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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Recapitating A Goose


Our education system is lacking in some key areas. This essay will address only one such shortcoming --mainly because another educational shortcoming is we don't know what the rest of them are-- but I trust it will suffice to illustrate the problem.  I trust also it will demonstrate something positive about the enigma of ignorance by drawing upon my own vast reserve of it.

Among the most important questions an American can ask is, "What should I do when my goose's head falls off?" 

The first step toward resolution is, don't panic. Think back on lessons in basic ornithology. Unlike most birds, geese are not hatched from eggs, nor do they have articulated skeletons. They begin life as wads of rebar (short for reinforcing bar, used in masonry structures), around which concrete is cast.  One end of the rebar is drawn up and forward to support a neck and, for maybe 20 years, a head.

What with rain, drought, irrigation, worry, etc., heads tend to crack and crumble, then fall off.  Look in the mirror;  watch for the signs.  We're not so different from other animals --like geese.  However, much can be done. First step is to find up any pieces in the dirt that can still suggest a cranial contour --it's what brain surgeons do, I think. 


Second step, again like brain surgery, involves mixing stucco patch with Elmer's Glue. I do this on a palette with a knife because there's more chopping than stirring. Get everything good and stuck together, have a beer, then go back with the palette of gritty putty and build a beak.
Let the beak dry, smooth it with sandpaper, then remember when to stop --some folks sand things down to a fraction of their original size, a strange and regrettable enthusiasm. Then wait, go live happily and thoughtlessly a few days until everything dries.  Afterwards, decide whether you want to seal the patch with goose details --and no, you won't capture the mischief in their beautiful eyes, as I had to admit to myself-- or reintegrate the repairs with color of concrete. I got into the pumphouse and found a 30-year-old can of gray primer.
Did the trick. 


35 comments:

  1. Nice job. I can think of a few politicians who could use stucco patch cranial reconstruction. (Too obvious? Was I even the first one to make that joke?)

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    1. You're my 1st responder, Squid. I've always thought Mrs. Clinton has a pretty face but her GOP opponent seems to have been thrown together at random --not his fault. I could help with stucco, but we're supposed to look past appearances.

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    2. "thrown together at random." love it.

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    3. I wasn't even thinking in terms of appearances, more internal cranial composition. Stucco patch could only be an improvement for some.

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    4. On both sides of the election, there have been empathetic lapses --her senate Iraq vote, 2002 vs. his "build a wall"-- consistent with iron deficiency. I wouldn't rule out a shortage of rebar.

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  2. When my own head crashes to the ground (which feels imminent) I do hope that someone with your care and skills puts me back together again. Though it may take all of the King's horses and all of his men.

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    1. No worries. In addition to career-gardener and retiree, I hold the rank of chief goose repairman in the King's Cavalry.

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  3. I was going to say you have given it a new lease of life but after taking a good gander at it, realised it never lived in the first place. Do you see what I did there?

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    1. I did, John, and enjoyed it very much; worthy of a gaggle --I mean giggle.

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  4. What a silly goose to lose his head. However it has been done before and will happen again (too often). Now that we know that there is an expert in our midst, heads will no longer roll. Please though, Geo, when mine becomes detached, add a color or two. I prefer blue and yellow.

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    1. I have made note of your color preferences but must confess I am only qualified to replace concrete heads.

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  5. I laughed my way through this, quite out loud ... very funny stuff here ... thanks for some much needed morning laughter.

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  6. I've been following your pre-election period on TV, and I hope that Hillary can be the next. because if she cannot, there won't be much of the world left, and also, no geese.

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    1. Quite true, Ana. Although I did not always agree with Mrs. Clinton's voting record in the senate, I believe she will preserve government by discussion.

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  7. And while the concrete dries, I recommend to recite a little bit of dear old Rudyard K., Geo.: "“If you can keep your head when all about you/ Are losing theirs and blaming it on you," - and if you know the lines by heart - and the poem is quite long - "If you can fill the unforgiving minute/ With sixty seconds' worth of distance run," then - your goose will be whole again. :-)

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    1. "IF" is a poem I admired in childhood because it was optimistic, and set out some useful character guidelines. Kipling knew the importance of cooler heads prevailing.

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  8. I just knew you were going to say that the first step was to not run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Anyway your recapitated goose looks like a new goose.

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    1. Thanks Emma. It's especially hard for a concrete goose to express itself when it needs anything. I think this one feels better now.

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  9. Excellent job! Your artistic talent clearly includes statuary restoration as well as Geodoodling. I hope your back is recovering as quickly as the goose did.

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    1. Most kind. Admittedly, carrying the concrete goose reminded me --for some days afterward-- why I don't make a habit of it.

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  10. Heh. Good one, Geo. Advise you want, advise you get:

    First, hire the best person down there who can channel.....you know, communicate with the dearly departed. Then, through him/her, contact Robert Silverberg. Ask him about his books, "Up the Line"
    Restitution, as you are calling it, with the goose who might have been foie gras, is filled with uncertainties, unintended consequences, what might have happened with the butterfly flapping it's wings two seconds later in China, etc.
    The stories of Silverberg are good reading, if not always cheerful, or uplifting. But what is, really in our life, dependably, every moment?
    Also, do you know there are places out there that are claiming they are making foie gras in a humane fashion? Just how, I wonder. Now, I confess to a certain weakness to foie gras, a large one, sitting under the tower, with a bottle of new beaujolais noveau, November '71 with a slice of the foie gras, maybe a fresh chevre, and a fresh baguette.
    Man, what would be better.....those years, '71, when the world was fresh and young, and remember the future?? the jet packs? I was effing sold.

    Montana's pretty nice today, high of 68, down to the 40's tonight. Good sleeping.

    Cheers, Geo
    Mike

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    1. Silverberg was certainly one of my favorites in the '60s and '70s but my taste for speculative fiction receded somewhat, replaced by other genres --now, mostly humor and non-fiction. But he is still well-represented in my paperback shelves. The kids have picked through them over the years too. As for producing foie gras humanely, I'm skeptical. However, my concrete goose doesn't have any liver and wouldn't respond well to force-feeding. Glad you're having pleasant weather; wish we were! Ah, breeze just came up; maybe there's hope.

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  11. You did a marvelous job in restoring the goose. Glad that is from such a resilient line. But I guess what I am most amazed by is a 30 year old can of gray primer. The mind boggles!

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    1. Surprised me too, Tom. It was a can left from the kids' bicycle days, when we'd buy old bikes from the salvage yard and refurbish them. I can only attribute its longevity to our custom of spraying a bit upside down so the propellant would clear the nozzle before replacing the can on the paint shelf.

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  12. Actually, living in arid West Texas is what cooked my goose. I quickly succumbed to the elements - fading, cracking, peeling, and withering. I would require an enormous amount of stucco patch, sandpaper, and possibly some flesh-colored primer.
    Fortunately, I still have my beak.

    You did a fantastic job of repairing the goose - and you obviously have more patience than I do.

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    1. Thanks, Jon! Recalling your reports from the Lone Star State, I calculate beheading by weather is a matter of constant concern. If I had elected to be a professional recapitator instead of a gardener, that's where I'd practice.

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  13. Most of my decapticated gooses have been from wringing of the bird's neck... I don't think Elmers would work :).

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    1. Having only tested this procedure on a concrete goose, I'm inclined to agree.

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  14. Fun post! You had me smiling from start to end.

    It takes a bit of a romantic to take the time to restore a lawn ornament to its former glory, ya know. You were much more successful than my character Pearl was, and I'm glad you didn't disgrace that poor goose by calling him Elvis and covering him with glitter and pink streamers. :)

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    1. Dudes have their romantic side, especially regarding goose statues --which we refrain from over-decorating into Elvis impersonators because they fool nobody.

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  15. Wow...a great restoration job...and you really got me smiling!
    A thirty-year-old can of primer? How amazing! In our damp climate, it would have been consigned to the bin at least twenty-eight years earlier! lol

    Have a great weekend! :))

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    1. Thanks, Ygraine. I can't account for the longevity of the can of primer --I suspect it just likes it here.

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  16. Oh thank you for such dearly needed laughs!!! And hey, the goose looks better than new. Anne Boleyn could've used you! x

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    1. My pleasure. Recapitation is still in its infancy and not yet retroactive, but someday maybe.

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