A Wise Old Owl

A New Photo of Charles the Great Horned Owl

Chuck, a wise old owl who has fathered many clutches of owlets, sits as graphic for this post. He looks down in disapproval of the foolish, stupid and ignorant human goings-on below. It is my unfortunate task to have to enumerate these goings-on. And I can plainly tell you, it doesn’t help me to have to write this, with such a disapproving overseer, looking down over my shoulder. I guess that I’ll just have to do my humanly best.

The supermarket checkout line looked inviting, I should have done my usual U-scan, but I didn’t, and once you empty your basket of groceries onto the conveyor belt, you’re committed. Anyway, that’s what I say. The one guy ahead of me was handed his receipt just as I finished unloading my basket. Perfecto! Wait, he is now asking for his change that never appeared. The clerk re-checks the receipt and confirms the customer’s complaint. The clerk asks the customer to wait until the cash register drawer can be reopened, like after I’ve been rung up. The customer agrees and then just stands there, blocking my access to the card reader. Clerk, customer and I stand there for a moment, or two, or three. I eventually have to ask him to move, and he steps aside. I run my card and the process proceeds. The bagger had already bagged and placed into his cart the previous customer’s groceries. After the bagger had bagged my groceries, the other customer placed my goods into his cart too. This leads to a free-for-all between the bagger, the other customer and me. I ended up having to check and recheck my receipt versus my bags. I should have gone with the U-scans, but I kept my cool with the humans.

“The Chip” is the MRH High School newspaper. Dave wrote for it, when he was in high school. Anne brought a copy home and pointed out an article, “Flipping off, flipping opinions on Flipper”. In this editorial piece, the author questions the practices of capturing and killing dolphins. They are captured for exhibition at amusement parks like Sea World and killed for food in Japan. My complaint is not with the author’s politics, but with a statement, or rather, misstatement that is made. At one point the author takes the devil’s advocate position and argues, “Why shouldn’t these fishermen capitalize on the value of our flippered friends? They are mammals just like turkeys, chicken and cows. We eat them, so why not a dolphin?” I questioned Anne, how could the teacher allow such a mistake to go to print? Anne explained that a public error is sometime more instructive than a private one corrected.

This pre-dawn morning, through our open bedroom window, I heard an owl hooting. It couldn’t have been Chuck; we’re surely outside his range. Lying in the dark, I heard the owl’s “who-who-who-who”, followed by a long pause, and then “who-who-who-who” again. These rounds continued until either the owl flew on, or I fell asleep again. Thinking about these two stories, I glad that I didn’t lose my temper, but it was close. I also now see the wisdom of Anne’s explanation. Hearing about the foolishness of others, is often fun. Not joining into that foolishness gives one a sense of moral superiority. This feeling though is foolish, because at one time or another, we all play the fool. Anyway, that’s what Chuck tells me.

3 thoughts on “A Wise Old Owl

  1. I talked to the faculty advisor for “The Chip” yesterday. Apparently the student who wrote the article on dolphins to be a humorous piece. He knows that turkeys and chickens are birds, not mammals, but put that in to be funny. The teacher advised him to include more ‘un-facts’, so it would be clear it was humor and ignorance, but the student did it his way. Oh, well.

Leave a Reply