Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Moose Whisperer

"Hey Bullwinkle, what weighs more, a pound of bricks or a pound of feathers?"

"Umm, a pound of bricks, of course."

Moose are so stupid, but only when it comes to measurement. Drop a human, Ben Mulroney and a moose off in a windswept wilderness swamp in January, and place your bets. Let's call it Survivor: Canada. I'm betting that the human will die in the barrens. So will Ben Mulroney, but only from a lack of exposure to hair care products and attention.

Bullwinkle, on the other hoof, will walk back to civilization, be showered with accolades, collect his million dollars, and then be struck by a semi while enjoying a celebratory lick of salt from the four lane. Moose don't do so well in public.

In Canada we have road signs that say 'Moose, next 17 kilometres', or something to that effect. In Maine, the signs read 'Moose, next 10 miles'. In Vermont, they do things differently. They are precise, which surprises me because the state is populated with deadheads, tree huggers and sap suckers. Instead of 'Moose, next 1 mile', they suggest that moose may be a problem for the next 5500 feet.

When I read a sign that says 'Moose, next 17 miles', I see it as a blanket statement to watch out for furry fridges on stilts that want to get to the back seat of my car through the windshield. When I see a sign that says 'Moose, next 5500 feet', I spend my time watching the odometer, not the road, trying to identify the exact spot where I no longer need to worry about moose. I expect to see a river or a cliff or a Ben and Jerry's factory, instead I just see more trees and a slight grade leading out of a valley.

I haven't longed for a job for a long time, but if I ever apply for one then I know what it's going to be. I want to be the person, who works for the state of Vermont's Department of Highways, who measures the territorial breadth of wandering moose.

What a job. What a career! I'd give up leisurology for that.

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