As God is my Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly

These words were spoken by Les Nessman on the ancient TV show “WKRP in Cincinnatti”. He was running a Thanksgiving radio promotion and released a huge rafter of turkeys out of an airplane, where they plunged to their deaths. It was a funny show, but it belied the truth: turkeys CAN fly. They just suck at it.

As we enter the Thanksgiving season, it’s a perfect time to tell you a story about Easter. It was 1996 and I took my then-GF Griffin camping out on San Juan Island. Easter Sunday broke with warmth and sun; I could sense the welcome glare burning blue through the tent fabric. Griffin was fast asleep, but I was awoken by the sun and by some strange sounds. I had to get up anyway to prepare the ultra-secret Easter basket I had prepared for Griffin, so I quietly slipped on my boots and exited the tent to see what all the clatter was about.

And there, high in the trees, were turkeys! They were gobbling and grunting and being all turkey-like. I was stunned. I walked up the path to the car and prepared the Easter basket.  On my way there, I saw the turkeys still in the trees, and I thought of Les Nessman. Les! You should have thrown them off a crane! They would have been fine!

I snuck back into the tent and snuggled up with Griffin. “Happy Easter, baby! I brought you a basket. And guess what? TURKEYS CAN FLY!”

She was all groggy, but the smell of jelly beans and chocolate bunnies brought her around in no time. We went outside to behold the majesty of nature: turkeys flapping and flying in the trees! Oh, the wonder! The thrill!

As you and yours prepare for Thanksgiving this year, be sure to remember that, as Ben Franklin once said, “I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad immoral character: like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.”

That’s right, America. We should be roasting eagles this year, not turkeys. This noble bird has swagger and pomp. It warbles and clucks all day long, even if no one is listening. It tends to be fat, and has a very small brain. The turkey, therefore, is all-American.

Happy Thankgiving.

This entry was posted in It's All About Me, Science!. Bookmark the permalink.