Sunday, January 22, 2012

If only my goose was cooked

“Please don’t attack me.  I can’t even run,” I said as I limped toward the gaggle of geese that stood blocking and fertilizing the path to my car.

The goose on the outside of the circle sized me up, sensed that I was not made of cracked corn, and went back to pecking invisible goodies off the sidewalk.  

I crept around the circle, holding my laptop bag like a riot shield, anticipating an attack at any moment.  The movie “Godzilla” might have featured a comparable scene of Matthew Broderick gingerly stepping amongst hatching radioactive-mutant-dinosaur eggs in the bowels of Madison Square Garden, but I can’t be too sure because my brain pushed most of its Godzilla memories off the shelf long ago to make room for new Dorito flavors.  I recalled that scene with perfect clarity until Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch came along and then poof!  Gone.

The longtime reader(s) of this column might recall that in the spring of 2010, I witnessed a colleague get assaulted in our office parking lot by a goose.  Out of nowhere, the goose started hissing and flapping its wings at the guy, who was minding his own business a solid 50 feet away from the avian thug.  The goose took off, turning itself into a low-flying missile that detonated right into the poor guy’s upraised duffel bag.  If he hadn’t had that bag and some quick reflexes, that guy might well have found himself covered in various goose bumps and lacerations.

Ever since that day, I’ve regarded the creatures with a good bit more deference.  Besides keeping an eye out for them in our parking lot, I also look for them on menus wherever possible.  Invariably, this leads to disappointment, since hardly any restaurants offer entrees of the one animal I wouldn’t feel guilty eating.  Cows and pigs just seem so nice, plus I’ve never seen them attack anyone outside of an office building.
I’d have no hesitation chomping into a nice McGoose Deluxe, though.  The McGoose: Honk if you’re lovin’ it.  The tagline writes itself.

I winced as I inched past the gaggle, my tendonitis keeping me from sprinting the final fifty yards.  Incidentally, did you know that a “gaggle” refers to a group of geese on the ground, while a “skein” is the appropriate term once they’re in flight?  Whether you choose to remember this, or that Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ Doritos exist, is entirely up to your brain.

The assault I’d witnessed happened in the spring, when geese are more likely to aggressively defend their nesting territory.  The fact that I was easing past a large group of these feathered ruffians in mid-January did little to assuage my fear.  Just two weeks earlier, as we said goodbye to my parents at the end of our holiday visit, I saw something strange and frightening beside their driveway, something that erased the world order as I’d previously understood it.

There, in the flower bed, was a small green shoot poking its head out of the ground.  Then I saw the whole flower bed was full of them, poking up everywhere.  Daffodils should not be sprouting in southeast Pennsylvania on New Year’s Day.  Normally, it’s a happy event to see the year’s first daffodils, but this time, they had more the effect of zombie hands reaching out of the earth.

They were the Annuals of the Apocalypse.  Or Perennials, whichever one daffodils are.  When they were deciding what to call flowers that bloom once versus flowers that bloom every year, why did they pick words that mean pretty much the exact same thing?  Just remember: Annual events happen every year, which is just like what annual flowers do, except the opposite of that.  See?  Easy.

In any event, I tiptoed through the minefield and made it to the car unscathed.  The event made me wonder if we should find better homes for geese than our parking lots and our Wawa signs, though.  Like under our deli counters.

You can throw Mike Todd some cracked corn at


  1. Well, gosh, glad you did not get goosed on your trek to your car. I can't say that won't happen again, especially if you accidently backed over one, that did not move out your way, while in reverse.

  2. Thanks! Did you know that it's possible to write an entire column about NOT getting attacked by a goose? If I don't get mauled by a bear before next week, boom, there's another one.