaky iPhone videos captured it wandering the streets of Vancouver like, well, a lost deer? Who among us didn’t comment on said shaky videos on Facebook with what, at the time, were probably thought to be clever bon mots such as “Oh deer” or “Deer me”? And who among didn’t briefly let a little light into their bitter hearts and permit themselves to think for a second that everything was good and right in this cruel, cruel world?
Well, that flickering light was snuffed out for us this week upon learning that Downtown Deer, who we took to nicknaming Deerdra, had been hit by a car on the Stanley Park Causeway and died.
Could anything be more heartbreaking, notwithstanding photos of drowned refugee children and about a thousand other daily tragedies that don’t capture our short attention spans as we surf the Internet for any reason to express indignation, approval or emotionally manipulated positivity?
We think not.
Which is why we’re going to take this moment to reflect upon Downtown Deer and what it meant to us.
Downtown Deer was just a deer. Not a great deer, not a wicked deer. It did not end homelessness or alleviate the burden of Vancouver’s soaring real estate prices. It did not help the Canucks win a Stanley Cup and it most definitely did not convince Canadian boy band B4-4 to reunite, despite our tireless letter-writing campaign over the past five years.
But Downtown Deer did provide us with a distraction, however briefly, from the daily drudgery of life. It gave us something to talk about with our co-workers besides “Hey, let me tell you about my Crossfit workout” or “Does this look contagious?” It gave us, in a word, hope. And for that we thank you Downtown Deer. We will probably forget about you in a few weeks, and honestly we would have been way more stoked if there had been an East Broadway Badger video, but still. You were a good time. RIP.