Moose 101

hidden mooseI live in Connecticut, one of the original 13 states of these United States. Part of Ye Olde New England. It’s a small state, with a little more than 3.5 million people and about 73 million trees. Lots of forest, that is.

With so few people and so many trees you’d think, even in these modern times, we’d be pretty accustomed to seeing things like birds, squirrels, raccoons, deer, Peeping Toms, Avon ladies and other wildlife in and amongst all of that wild and largely untamed timber.

But no. A few days ago, a wayward moose wandered through four rural Connecticut towns, causing general agog-ness with the residents and even commandeering a few minutes on the state TV stations’ local news programs.

Nothing earth-shattering. Unless you’re me – because I’ve realized people around here don’t know anything about the moose! This is not good but fear not, all is not lost. Since I just happen to be the author of “The Illustrated Guide to the Moose.”

Bullwinkle 1This is a moose. Look at him closely. Burn his image into your brain. For to know a moose, one must know what the hell a moose looks like. In case one’s standing ahead of you in the checkout line. Remember – knowledge is power.

But just recognizing a moose doesn’t mean you understand one, really know one. What’s to know about a moose, you say? Read on grasshopper. You too can learn the ways of the mighty moose.

Way No. 1

bullwinkle cooks Moose cannot cook. That’s why they forage in the forests and marshlands and eat, um, a lot of wet green things. So, if you walk into a diner, look behind the counter and see a moose like the one above – play it safe. Just order a salad.

Way No. 2

Bullwinkle QBMoose cannot play football. So, if you’re sitting down on any given Sunday, flip on the big game and see a quarterback resembling the player illustrated above – call your bookie and bet your wallet, car, house, even your family on the opposing team.

Way No. 3

bullwinkle driveMoose do not drive. But they have been known to get behind the wheel, as illustrated above. So, say you’re sitting on a city bus and happen to notice the driver has antlers – get off at the next stop, walk away and don’t look back. Even if you happen to be a flying squirrel wearing a leather aviator’s helmet.

Way No. 4

bullwinkle magicMoose cannot do magic tricks. Yes, this fact of life appears to be news to the poor tuxedoed moose in the above illustration. That is, until you’re informed that he was trying to pull a rabbit out of that hat.

OK, so now you know what a moose cannot do. But they must be able to do something, you say.

Funny you should say that.

Way No. 5

Bullwinkle runsMoose can run. Moose are big. Moose are tall. And most of a moose is made up of four big, long legs. Four more than you have. Do not challenge a moose to a 100-yard dash, a four-moose relay race, even a from-here-to-that-tree-and-back race. You will lose and he will own not only own the above trophy, but your pride.

And finally,

Way No. 6

bullwinkle fliesMoose can fly.

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I don’t wanna grow up

young and oldLet’s face it – it sucks to be me. It sucks to be you. It sucks to be most of us.

Because it sucks to grow old.

I’m not talking about the usual reasons. I don’t care that I have gray hair. I don’t care that sometimes when I make up my mind to get up from a chair, my body says, “You must be kidding. Really? Right now?” and doesn’t want to move. I’m not talking about starting to forget things either. What things, I don’t remember.

No, what I’m talking about is as a lot of us get older, an awful lot of us get stupid.

It wasn’t like that when we were young. When we were innocent. When we still saw the world clearly and in a singularly simple, insightful and intelligent way. Bottom line: It is what it is. Keep it simple, stupid old people.

Oh sure, laugh at this kid's answer to this test question. But really ... it does make some deductive sense. You're just too old now to see it.

Oh sure, laugh at this kid’s answer to this test question. But really … it does make perfect deductive sense. You’re just too old to see it.

Oh, we may say some silly things in the early days of our lives. But at that age, most of us don’t do dumb things. We save that until when we get older.

I mean, what good is a detachable steering wheel on your car if you can't detach it? And at speed, of course. Makes perfect adult sense.

I mean, what good is a detachable steering wheel on your car if you can’t detach it? And at speed, of course. Makes perfect adult sense.

No, I do believe we have our best moments, and our best material, when we’re too young to know better. Or too much.

If it's good enough for my lawn, then it's good enough for yours. You know, the kid makes a pretty good case here.

If it’s good enough for my lawn, then it’s good enough for yours. The kid makes a pretty good case here.

But once we turn into adults, it all goes to crap. Not just out there in the yard, but up there between our ears. It starts to build up with age and before you know it you’re not only old, you’re full of it. Crap, that is.

For example, take a good look at this picture. What do you see?

FlintstoneIf you’re young, you see Fred Flintstone, you see the Caveman at his prehistoric best. You see Yabba Dabba Do, Wilma, Barney and Betty. You see funny. And you also see … a cartoon.

But if you’re old, if you’re Kyle Hill, a contributing writer to old, stuffy “Scientific American” magazine, you see something completely different. You look at Fred and his vehicle and your adult, soon-to-be-decrepit mind asks: How does Fred Flintstone stop his car using nothing but his feet?

In his article (yeah he wrote an article and yup, Scientific American published it) Hill estimates Flintstone’s rockmobile weighs 1,980 pounds and can travel at a top speed of 25 mph. Though Fred’s feet may be thickly callused enough to be used as brakes, Hill doesn’t think that’s a realistic assessment. “The worst case is much more likely,” he says. “If Fred pressed and held his feet to the ground, he would most likely lose them.”

Really. How very interesting. A most adult line of thinking.

And damned stupid.