Unfortunately the mission has been called off. They got the guy with the old exploding goat trick. I could’ve used the extra cash.


In the late sixties Canadian Geese were rare enough in Minnesota that one day around this time of year when there was still snow on the ground and I saw a small flock of them land in Lyman Lakes from the printmaking studio at Carleton, I ran to the back door and tried to sneak as close as possible to get a good look at them. They were wild and spooky and took off when I was still 20 yards away. I was utterly enthralled my the magnificent beauty of these giant graceful birds as they lifted from the lake, wings whisting, cheerfully honking. Today in this part of Minnesota you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a goose. They are the worst of vermin. Every putting green on every golf course is covered with goose shit. Can you imagine having to clear fifteen thumb sized green plugs of bird crap from the path of your putt? It’s virually everywhere that’s anywhere near water. And of course in Minnesota you’re always pretty close to water.
The Lake of the Isles, one of the gems of our urban chain of lakes, is particularly badly infested. I think that’s because the hot shot lawyer from Kenwood that used to drink at my bar got some goslings and put them in a chicken wire compound on one of the islands to protect them from foxes and got a flock started there. They come back to the same place to breed and twenty years later we had a huge flock. They were going to round them up during molting season with nets, and feed them to the homeless, but the animal rights folks stepped in. So they just netted them and hauled them out to North Dakota or some other desolate wasteland. They came back in about two days. You can see them flying around town all year long, many don’t even bother to migrate, there’s plenty of open water to be found. They once tried to find out where the ones that did migrate went. Rochester. Ninety miles south, where an power plant keeps a large area of water open all year. I suppose they were just getting their annual checkups at the Mayo clinic along with the movie stars and royalty.
Leo Kottke the great finger picking guitarist claims that his voice sounds like goose farts on a muggy day. I don’t know about that but I think the sound of their voices and wings and the sight of them skimming the tree tops on a foggy day as they land in the cemetary for dinner is still kind of exciting but for the most part these days its “just another fucking goose.”

15 thoughts on “

  1. The geese weren’t coming to Minnesota in the late sixties because they knew all the good drugs were in California and New York.  What this all tells me is, it’s time I visited Minnesota.  The geese are clearly onto something.

    You know they’re revolutionaries, right, Bob?  The way they shit all over the bourgeois golf courses . . .

  2. You obviously weren’t on the Carleton campus in ’68.
    Oh, wait, you weren’t even born yet!
    And now you have me thinking….since I saw them at Carleton in the late sixties….IT’S WELLSTONE’S FAULT!

  3. Oddly enough, we’ve been whining about the geese invasion here in northern Illinois too. It’s not quite as bad here on the golf courses (and greens) as you describe, but I’ll make a visual inspection personally today and report back to you.

  4. canada geese are the new jersey state bug.  only ours don’t need water, they just need grass.  like the expansive green lawns of the manufacturing and office parks.  they like those.  and of course the golf courses, but you know what, the only people around here who use those are the elderly schmuck-o-las that vote down our school budget but demand to use the facilities for whatever it is old people do, like pissing themselves and comparing bridgework, so as far as i’m concerned, shit on the golf courses all you want.

    a goose chased me in the parking lot not two hours ago.  the end.

  5. Sounds like rache would preserve the geese and feed the old folks to the homeless. Don’t get me wrong folks….I’m not a golfer. I am however a gaffer.

  6. Picturing…the spouting off….you kooks are corrupting my sweet little soul here…

    The “Garden” state is rife with goddamn geese. Add to that all the ducks that chill out at teh holding ponds, and that all makes for one really tricky watch-where-you-walk routine.

  7. “Can’t swing a dead cat” is probably the worst and best way to start a sentence I’ve ever heard.  I’m telling you now that I WILL use that sometime.  Either you’re extremely creative and sick, or I’m just too young a whipper snapper and haven’t heard that expression before. 

    -the amazing spidermatt

  8. He didn’t actually start the sentence with “Can’t swing a dead cat.” Still it’s a great phrase, well worthy of expanded use.

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