We all know we're not supposed to do it. But it's just so hard to resist, especially if you have little ones in tow.
We all know we’re not supposed to do it. But it’s just so hard to resist, especially if you have little ones in tow.
It’s easy to pinch off a section of old bread and toss it into the water and watch birds of a feather flock together to nip at free food.
Waterfowl (the stinky goose as the main culprit) love the sight of little ones with a handful of bread butts or Cheez-Its and old ones love to see the cheeky grins of the little ones feeding the birds.
Unfortunately, no one (excepting ornithologists maybe) really likes the aftermath of the birds.
A couple months back, I headed to Grand Glaize Beach in Lake of the Ozarks State Park with my beach towel, my shades and the second Game of Thrones book to get my tan on. Finding a perfectly acceptable place on the beach to spread my towel took a bit of work, as a 3’ by 6’ patch of beach with no rocks, visitors or goose droppings was hard to come by.
But eventually, I settled in, threw on my sunglasses and cracked open my book. After a few minutes of reading about the clashes in Westeros, movement to my right caught my eye.
There they were — the goose brigade, ready to pillage and loot the beach for food.
I tried to get back to my book. Ignore it and it will go away.
But the geese advanced on my ground, like the Lannisters advancing on the Starks. What started as a few geese turned into a dozen or more before they set out on the lake, cruising towards my feet, which were only a few feet from the water’s edge.
As if they were sailing across the Narrow Sea, the geese landed on the beach, ready for battle.
I was under siege and nervous about it, too. I eyed the fowl suspiciously as they took a couple more steps closer to my location. One bird ruffled his feathers and in a show of bravado, spread his wings. I jumped and pulled my feet back.
The geese were winning. I slowly gathered up my towel and bookmarked my place. As their numbers grew on the beach, I had to surrender my city (the beach) to the invaders.
I grumbled about my lot as I trudged back to my car, the day ruined by a pack of geese, but I couldn’t help but think that humans had some cause in my beach day cut short.
Over the course of time, humans gave and gave to the geese. Now they expect it, without question. They aren’t afraid of humans, who are the dominant species. Well, not really in my case on that day. They don’t need to work to food. They don’t need to work for anything.
Does that ring a bell?
Unfortunately, my day at the beach is not just a one-time story, but an allegory for society at large.
The goose problem at the lake is reminiscent of another, more serious problem: abuse of social welfare.
Maybe I’m making a leap here in my comparisons.
But in the end, we’ve created a dependent population that takes and takes without any sort of basis in cause and effect, action and consequence.
Now, we have to deal with the mess and a metaphorical bird population believing they are entitled to free handouts.
The solution seems obvious to me, handouts should only be given to those who have a demonstrable need for them.
Then we’ll have fewer geese — real or not — and I can read at the beach in peace.