Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Turkeys Gone Wild – In My Backyard!

2018 has been a difficult year for me.  I had to suffer through a nasty case of influenza.  I had to grieve for a beloved pet. And now I have a severe wild turkey problem.  No, I’m not an alcoholic – the other issues did not drive me to drink.  Yes, I mean a conflict with actual wild turkeys.

As you can see from this photo, a wild turkey is on my deck, peering into my

house, and he is not happy. This would not be unusual if I lived in the country, but I live in the preppie suburbs. However, there are wooded areas nearby, including next to the back of my property, so some of my neighbors are not preppies, but varmints.   

But why is this turkey on my deck and what is he upset about?  Well, of course I will explain, but let me state up front that I am totally innocent of any wrong doing because ….

I Blame The Squirrels

I have fed the squirrels during the winter for many years.  Some of my friends think I’m nuts (hey, hey) for doing this. But my father’s love for animals, spawned by growing up in the woods of Pennsylvania, was at least partially passed down to his son.  We have five bird feeders that the squirrels can’t access, the main bird feeder being protected by a baffle. We also have two squirrel feeding stations, a bowl on the deck and a converted plastic bird bath. I provide the two stations so the squirrels won’t fight so much over the food.

However, this year there are a bumper crop of young squirrels.  There must have been an excessive amount of unbridled squirrel sex taking place in that woods.  Call it fifty shades of gray squirrels.  Often there are several hungry squirrels arriving at the same time.  So, in addition to the feeders I started scattering a significant amount of sunflower seeds on the ground.

Now I know it is expensive to buy all this seed, but I work at home so watching the squirrels and birds serves as entertainment and a stress reducer.  And by
We are the squirrels - We are the people
providing more food, I greatly reduced the number of squirrel fights.  One time, there were eleven squirrels by the feeders, all having breakfast in peace. And it was a diverse group of gray, brown and black squirrels. If squirrels awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, I would be sure to win it. 

The Turkeys Arrive

A few years ago, I thought it was really neat when I spotted a couple of wild turkeys in my yard. The next year there were a few more, and last year there was a large rafter roaming the neighborhood.  Yes, a rafter.  That is the Associated Press’ approved term for a group of turkeys. 

(I know you may disagree with this term.  There are many names used for a group of turkeys, depending on where you live.  Somehow the U.S. Bureau of Standards never established an official turkey group name, so now people actually spend time arguing about this on the Internet. But if you don’t like the term rafter, please don’t contact me.  Call the Associated Press at 1-877-836-9477 and be sure to tell them you are calling to argue about turkey names. I’m sure they will tell you where to go.)

I was even amused last year when a few of the turkeys stopped by to munch on some seeds by the bird feeder.  However, this year the entire rafter of 13
turkeys or so, was frequently devouring all the seeds I had
Lunch Time!
put out for the 
squirrels. They even fly up on the deck rail and clean out the seeds in the bowl.

This is an outrage! How dare the turkeys eat the squirrel food! This is totally unacceptable! And filling five bird feeders and feeding a bunch of hungry squirrels is already very expensive. I had reach my limit, so I started aggressively chasing the turkeys away from the feeder and out of my yard.

Since I was battling against wild turkeys, I began to study their behavior.  I tried to figure them out. Who was going to prevail in this conflict? Turkeys are supposed to be very intelligent animals, but surely, I am much smarter, right?

I noticed that the more I chased the turkeys away, the more they seemed to want my food. Of course, this torqued me off.  I attributed this to the “Garden of Eden” effect.  I was keeper of the forbidden fruit and that just made the turkeys want it more. I naturally assumed that the turkeys were evil, because like humans they apparently had a sinful nature.  When I chased the turkeys away from the feeder, they would scamper to the back of my property and then stop and stare at me.  They weren’t really afraid of me, and often they would soon return to devour more seeds.

In response, one Saturday I began chasing the turkeys all the way to the back of my property and into the woods. I recorded a video of it with me yelling “Go turkeys!  Get away turkeys!”  It was a hit on Facebook, but incredibly did not go viral.  The video clearly proved I was smarter and superior to those stupid birds.

However, the next morning I was startled because my back yard was literally full of turkeys. The regular rafter was there, but there were two additional rafters. I guess you could say there were turkeys to the rafters.  There were freakin’ turkeys everywhere!  If Alfred Hitchcock had made a Thanksgiving horror movie, I’m sure this is what it would look like. I counted 36 turkeys, but may have missed a couple. Now I have no proof of this since I didn’t get a picture.  My family wonders if I was seeing too many wild turkeys or drinking too much Wild Turkey. (You be the judge). This also means there had been a lot of wild turkey sex going on in the brush. This is a case of “Turkeys Gone Wild”.  I’m telling you, those woods are wanton.

I reasoned that these, wild, evil turkeys had gotten peeved at me for chasing them into the woods the day before and had called in the other neighborhood turkeys as a show of force.  Turkey shock-and-awe, as it were.  Well, that didn’t work, cause I’m too tough for that. I open the deck door and ran all 36 turkeys away – and then maybe, just maybe, I flexed because it felt so good.

Then It Got Turkey-Real

Later that afternoon, my wife was leisurely reading the Sunday paper when she heard a thump on the deck door.  She thought a bird had flown into it as they often do.  But then she heard several more thumps in succession and assumed someone was knocking on the door. And “somebody” was!  It was literally two “Peeping Toms”, standing at the door, intently staring in at our kitchen.  My wife shooed them away and was upset at the turkeys, and of course at me for “causing” this problem. Let’s just say she was equally upset with all turkeys involved with this situation. (The photo at the beginning of the post is from a subsequent “knocking” incident) But I have to admit, those turkeys are very smart!

But then I figured out this whole turkey situation. I got inside the turkeys’ heads and started thinking like a turkey – I know, not that difficult for me. 

I had started putting out much less seed for the squirrels since the turkeys were eating so much of it. That day, the turkeys had eaten all the available food but were still hungry.  So the two alpha-turkeys decided to knock on the door to let me know the rafter wanted more food. (Hellooooo, can we get some service here!  What type of a diner are you running?)

This changed my whole perception of the turkeys.  They believed I was a good guy because I was feeding them. (Why else was I putting out this food?).  When I shooed them off without hurting them, they thought it was a game (First this guy puts out the food – then he pretends he doesn’t want us to eat it and chases us around! What a gobble!)  And the massive number of turkeys in my yard that morning was not a show of force, but of affection. (Guys, you got to see this this. There’s this goofy human who puts out food for us and then play games with us!) The turkeys like me, they really like me!

The turkeys are not evil. They are good!  Good, really good, turkeys. They like that I am feeding them and enjoy playing games with me!  Now my instincts, passed down from the woods of Pennsylvania, would be to bond with the turkeys and nurture a relationship with them.  However, I don’t live in the woods. I live in the preppie suburbs. So, I will not bond with the turkeys. I will also stay married. Fortunately, spring is here so the animal feeding will end soon and the turkey problem will cease.

And the turkeys were not the only backyard problem this winter. I also had to take drastic measures to prevent deer from emptying my main bird feeder every night. They eat directly from the feeder by dragging their tongues across
The Shroud of Ake
the feeder troughs. I have been able to prevent this by employing “The Shroud of Ake” (trash bag attached with a rubber band) on the feeder every evening.  I have hopes this shroud will become as popular as the one from Turin.

And I’m not sure I should even call this a “bird” feeder anymore since over the years the animals eating its seeds on the ground have included: rabbits, groundhogs, skunks, possums, foxes, raccoons, ducks, geese and feral cats.  And oh, yeah – turkeys. Lots of turkeys. Too many turkeys.  

Get my new book here: http://www.donake.net/

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Man-Flu Controversy Erupts

(My new book Will There Be Free Appetizers? is now available!)

Back in January I blogged about my experience with the nasty influenza strain that sickened many people across the country this season.  My intense symptoms began on a Sunday, unfortunately I was contagious on Saturday and infected my wife, who fell ill on Monday. 

Therefore, we had two very sick people in one household, my wife downstairs and me upstairs, trying to get through this awful malady.   I began posting “Reports from the Ake Infirmary” on Facebook as an amusing way to update friends and family on our conditions.  Through friends’ responses to these posts I learned just how nasty this flu was, with some people being hospitalized and others stuck at home for three or four weeks.  Most people who got this nasty flu strain were down for at least five days.

By Wednesday, I was worried about my wife. She would need a doctor’s note if she missed one more day of work and neither of us was in any shape to drive.  But then something wonderful happened! We caught a break. Thursday morning my wife felt much better and went back to work.  She was ill for only three days, an exceptional recovery for this virus.

I immediately posted on Facebook that even though I was still very ill, my wife was all better and had returned to work. I thought this was very positive, uplifting news. Just great news. Really, really, positive, great news.  But of course, I was wrong.  Because sometimes when men are communicating with women, they think they are saying something good, but it turns out they are really saying something bad.  My post got a lot of women hot, but not in a good way.  I had somehow touched a sensitive area.  No guys, not that area! A bad area, a very bad area, indeed.

So because I was still be sick, my Facebook feed immediately started to blow up with comments from women such as these:

“That’s because you are male. Sorry, did I just write that out loud?”

“We all thought it. You just said it!”

“What Valerie said (referring to first comment) … sorry Ake-man but it’s the truth! Lol”

“Hmm, imagine that. The female is bouncing back – the male is still not feeling good (wink emoji)”

“We have to. Our men milk a splinter, so a cold knocks them out for six”

“ “Milk a splinter” is the best line I’ve heard in ages!”

Usually when I say something that I feel is positive but is somehow misconstrued by a female, I hack off only my wife. But this comment generated estrogen-fueled rage throughout the country.  I knew somehow I had hit a nerve, a strong nerve, that I had no clue even existed.  Apparently, this is a big deal to women because they were ravaging me despite the following:

1.   These women have an overall positive opinion of me.  I mean they are still my Facebook friends regardless of some of the outrageous things I post. They like me.  And some are close friends, including one from back in high school where we may or may not have engaged in .. ah, well, let’s not go there.

2.   I am happen to be extremely ill at the time of this mock-fest.  The women showed no restraint in “kicking a guy (big emphasis on guy) while he was down”.

At first, I was offended by this but then realized that most women must be super-annoyed at this occurrence. But as a male, this issue breaks down this way:

Women are upset that after suffering from a cold or flu virus they regain their health, and feel much better, faster than men do.

The female response to this statement – Heck, yeah! Whiny man-child!

The male response: What????????????????

This is of course a prime example of “Female Logic”.  Female Logic is a highly complex way of thinking using the mysterious component known as estrogen.  While this logic is considered obviously correct by its formulators, it is totally baffling to the entire male population. Conversely, testosterone-driven “Man Logic” is sometimes not comprehensible to anyone, and is responsible for all the wars ever fought throughout history.

However, there is scientific evidence indicating cold and flu viruses have a more profound impact on men than women, allowing women to suffer less and recover faster.  And I wholeheartedly agree with all scientific studies which confirm my existing beliefs or support my views.  All research which contradicts me is flawed, biased and in a word “wacko”.

Several studies have found that men have more symptoms and higher fevers when confronted with viruses.  And I believe, even though I am not a doctor, I have found the true reason.  A doctor from the University of Kansas said “The female hormone estrogen slows down how fast a virus multiplies”.  Well of course it does!

The virus be like, “Hey, you want to multiply?” 

The female body be like, “Not right now. I have a headache and I’m not in the mood. Go away!”

Where the male body be like, “Multiply!!!!! Let’s get it on!”

And there are probably good, biological and evolutionary reasons for this, which I won’t go into because I would be labeled as a sexist, misogynist, pig-monster. As well as names I would have to look up and I don’t have time for that.

So Ladies, you must admit that if you are all independently observing this phenomenon, and scientific studies back this up, then men do actually get sicker, and so we are all good right?  I sense, no we are not, for one important reason.

Women claim that men excessively whine and complain when they are ill (milk a splinter).  Of course, I have no idea what they are talking about.  I myself suffer in silence and fight off my maladies stoically and machismo-fally like a real man.  

Okay, okay. I do realize that my wife did join into the Facebook banter detailed above with this comment:

“That’s what happens when you give it to your wife (uh, she means the flu). Now I have to deal with his complaining”.

I really don’t know what she is talking about, and may I point out that many people lie on Facebook.  For the record, I was sick for nine days, six days longer than my wife.  And I wasn’t milking no splinters. I may have complained once or twice but only because I was delirious. Yeah, delirious – that’s the

So guys, I would highly recommend that we stop whining and moaning so much when we are ill.  We are not getting any sympathy from our women by complaining.  We are merely torqueing them off.  Which means when we are feeling better and able to resume certain conjugal activities, your urges may be blunted by estrogen-generated resistance.

However, I must remind you ladies it is unproductive to get overly perturbed that you have a biological advantage which allows you to better deal with viruses.  If you disagree, may I point out that it is probably in the same category of biological advantage that enables women to outlive men by a significant number of years (27 in my mother’s case).  And don’t worry, a man, no matter how much of a whiner, has never been able to complain that his wife has outlived him.