Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the exact wrong end of a goose

The fun part about words is they are the only real means of time travel.  Photos age or people & places in photos age but either way they are markedly dated whereas word are not, not now, not then, and not tomorrow; tense is a magical thing I can believe in (not always stay in).  Beach, who I thought was not getting the hang of Time, actually has it dead on when she asks, “Which today is it?” 

So with words we travel back to a time before I broke my camera, to the age of preschool, and finger painting, back to when a wild goose named Peanut Butter roamed the RB farm biting people in the ass.  Why would we do that to ourselves? That is the whole story, WHY?!

The goose lived with a friend of ours in Francis, a little town sandwiched between other little towns deep in the Wasatch Back.  Winters are winter in Francis.  The goose needed a place to survive the winter.  She was a sweet little hand-tamed Greylag Goose only a summer old so we took her home with us, maybe it was about Thanksgiving time.
She settled in and we liked having her around.  And then she chased someone. Then she bit someone.  Then she chased and bit someone, then lots of ‘some ones’.  Pretty soon she was standing guard between the house and the trampoline waiting for victims.  Her aggressive behavior escalated.  The kids would run full sprint through the snow to the tramp the goose in hot purist.  But no longer satisfied with the chase she proceeded to attack from underneath the tramp while the kids ran around it to get away from her.

I teach my kids that only primates can be mean everything else is technically simply 'aggressive in nature'.  This goose tested me.  I called the owner.  I called a Biologist from the U.  The answer was (I’m right) it is the nature of a lone goose.  She was trying to herd and beat us down in order to gain a flock of her own.

There are 2 ways this story can go 1. An anti-bullying parable (boring & actually I have gained a friend or two by slugging it out).  Or 2. An introspective view about how what starts out as a little bit of Bad you let into your life can build and before you know the Bad is big- like baby talk, or swearing, or nail biting or conjunctions or bad punctuation or run on sentences.
Or even a third way, now that I think about it. 3. Sometimes you can’t see the forest past the biting goose because you are too busy running for your life.
Any which way we lived liked this, prisoners to the tyranny of a lonely goose. 

All winter long I ran between the coop and the house in boots carrying an egg basket in one hand and for protection a broom in the other.   

So in the spring her owner came to take her home.  She walks out onto the deck sweetly calls Peanut Butter to come.  And she does full throttle wings flapping in attack mode.  The owner screams turns to run, the goose latches on biting her through her pants breaking the skin.
“Get rid of her I don’t want her!” she yelps.

Question I ask myself: Why didn’t I think of that?  Why did it never occur to me to say ‘stop, this is working for me.’ Or maybe just 'that damn thing is f-ing scary shoot it.’
Once upon a time 'Wild Goose Chase' meant being led on a pointless hunt- I now call that 'Chasing Chickens'.  The today that it is, a 'Wild Goose Chase' serves as a warning.  It cautions that one is always in danger of being hunted when they lack the innate ability to recognize the time, place, or right to defend; I mean stupid not meek.  Meek would have been wishing it to stop but not having the balls to say so.  Stupid is not knowing it should stop.  I’m never meek but I’m often stupid.  “You mean you can do that, you can just pack up and leave?”  Caution: don’t try this at home, a love story.


We don’t have a goose named Peanut Butter. We a turkey named Herkimer.  When I am running on the canal there is a lone Greylag Goose who paddles around under the underpass.  She looks a lot like a goose I used to know.  What I have learned about myself is that I wouldn’t want to get too close to the edge. For me & those like me, every side of a goose is the wrong side to be on.  So I keep running.    
Scientific Note: Fight or flight is an autonomic evolutionary survival response.  What a Primate chooses to do with it is the determining factor between defensive aggression & flat out meanness. I think that line has as many names (compassion, empathy, sacrifice, or stupidity) as it does shades of greylag (territorial, aggressive, harsh, or lonely). 

I'll leave the bottom line to Peanut Butter, she did always like getting the last word in; think twice before you accept even little 'Bads' into your life they might be waiting around the corner to bite you in the ass.         

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