Monday, August 27, 2012

Geese and Seagulls

Geese, specifically Canada Geese (that big fella on the left), and seagulls, (that rather annoyed looking dude on the right). I see them all the time.

Living in New England I enjoy watching the great Vs of geese winging across the late summer and autumn skies. If they're low enough, you can hear their wings creaking. No, really, their wings make a creaking sound, kind of like my knees do early in the morning as I hobble out of bed.

If you get me away from salt water for any length of time, I get all melancholy. But if I hear the call of a gull, it perks me up and makes me think of the sea. No matter how far away it might be.

Perhaps you're thinking that if you can see or hear a gull, then the ocean must not be too far away. Right?

Actually you'd be wrong. Going to college in Ft Collins, Colorado, one of the first things I noticed was seagulls. Indeed, there was a rather large colony of gulls in the area. A local told me that they'd migrated from the Great Salt Lake in Utah, following (and devouring) a great swarm of locusts. About a century ago.

Don't know if it's true or not. Don't much care. It's a nice story.

So why (you may wonder) is the Old AF Sarge going on about aquatic fowl today? The answer to that one is easy.

Where I work is just a hop, skip and a jump from Narragansett Bay. So there tend to be a lot of seagulls who like to hang out in our parking lot. They particularly like to perch atop the light poles. Also atop some of the larger SUVs.

Also there are lots of Canada Geese in our neck of the woods. My company has a rather expansive lawn surrounding the buildings. Which the geese like to wander about on, consuming whatever it is that geese consume while upon terra firma.

Now guess what we see a lot of in our parking lot?

WARNING - If you have a weak stomach, look away dear reader. Oh lordy, look away!

We see this
and this

Disgusting isn't it?

But in our parking lot, imagine the above multiplied a thousand-fold!

Fortunately it is a very large parking lot. But, one needs to be mindful of where one places one's feet while navigating from the car to the building entrance. The asphalt is no place for the unwary.

You know those war movies where the patrol is making their way across a field, and suddenly there is a "click"? Everyone freezes, someone has stepped on a mine.

Well today, returning from lunch, I dismounted my vehicle and was warily making my way across the mine field parking lot. Something moved in my peripheral vision, like most would do I glanced in that direction. Just as I did, I heard a "squoooosh".

My right heel was no longer upon solid asphalt. There was something "smooshy" underneath my shoe. And like those soldiers in the mine field, I froze. Not because any movement on my part would cause an explosive device to discharge underneath me. No, I froze with the following thought in my head, "You have got to be sh!tting me!" (Literally the case, so to speak...)

Yes, there under my right heel was a patch of fresh goose dung. In all it's green and disgusting glory. When I got up the nerve to move my foot away from it, there was my heel print, embedded in the squashed pile of goose crap.

Not wanting to, but needing to. I looked at the underside of my shoe. Yes, indeed, more goose crap. Slowly I moved to the nearest curb, to scrape off the bulk of the goose poop.

Good, the biggest part of the mess is gone. But there's still some of it adhering to the tread.

At that point I remembered an old trick our first cat would use when he had a bad case of, shall we say, the Hershey squirts. Montezuma's revenge. You know, diarrhea. He would drag his soiled butt across the grass. Having no access to toilet paper, and even if he did, he (like all cats) lacked opposable thumbs. Apparently dragging his soiled behind across the lawn worked well for him.

So I headed for a clear patch of lawn (that is a patch sans goose crap) and rubbed the remainder of the dung off of my shoe. Success! No goose poop to be seen upon my footwear!

I passed the true test of shoe cleanliness when I returned home to the family estate this evening. I entered my abode somewhat cautiously, awaiting my two cats to come rushing to the door to say "Hi Dad! Where is Our Food?"

Tentatively I pushed my right foot forward, expecting to see two very intrigued cat noses inspecting my shoe. They sniffed it and then looked at me with a "So what? Where's our supper?"

Now most cats of my acquaintance love the smell of dirty footwear. Not a wink, not a flehmen response did I see. Hunh? Shoes passed the cat scan. I must have got it all. Sweet.

All in all, this really sums up Mondays for me.

Very often a crappy day.

(I know. That was a crappy story. Some day I'll tell you the tail of the bat crapping on my hat, in the wee hours of the night. Yes, I'm full of crap stories.)


  1. So you often see seagulls hanging around your parking lot huh? Not flying I noted, but hanging around. This reminds me of something from my flying days. It's a bit off topic, but I don't think you'll mind.

    Each Airwing has one or two LSOs that are part of the Airwing staff, AKA CAG Paddles. CAG Landing Signal Officers (LSOs) aren't squadron members, but they are on flight status and can fly with the squadrons on board to keep up their flight time, flight pay, and skills. One paddles known as Monkeybutt, was an S-3B Viking guy by trade and would be on our flight schedule pretty regularly. As the senior CAG LSO though, I guess was busy and often had to be scratched from the flight schedule. This was usually not a big deal since you could get another pilot in the squadron to take his place pretty easily. One time I was the SDO or squadron duty officer and had to scratch him. This was done in red ink on the dry erase board behind the SDO desk. The CO came in noticed Monkeybutt had been cut and asked why. I told him whatever excuse I was given and he just shook his head and said "That guy is such a seagull." I asked what that meant and the CO just said in a matter of fact kind of way, "You gotta throw rocks at 'em to get 'em to fly."

    1. Love that bit about Monkeybutt. Big Time told me about a guy in his squadron they called "Pidgeon". Same story, you had to throw rocks at the dude to get him to fly. (Gave Big Time fits at the time as he was the Scheduling Officer for 136.)

  2. We had a flock o' geese on my corporate campus in suburban Dee-troit, so I know from whence you speak. The crap problem got SO bad that the Powers That Be got a hold of the appropriate Michigan State Gub'mint Agency (Wildlife? DoE? Who knows?) and arranged to have the geese rounded up and deported. And THAT was one of the funniest things I have EVER seen: a goose round-up. A bunch o' full-grown men chasing geese all over God's Green Earth is much more funny than you can possibly imagine.

    But the round-up was successful... no more goose crap.

    1. I would have paid good money to see THAT show!


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