Generally speaking, I don’t much care for birds. I can tolerate little finches and sparrows; anything bigger than that makes me nervous. (Hummingbirds, too—they move so fast and have no sense of personal boundaries.) I’m especially nervous around fowl, including chickens and geese, but most of all, I am terrified of turkeys.
It’s not so much their resemblance to the dinosaurs that worries me, although their nude, pointy heads, bobbing around with those beady little eyes, are certainly unsettling. It’s not the awful gobbling sounds they make, or even that they’re bigger than anything with wings should be. It’s the feathers.
Here, I’ll say it: I am afraid that I will spook a turkey and it will fly up into my face and its feathers will get in my mouth.
I can’t explain why this thought is so horrifying to me. In that unlikely event, it probably wouldn’t even be that bad. I used to think no one else worried about things like this, but at least one other weirdo finds the idea upsetting.
This has always kind of put me off turkey, even at Thanksgiving. Which brings me to my point: turkey is the least fun part of the holiday. (Of course that’s not actually true. The genocide and continued displacement and marginalization of native North Americans is the least fun part. Here is an organization you can donate to if you, too, think that is profoundly un-fun.)
Okay, but here’s the thing about Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey is at best boring and at worst, when it gets cold, gross and weird. It’s the sides that are the best part! Cranberry sauce! (Yep, I even like the kind from a can, lines and all.) Mashed potatoes! Gravy someone actually made from scratch, not a weird powder! Several varieties of stuffing! I like it all. Honestly, most Thanksgivings, I don’t even take any turkey.
This Thanksgiving, I will run a 10k with my family (if there are live turkeys there I am LEAVING), then watch the Macy’s parade before dinner, where I will be grateful not to encounter anything with feathers.
Here’s wishing you a happy holiday, regardless of whether you will eat turkey or fear it, and (more importantly) a happy Friday-after-Thanksgiving, when I hope you will get outside instead of buying stuff.
Blurry feature photo by Bix Firer at the beautiful Spirit Level Farmstead. I am aware that these are chickens, not turkeys, but I am still a little afraid of them.