What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gosling; Rarely

wrong Gosling...

“the Man that will make such an execrable Pun as that in my Company, will pick my Pocket”
–John Dennis according to an epistle written by Benjamin Victor in 1722

2 a.m. came with the caterwauling of two geese. I’m guessing the noise was a result of a fight they were having with a Bremerton raccoon. The prize for said was their eggs. I’m certain they lost, the geese. This is the nature of a Bremerton raccoon, they are not long on loss. They fight pit-bulls and Rottweilers for trash-can scrap lunch, in fenced yards, like a backyard cage-match. And they win. And this morning, a Sunday morning, we are deep into spring. Being on the business-end of Memorial Day weekend, I imagine that this time of year marks the salad days for the Bremerton raccoon.

Brief Aside: I’m not comfortable with the spelling of the word: raccoon. And I have no idea how to spell: brief, without the crutch of spell-check. I didn’t realize this until the raccoon became an integral character in this story. I am 43 fucking years old. My Vest Pocket Dictionary, prepared by the folks at Webster, is of little help. It does contain the word: rabid which is not ironic but it does strike me as counter-intuitive for reasons of comedy. Brief-adjacent, let’s move on.

The caterwauling was desperate but also a bit resolved to the idea that the geese were on the losing end of a battle for the survival of their line. They only get one shot a year. And they generally nest in the same spot every year. They’re territorial that way. And the blackberry bushes along the shore of The Port Washington Narrows are not easily protected from hungry raccoons. The geese lose this fight more often than not.

Maybe these are all clues to the ignorance of anthropomorphizing the geese and their actions, or lack thereof. But it must feel terrible to be so helpless in protecting one’s young. I would be terrified.
And isn’t all great parenting predicated, nay, motivated by fear? No? Okay…

When I was young, I can’t pinpoint the age exactly, but I remember the place, I was abused by a caretaker. Using the term caretaker in this context is both ironic and counter-intuitive. I’m aware.

Aside: I’ve tried to write about this abuse before. Several times. This is the point where I always lock up. I have countless unfinished drafts of this story. They all conclude with the previous paragraph…

…26 minutes pass as I watch the cursor blink at me disapprovingly…my stomach hurts.

The abuse wasn’t at the hands of my parents nor were they to blame. But when the events came to light and the dust had settled, it felt like I was being blamed. If not blamed per-se, I was never assured by my folks that it was not my fault. My entire life I’ve owned a portion of the responsibility for that violation. I still hoard some of it…jealously…

But this morning, in the cries of two roughly evolved dinosaurs, I heard the fear of my parents. The fear that I possess as a parent. The anxiety that these things happen, that some things can only be prevented in hind-sight with a DeLorean. I heard the cries of generations as they digest the horror that some predators cannot be stopped, that some bells cannot be unrung, and some eggs cannot be uncracked. Indeed, in a cruel world where: “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet” is a platitude, the cries of the geese were probably an annoyance to my neighbors as they were trying to convalesce from drinking heroic amounts of alcohol in celebration of remembering. But for me it was a moment of Zen. I was also recovering. My convalescing is quicker as I drink like a hero every day. A simple hangover was no match for my instant of clarity.

I am not protecting my kids reliably…

That was 2 a.m., it is now 5a.m. and the sun is up in earnest and people are moving. And I am tired. The kind of tired that sleep is powerless to remedy. I’m tired of struggle of survival of caretakers and geese and raccoons and eggs and omelets and kids and parents and cruelty and platitude. My fear is that rest is countless miles from where I sit. Miles not counted by my own weariness but by the blood and sweat that life requires of me, of us all. We got quotas to fill, kid…

But: for now…I’ll try…

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Consider the Birds of the Air…

Trees?  Who needs trees?

Trees? Who needs trees?

“Consider the daffodil.  And while you’re doing that, I’ll be over here, looking through your stuff.” –Jack Handy

I live in a city, name of: Bremerton.  It’s more like a large town and it is about an hour’s ferry ride out of Seattle, Washington.  It is only a city in the most technical way.  It’s built in a grid pattern and we have a police department, and a fire department.  It is called the Bremerton Fire Department.  Its initials are BFD which are painted on the back of the fire engines.  I guess no one is in charge of checking these things, but it doesn’t inspire confidence.  Anyhow, in spite of its smallness, my town has the tendency to be very busy.  I live on one of the busier streets.  My street is so active that if I wake up in the night and it is quiet outside…no car noise…I can guess confidently about the time of morning it is…dead quiet means 2a/m to 4a/m.  I woke up the other morning it was dark and quiet, clearly later than 2 a/m.  Then I noticed a single bird chirping, so daylight was coming sooner rather than later.  I guessed it for about 4a/m.  The thought occurred to me that what I was hearing was the early bird…you know the one about which your boss or dad always told you. 

I started thinking about this industrious bird out there all by himself eating all those worms.  Then I thought: What a stupid little bird, if only he kept his mouth shut he could eat all the worms that he wanted.  He could just feed on worms while all of the other birds slept lazily.  Why was he drawing so much attention to himself?  I imagined what would happen to a bird who ate worms silently and greedily.  His slight body slowly turning into Jabba the Hut with wings…or if not Jabba per-se, another member of the Hut crime-family.  I can’t imagine their body types are too dissimilar.  I guess this type of bird behavior would lead to another platitude.  “The mid-morning raccoon gets the fat bird.”

The adage: “The early bird gets the worm.” is one that was born of a need to motivate workers whose productivity didn’t satisfy their superiors.  Or, if it wasn’t born of that need, it quickly was disfigured into such.  It carries with it the weight of competition.  It’s peer-pressure…a begging of the question: “What have you done for me lately?”.  The only thing about which a boss truly cares.  Leastwise the good prolific bosses whose bosses inquiries are also thinly veiled.  What indeed.  “Consider the birds of the air”, he said to his boss on his last day of work…

The song-bird in my yard had no fear of competition.  It was not worrying about what other birds might come and discover the fruits of his diligence.  Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of competition in the animal kingdom.  I’m sure that this bird knew, on some level, that more birds equal less worms per bird.  What struck me that morning was his lack of worry.  He was just eating and singing.  He was not committed to either to the point where he could be robbed of the joy he found in both.

I really have no envy of birds, they posses very few attributes that I would find useful.  It was surprising to me that flight, the characteristic I’ve envied most about birds as long as I can remember, became the second most attractive aspect of the bird.  At least it was in the moment I shared with that bird in my yard.  The connection that we shared that morning was so intimate that I nearly shed a tear when I shot it.  It was too early and I needed sleep…sleep deprivation really tends to cut into my productivity…at least that’s what my boss says his boss says…