we were smart, the first thing we’d do every morning is admit how dumb we are.
not the kind of dumb my dictionary calls: “a lack of intellectual acuity.” That kind of dumb happens when I don’t bring
in the suet birdfeeder at night, and by morning, a herd of bears has trampled
the rhododendrons and twisted the feeder post into an iron pretzel.
the way, when marauding bears collect in a group and savage your birdfeeder
(the latter also known as “a squirrel feeder”), the proper animal collective
noun is “sloth,” not herd. A sloth of bears. I didn’t know that until
researching this column, and that’s the kind of dumb I mean that we need to
the dumb where you know full well that if you don’t bring in the feeder at
night, a passing sloth might flatten the perennials, but you leave it dangling
out there anyway, thinking you’ll outsmart Mother Nature. Dumb.
I didn’t know until venturing here, that said sloth would deprive the “scurry”
of squirrels of their bird food, not to mention the “dissimulation” of birds,
specifically the “party” of blue jays. There, now I suspect there’s also at
least one fun fact you hadn’t known until just now. You are now less dumb than
you were a minute ago, and this may have saved your life.
claim this because I once had the privilege of tending to the daily needs of an
old woman. She was old. I mean the kind of old where if she’d been ten years
younger, she’d have looked the same.
one morning conversation we had as I prepared her breakfast, I told her about
the “kneeling moose” I’d seen early this summer (more on this coming up). She
listened, smiled and said: “There, now I won’t die today.” She believed that if she learned at least one
new thing every day, she’d live to see the next.
just recently passed away, probably dying on the day that she felt she’d
learned enough. I’ll always have to wonder if she hadn’t known, and might’ve
lived another day, if I’d told her that cats can see ghosts, and when two adult
felines lie immobile and staring at an empty sofa, that’s a “pounce” of cats
probably waiting for the spirit of a visiting dead uncle to yield their
“I’m dumb and I’m proud!” might just be the rallying cry to good health and
longevity. After this sentence, you’ll feel livelier knowing that when you find
what looks like a scattering of thistle seed on your kitchen counter in the
morning and the tell-tale nibblings in your fruit bowl, you’ve been invaded by
a “mischief” of mice.
when you swerve to avoid that cluster of lumbering characters in the road, your
mood will brighten when you realize you had a near-miss with a “prickle” of
it just might lower your blood pressure and put a spring in your step, now
knowing that when kittens congregate, they do it in a “kindle,” and your
neighbor has a new “puddle” of puppies.
kindles. Puppy puddles. Say those together three times fast and you’ll be sure
to live another day.
don’t know why I’d never known that a moose will drop down on its front knees
to eat. I discovered this on a respite to a remote New Hampshire cabin, when I saw one assuming
this genuflective feeding posture one late afternoon.
spent most of my life in moose country, and when I haven’t been swerving to
miss that highway prickle, I’ve been preventing sloths from gobbling up suet
intended for dissimulating parties but stolen by scurries.
just never seen a kneeling moose. I’ve watched them eating trees (on their
feet), stepping over guardrails and swimming across ponds. I knew their antlers
could have a six-foot span. I knew they dropped them after mating season and
grew new ones in the spring, thus conserving energy for winter (making them
smarter than some other dumb animals I know).
knew they could eat 100 pounds of lily pads a day. I knew that one of them had
a cartoon sidekick named Rocky. But, I never knew that moose will kneel down to
eat up. Makes perfect sense, of course. On your feet all day and bent
over? Forget kneeling; I’d be lying down
to eat, and often am.
there’s one dumb animal kingdom enigma which never has been and never will be
explained: One goose? Two geese.
moose? Two … moose. I’ve stopped asking
why moose not meese, though I believe it’s forever been an inside joke amongst
our founding lexicographers, and I still feel dumb about it.
you deserve an extended life bonus just for all this learning: I can tell you
that geese are also clumped together according to activity and habitat. Ever
see geese in flight? You’re looking at a
“skein” of geese. Geese on the water?
You’ve just spotted a “plump.”
Meanwhile, multiple moose standing, swimming, stampeding or
kneeling? Doesn’t matter. Always a
don’t ever expect to see a herd of kneeling moose, but if one hobbles into
view, I’m ready.
Edison said: “We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.”
that we’ve learned that, we’ll have lots of tomorrows to figure out what it all
Senior Wire News Service Syndicated Humor
Columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, NH. He is an author,
humorist, agony uncle columnist and poet. His latest book is “THE DIOECIANS –His and Her Love”. You may contact him via his website at Witbones.com.
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.