OPINION — Once again it’s time for our annual Try Not To Be A Total Gooberhead column, which is a public service we offer every few years or so, to the public, as a service. This service is offered as entertainment to those of you who happen to not be gooberheads, personally. It’s offered as advice for you gooberheads, in an effort to enrich your lives, and maybe keep you from becoming a statistic, if you’re not already. And if you’re wondering if you are, personally, a gooberhead, you probably are.
A couple of weeks ago a video began to make the rounds on social media, which are defined as ‘electronic interaction sites for unsocial people.’ The video showed a family enjoying nature, walking along a boardwalk in Yellowstone National Park, which is a national park named Yellowstone. The video included one of the many bison that inhabit the park for the enjoyment of its visitors. The buffalo was grazing placidly about ten yards from the walkway when suddenly, without warning, it charged the family, who probably, at that point, realized they were entirely too close to the animal. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell what people are thinking when they’re fleeing in terror from a wild, irritated, 2,500 pound creature with huge horns and no fear of humans.
The parents ran one way and their nine-year-old daughter ran the other. The bull bison chose to go after the girl, and gave her a standard, regulation bison head butt that sent her flying. Luckily it went on and ignored her after that, and she was treated and released from Old Faithful Clinic later that day. So she was amazingly lucky, and will now have a great story to tell her grandchildren, provided her parents have learned a lesson from the encounter and don’t get her killed somehow.
That question is debatable, however. Most of the hoopla about the incident surrounds the parents’ quick thinking and lightning fast reflexes as they abandoned their child in the face of immediate danger, and ran for their lives. And while the criticism is justified, you also have to admit that, at that point, there was little they could have done for the kid. The time for them to have ‘done something’ was a little past, and they blew it.
Every year several people are damaged to one degree or another by a bison in Yellowstone, and it always happens because they don’t realize the animals are wild, or something. They want selfies, and they get too close, and nature takes its course. Unfortunately the course nature takes usually involves a horn through the gluteus maximus.
This is a tragic and totally avoidable occurrence, and if you can’t keep from being a gooberhead, it might be best to avoid Yellowstone altogether. And while we’re at it, go ahead and stay away from Bastrop, too.
Not that Bastrop has bison roaming its streets, but what they have is arguably much worse. According to a story sent in by astute reader Tobe Hubbard, Bastrop was, until recently, overrun with wild feral chickens. OK, you’d lose the argument, but still, feral chickens are nothing to sneeze at. Not to mention the fact that Feral Chickens would make a pretty decent name for a really bad rock band.
Chickens have roamed freely in Bastrop for over 100 years, but they weren’t really a problem until the city designated a safe zone for them along 500 yards of Farm Street and put up signs that said, ‘Slow: Entering Farm Street Historic Chicken Sanctuary.’ Really. After that the chickens began to proliferate profusely, and also to get on peoples’ nerves. The roosters crowed all the time, and guests at the Pecan Street Inn started to complain, and the owner was forced to refund their money. The flock had grown to almost 300 wild, ungoverned, authority-flaunting cacklers. Something had to be done.
Above: Slow: Entering Farm Street Historic Chicken Sanctuary
So a trapper was hired and efforts to relocate the birds were undertaken. The crusade was not without its moments. A resident reported that he came home one day and found a ‘SWAT team’ in his yard. Police officers, city employees, and some residents were chasing chickens. After an intense, and no doubt entertaining campaign, all but the 15 most canny and recalcitrant cluckers have been removed. But I’d be wary of those last 15 birds. They’re salty.
And so is Junior, evidently.
Junior (photo at top of this page) is a rooster that lives in Jasper, Arkansas with his owners, Ronny and Dawn Dulle. Jasper Mayor Jan Larson said the city has had several complaints that Junior attacks people for having the audacity to walk down his street. If you can imagine. Or if you can’t. But Ronny says Junior is a good bird, and only attacks those who intimidate him. The Arkansas News Online story posted by Aaron Jeffrey didn’t elaborate on exactly what constitutes rooster intimidation, so we can only speculate. But we won’t. Because quite frankly we would just as soon avoid Jasper, Arkansas altogether. And so should you, if you happen to be the type who intimidates roosters.
And stay out of Yellowstone if you’re a gooberhead who intimidates bison. But if you must visit Yellowstone, swing by Jasper and pick up Junior. And for goodness sake send me the resulting video . . .
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