Once when my husband came back from the land he said, “Guess what I saw today.”
“A man-eating grouse!”
He was joking about the man-eating part, of course, but he was attacked…by the bird in the pictures on the left. As you can see from the picture of him next to my husband’s shoe, the grouse wasn’t that big…he must have been deranged to do battle with someone so much bigger than himself. My husband could easily have stomped him, but instead he tried to discourage the bird by soaking him with water from a hose. The grouse declared a temporary truce… he went over and sat on a log in the sun until he dried off.
Then he resumed the battle, so my husband got a broom and kept whisking him away whenever he attacked. He finally got the message and never did it again. He did follow my husband around, though, carefully watching him from a safe distance. When my husband went down into our underground well house he could hear the grouse strutting around on the roof, and the best part of the story was when my husband was driving down the road for home one day. He looked in his side mirror and saw the grouse triumphantly chasing our 3/4-ton truck out of “his” territory.
Not An Isolated Incident?
I’ve been thinking of that story a lot lately because of the big political scandal in the United States right now…Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois trying to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich has taken corruption to a new level, but somehow the situation is laughable as well as horrifying. It seems too stupid to be true. He reminds me of the grouse…sometimes you just have to laugh.
My Anti-Role Model
Even though I’m not as aggressive and belligerent as those comic characters, I’m more like them than I would like to admit. When I think of the grouse playing king of the mountain on the roof of the well house I think of the times when I catch myself feeling superior to other people. And when I think of him taking credit for chasing our truck down the hill, I think of the times when I take too much pride in my accomplishments…when I take credit not only for the hard work I put in, but also for my good fortune in being born in the right place at the right time. And who’s to say that my view of the world is that much closer to reality than that of the grouse and Blagojevich? No, it’s fine to do what we can to make the world a better place, but it also pays to lighten up and have a sense of humor. The grouse story reminds me to do that…he’s essentially my anti-role model, a visual image of how I don’t want to behave. And there’s something about identifying with a deranged grouse to keep me from taking myself too seriously.
What About You?
What do you think?