Goodbye and Good Riddance, Geese

Saranac Lake had a geese problem, but, thanks to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Saranac Lake doesnt have a geese problem anymore. About a month ago, the DEC rounded up the mischievous waterfowl and took them far away where, exactly, I cant say, because I didnt feel like calling anybody official to ask. The story goes that the DEC merely relocated the birds, but I get the feeling that maybe they were blindfolded, driven to a secluded clearing at the end of a long dirt road, and shot. Or decapitated. Or shot and decapitated. Of course, thats all wild speculation. I dont mean to suggest that state employees ordered or participated in the mass murder of a majestic band of geese and then orchestrated an elaborate cover up to keep the public in the dark about it. Im sure nobody at the DEC would dream of slaughtering geese, no matter how many pounds of bacteria-ridden fecal matter those geese might have filled our parks with, and no matter how many children they might have tried to eat. But if, hypothetically, any geese did lose their heads, I would suggest that it might be a good idea hypothetically speaking, of course to impale a few of said heads on stakes and, hypothetically, place those stakes around local parks. You know just to get the message across to any other birds that might, hypothetically, be thinking about treating Saranac Lake as their personal toilet. In any case, the geese havent come back, and thats all that counts, because everybody hated them. They had all but taken over Riverside Park and the public beach on Lake Colby, and theyd developed a habit of begging for handouts from picnickers. That was obnoxious enough, but the big problem (other than their taste for delicious human flesh) was as I hinted above, and as everyone probably already knows anyway that they defecated nonstop. And goose feces bears little resemblance to the liquid white splatters characteristic of most bird dung. Goose feces is more or less a smaller version of dog feces and these geese produced the stuff at a rate of what seemed like several tons a week. You couldnt take two steps in goose territory without putting a foot down in their droppings, bellowing profanities, and chasing down the nearest flock in the hopes of wringing some skinny, down-covered necks. The majority of the geese hatred focused on the fact that the birds had rendered Riverside Park unusable, and thats cool, but I also think its worth hating them for the mess they made at Lake Colby. I should admit that I have a personal stake here. As a lifeguard at Lake Colbys beach, I spent untold hours at the end of last summer and the beginning of this summer scooping goose poo. My coworkers and I also wasted entirely too much energy trying to shoo the oversized pests away by running at them while flailing our arms and shouting nonsense. The geese would scatter briefly, but they always came back within twenty minutes or so, and I had the unsettling sense that, eventually, they would decide enough was enough, swarm us, and eat us alive. The geese never did attack they just honked at us from a safe distance but the threat would have been enough to make me long for their removal even if they hadnt littered every inch of my workplace with their stinky calling cards. But now that theyre gone, I almost miss them. In fact, I wouldnt mind seeing their precious, glassy-eyed faces one more time as long as those faces were on severed heads, of course, and as long as those severed heads were impaled on large wooden stakes. Dan Leonidas makes shallow observations. He can be reached at dpleonidas@yahoo.com or myspace.com/lastminuteconcerns.

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