Sunday, June 14, 2009


Today on the way home from church we saw a tom turkey who appeared to be posing for a Thanks-giving Day portrait.  My son was impressed.  We see the turkey all the time, but never with his tail feathers fanned out in display.  He wanted to know why Tom was strutting his stuff.  I told him that the turkey was trying to impress the girls.

Speaking of which ...

Just this past week as I was driving home from the grocery store I spotted 4 turkeys walking along the side of the road.  These turkeys were human males, appearing to be in their late teens or early twenties at most.  They were fully clothed with the notable exception of their rear-ends, which were exposed.  I was not impressed, and surprisingly not even very disgusted.  I was simply confused.  Questions to pose the quartet flooded my mind as I passed them.  "What are you all thinking?  Are you serious?  What is the goal here?  Trying to be funny?  Racy?  Tough?  Imposing?  Want another beer?"  Some level of intoxication seemed to me the most rational explanation.

The last day of school was a Wednesday, my regular day in #3's classroom, and I went in.  The first hour of the day was taken up with a fifth grade "graduation" assembly.  At the end of the assembly we all rose and waited for the new grads to file out.  Most of the kids proceeded down to aisle toward the back door.  A handful of turkeys raced up to the stage and began, er, dancing, I suppose.  They were gyrating in awkward, preteen craziness, looking ludicrous.  I noted to #3s teacher that only boys were goofing-off on the stage, my assumption being that the girls were more mature and taking the event more seriously.  His response was not what I'd been thinking.  He said, "Well, we don't have colorful feathers or big manes, and we've got to show the girls what we have to offer somehow."  Hm.  I don't know about their female classmates, but I failed to see the charm.

It starts young.  Years ago when #2 was five, we were at a rehearsal for a Primary Christmas program.  The children were singing "Away in a Manger."  #2 was seated next to a little boy who was a year ahead of her in Primary but sat next to her in kindergarten.  A friend of mine got my attention and motioned to the kids.  I looked over to see the boy flexing his muscles for my girl.  My high school psych teacher would have added to this picture the caption: "It's THAT way to the beach."  #2 in turn was looking very impressed, batting her lashes, and giggling with one little hand demurely covering her mouth.  Seven plus years later, I'm not sure what kind of turkey is now earning her admiration.

So many strutting rituals seem very silly to me.  And yet, there are indeed feathers that will catch my attention.  Some are physical--nice shoulders, nice back and chest.  More important ones are intellectual.  I know that an intelligent sense of humor will make a regular-looking guy seem quite enticing in my view.  And of course, a sexy, raspy tenor or baritone singing voice makes me weak in the knees.  We all have our turn-ons.  I'm not sure that most of the turkeys out there are thinking about these sorts of subtleties in their efforts to show off.  Maybe I'm an odd bird.  But my guess would be that I'm not so very unique.

So to all you Toms out there, I'd suggest that simply being yourself will attract the girl that is right for you.  And for heaven's sake, cover your bum.