Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXXIV

[The previous letter from Bodrell is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters324.html#Bodrell ]

Date: Sat, August 25, 2012 5:05 pm     (answered 4 September 2012)
From: "bodrell"
Subject: Re: Thanks and where's Carmen?

Thank you and I am glad you're not offended by my dog herding geese. I think much the same — that it is actually beneficial to geese (and wildlife and stray cats and birds) to learn early in life that other species, while sometimes benevolent, can also pose great danger. So I rationalise my dog herding the geese as it being a good life-lesson for them: first and foremost, be wary. I also have a good friend who is a federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator and her attitude — for the wellbeing of wild critters — is that it's unhealthy for wild animals/birds to get too attached to humans; they survive better by remaining wary and being self-sufficient.

Hello again, Bodrell,

That "wellbeing of wild critters" thing seems to be very confused. I get that a lot. I sort of cringe when I hear about animals "surviving in the wild".

I got a lecture from a self-appointed "wildlife expert" just two weeks ago — somebody who was sure that she knew what she was talking about because she heard it somewhere. I was feeding some whole-wheat bread to the ducks and geese at the Fernhill Wetlands, and a woman informed me that I shouldn't be doing that because it wasn't good for them. I told her that it was whole wheat bread, not white bread. See, right on the label? Whole wheat, all natural ingredients, no trans-fat. She objected that it wasn't organic. I admitted that yes, it is possible that the farmer might have used insecticides on the crop of grain.

Then I pointed to the ducks that were following me and happily taking the bread from me. See these guys? I've been feeding them for a couple of years now, and they are doing just fine. She still insisted that the wildlife should be flying away and finding organic food "in the wild", and walked away in a huff.

It really reminded me of a scene from Portlandia. That show is a spoof of Portland, and how Portlanders are sometimes just a little too "hip" and "newage". For example, in one show, a couple walked into a restaurant to have lunch, and were considering chicken, and started asking about, was it raised organically? Free-range? Uncrowded? Locally grown? Then the couple had to drive out to the farm to meet the farmer and inspect the farm where the chicken was grown. And they asked, "Was the chicken happy while it was alive?" Oh yes. Finally, they decided to have something else for lunch. That's Portlandia. Well, this woman's tirade about feeding the ducks and geese organic food reminded me of that.

What she didn't realize is, there is no "organic wilderness" out there for the geese. The Fernhill Wetlands is the best that they get, and there isn't a lot of grassy meadow around for them to graze. Look around. Nothing but farms in every direction except town. And the farmers use fertilizers and insecticides on those fields. And the farmers really don't want the geese coming and eating their crops. That imaginary "wilderness" that she was talking about disappeared a century ago.

It really is like people who imagine that the Indians should still be riding horses bareback, chasing the herds of buffalo across the Great Plains, rather than living on reservations and getting government checks. And the skies are darkened by the flocks of Passenger Pigeons, and the wild ducks and geese live out there in the wild and never have contact with humans. Gone. All gone, long ago.

Worse yet, if you want something really horrifying, you can go to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's web site, and find the form to fill out for a permit to destroy Canada Geese. Yes, just fill out this form, and pay something like $27, and you can get a permit to kill every Canada Goose that lands on your property. Not just during hunting season, either. All year long. And the farmers can raid the geese's nests and destroy the eggs, too. Then, at the end of the year, the farmer just fills out a form telling how many geese he killed and how many eggs he broke, and sends it in. And then he can do the same thing again next year. The farmer is actually legally entitled to eradicate the geese on his property.

That is the "wilderness" where the geese are supposed to go find organic food.

Also my dog really freaking LOVES herding and controlling hundreds of geese, and since I don't have a herd of cattle for her, I am happy to let her indulge her breed instinct with geese (or small children or whatever) whenever I can.

Yes, it is amazing how that behavior has been bred into them. They just are not happy if they are not herding something. They think that the purpose of life is to herd things.

Similarly, I had an experience with a retriever one time. I was at a city park with my first family of goslings. Somebody had a dog on a leash, and a kitten in his arms. The kitten got spooked and jumped from his arms and ran, and the dog broke loose, ripping the leash out of the owner's hand, and chased after the kitten. The kitten ran nearly at me, it went right by me, and the dog followed right on his heels. Then the dog saw my goslings and changed direction abruptly, and grabbed one of the goslings in his mouth. I grabbed the dog and went right into his mouth and took my gosling back out. Then the dog tried to get another one and I held him off. Afterwards, I was surprised at myself. I had never actually gone into a dog's mouth to take something out of his mouth like that. But I wasn't going to give up my kid easily.

Fortunately, the dog only soft-mouthed the gosling, and didn't actually hurt it. The dog's instinctive behavior was to grab and hold, but not bite down. Thank goodness. If he had bitten down, the gosling would have died instantly. But he just soft-mouthed it. Yes, he was a retriever. He didn't really want to hurt the kitten or gosling, he just wanted to play. Chasing and grabbing and holding was his idea of fun.

As it was, the poor gosling had to bathe for an hour to wash off all of the dog slobber. And you know, that gosling still wasn't terrified of dogs after that.

As far as alcoholism — I recently joined a secular email list (LifeRing) and have shared your lizard brain link a few times; it's been very much appreciated.

Thanks, yes. I consider that one of my best web pages, and it is the distillation of about 30 years of experience with quitting smoking and backsliding, and then a few years of quitting drinking.

Also I loved your response to Mike C.

Also, I notice your contempt for people who are having troubles:

...people who use over and over and go to AA shouldn't even be at AA. Those people seem to think AA is a place to use for rationalization of their using.

Wow. Forget about that "unconditional love" A.A. slogan. You don't unconditionally love them at all. Like Penn & Teller said in their TV program on A.A.: "Alcoholics Anonymous has no respect for alcoholics." Look here:

This really struck me because it matched my (many months faithful attendance, plus a sponsor, over a couple of years) experience with AA: If you do not follow the AA path 100%, you are hopeless, constitutionally dishonest, a loser, will always drink, will always be a drunk, and win or lose, AA people want nothing to do with you if you're not stepping and working the program. People with whom I thought I'd developed a real connection with in the AA-context wanted nothing to do with me if I wasn't working the program. I was either a: hopeless and doomed if still drinking, even sporadically, or if successful and happily sober: a threat to the ideology and without that, even if you are happily sober/not using, you are labeled a "dry drunk.". People like Mike C. are totally the reason I quit AA, totally the reason I am happy to be (so far) sober without AA, and actually glad I left.

I'd be interested to hear from any AA people who are friendly with, and supportive of, people in their lives who became and stayed sober *without* AA. Is there such an animal?

I've heard of a few, but just a small very few. Many of them are in the "Newcomers Rescue League".

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Force, violence, pressure, or compulsion with a view
**     to conformity, are both uncivilized and undemocratic.
**       ==  Mohandas Gandhi

May 25, 2012, Friday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The older Family of 3. They aren't so small any more.

Canada Goose goslings
A new Family of 4, eating oatmeal.

Canada Goose goslings
The older Family of 6. They are really getting big.

Canada Geese
A small flock, getting some bread.

Canada Geese
A small flock, getting some bread.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters324.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Sat, August 25, 2012 9:09 pm     (answered 4 September 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Commentary on Amy's letters

You know, I always wondered what would happen if AA, NA, and NicA held a joint meeting. There would probably be a bunch of heated arguments over what drugs are and aren't okay to use. Sure, it's the exact same shit, but it's just like two identical churches arguing over whether to dunk or sprinkle. Somebody needs to make this happen, so I can attend and record that.

Hi again, Meatbag,

That could be a real circus. The guys in A.A. say that smoking tobacco and shooting heroin is okay, just as long as you don't drink while you do it. The N.A. guys say that smoking is okay just as long as you don't shoot heroin while you do it. And the Nicotine Anonymous guys say that either nothing is okay, or it's all okay except cigarettes. Yes, that would be an entertaining meeting.

I'd especially like to hear the lecture about "You aren't sober if you are smoking cigarettes."

Actually, it might be fun to show up to random meetings and record what goes on in them. I got a nice little digital voice recorder that's probably the best thing Sony's ever made. It's got good sound quality, it plugs into the computer via standard USB, the computer treats it like a normal flash drive, and it runs on a standard AAA rechargeable battery. It looks a lot like an iPod, too. I used it to record the professors back when I was in college.

Yes, I've got some Olympus ones that do the same thing. They are amazing. 22 hours of recording time, and they hear everything in the room, and they disappear in your pocket. (Olympus VN-3200PC)

After all, it's one thing to read about the crazy. It's another to hear it with your own ears.

Anyhow, now it's time for some commentary on Mike's letters.

First of all, I must say I'm glad you know basic web design. Your site is consistent, no matter what platform I use to view it.

And I really love how this guy came up with a ridiculous scenario for the harm your site could do, but couldn't think of anything at all for the harm AA could do. Here's a less ridiculous scenario for ya, Mike:

  • 1. Guy goes to AA meeting.
  • 2. He gets to the 4th step.
  • 3. He reads his personal inventory and decides he's a piece of shit.
  • 4. He buys a gun from the pawn shop and kills himself.

"But it's not AA's fault the guy decided to kill himself!"

  • 1. Girl recently decides to quit drinking and go to AA.
  • 2. She meets a sponsor.
  • 3. The sponsor hits on her.
  • 4. Girl is still cloudy-headed, so doesn't know how to respond.
  • 5. The sponsor invites her to his place and offers to teach her the 13th step.
  • 6. Girl feels like she has to accept.

"But that's not AA! The book is all you need!"

  • 1. An AA member happens to be a smoker.
  • 2. Smoker reads The Big Book.
  • 3. Smoker's wife tells him to quit smoking.
  • 4. Smoker feels justified in throwing a tantrum that would put most toddlers to shame.
  • 5. The smoker's wife leaves him.
  • 6. Smoker develops lung cancer and dies.

Come on, let's make this a game!

Thanks for the laugh. Yes, that would make an interesting game.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The truth?! You can't handle the truth!"
**       ==  Jack Nicholson, in A Few Good Men

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters324.html#Nawal_A ]

Date: Mon, August 27, 2012 3:18 am     (answered 5 September 2012)
From: "Nawal A."
Subject: Orange Paper: The Next Frontier

Hello Orange,

Your orange paper has become quite popular in AA circles. Many people with time up know about it. I also know about it.

I am impressed by the depth of research in orange papers. Just because it is in-depth or extensive I am not necessarily in agreement or disagreement with each and every opinion/judgment.

To be clear, I am not here to criticize or praise your work in orange paper.

I am interested if you are going to do such an extensive critique of SMART recovery? I wonder if you will ever write an orange paper on SMART recovery? The reason is that you do have a critical mind's eye and you could do a great deal of service to all people in recovery by writing an orange paper on SMART.

Kind regards

Hello Nawal,

Thanks for the letter and the question. If someone does some valid tests of SMART or SOS or Lifering or anything like that, I will happily publish the results.

I already have published the results of the one and only test that I know of that was a valid Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study of something like SMART — that is, of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma did a three-way controlled study, comparing 1) A.A., 2) CBT, and 3) no treatment. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) did the best. The resulting sobriety rate wasn't spectacular, but it was an improvement. CBT gained a few percent more success stories, while A.A. drove the clients to drink. Literally. After 9 months of "treatment", the A.A. people were doing five times as much binge drinking as the no-treatment group, and nine times the amount of binge drinking that the CBT group was doing. So the CBT group was doing less binge drinking than the no-treatment group.

Several years ago, someone asked me why I don't accuse SMART or SOS or Lifering of being cults. I answered that question at length there:

Beyond that, I feel no great need to do a big exposé of SMART or SOS or Lifering for several good reasons:

  1. They do not conspire with judges and therapists to get people sentenced to their organization.
  2. They do not put on airs of having a program that was divinely inspired by God.
  3. They base their programs on valid science and modern medicine, rather than on the ravings of a pro-Nazi Lutheran minister.
  4. They do not insist that you must surrender your life to a "god" or "higher power" who can be anything from a bedpan to a doorknob, or a Golden Calf to a stone idol.
  5. They do not lie about their success and failure rates.
  6. They do not suppress dissent, or personally attack critics.
  7. Their founders were not lying thieving sexual predators with delusions of grandeur and a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  8. They don't kill people by telling them not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.
  9. They don't sexually exploit young women newcomers by assigning them to old men sponsors.

You know, compared to Alcoholics Anonymous, a big exposé of SMART or SOS or Lifering would be downright boring. There just isn't the same spectacular dirt to dig up. The only thing I've got on Dr. Albert Ellis, the founder of SMART and co-inventor of Cognitive Emotive Behavioral Therapy, is that he likes to use a bunch of cuss words and obscenities in his lectures. That's it.

But if you do find anything, please let me know, and I'll investigate.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The Big Book is sooo terribly written and incredibly illogical
**     that the only people that could believe it are those who have
**     been beaten down from alcohol abuse. And Bill Wilson was very
**     aware of that fact. He really was a self-righteous totally
**     arrogant and self-centered man on the verge of being totally
**     insane when one reads and UNDERSTANDS some of the outrageous
**     shit that comes out of his mouth. If more people understood
**     what a total prick the guy was on top of being wrong about
**     almost everything, I don't think AA would be around for too
**     much longer.
**        ==  Ralph

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters324.html#Igor_O ]

Date: Mon, August 27, 2012 3:17 pm     (answered 5 September 2012)
From: "Igor O."
Subject: Twelve Causes of Misery + The Seven Deadly Sins

Hello there Agent Orange

I am enjoying reading your stuff, & loving & enjoying every minute of it. You sometimes mention "The Seven Deadly Sins" which Bill talks about in the 12x12. I was reading here
were you were talking about that this list not including murder or hypocricy.

"NIDANAS" is a list of "Twelve Causes of Human Misery", it's a sanskrit word (meaning this list comes then orginally from yoga philosophy).

To fill it up to 12 one could add fear, but Dr. Rampa did only mention 7; "The Seven Deadly Sins".

Anyway I thought you'd be interested.

NIDANAS : These are known as the Twelve Causes of Misery.

There is no point in listing them in detail because they are just things connected with material existence, such as lusts of the flesh and all that sort of thing which seem to have been specifically designed to keep poor suffering Man, and even more suffering Woman, on this quite miserable Earth.

We should get rid of Nidanas as fast as we can. There are such things in Nidanas such as pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. These things are not desirable things, we do not have to put up with them, and with a little effort we can get rid of the whole bunch, and when we come to make that effort we find it is not so hard as we thought, and then we know we are well on the way to leaving this Earth-round for good — and it certainly is good.
(From "Wisdom Of The Ancients" by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, Page 88)

IGOR O. (An AA Roentgenic)


  • 1. Pride
  • 2. Covetousness
  • 3. Lust
  • 4. Anger
  • 5. Gluttony
  • 6. Envy
  • 7. Sloth
  • 8. Hypocrisy
  • 9. Stealing.
  • 10. Lying.
  • 11. Hatred
  • 12. Fear

Hello Igor,

Thanks for the list. Now that's more. However, I notice that it still doesn't include murder.

That item is on my mind right now especially because of the mass murder that is going on in Syria. I'm sure that the people in Syria are considering murder to be far more of a serious problem than sloth or lust or gluttony.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "now let's ponder the need for a list of the more glaring personality
**     defects all of us have in varying degrees... to avoid falling into
**     confusion over the names these defects should be called, let's take
**     a universally recognized list of major human failings — the seven
**     deadly sins of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, sloth."
**      ==  Bill Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 48.
**     "That is the measure of our character defects, or,
**        if you wish, of our sins."
**          ==  Bill Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 65.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters324.html#DK ]

Date: Wed, August 29, 2012 8:47 am     (answered 5 September 2012)
From: "D K"
Subject: Your website is awesome

Thank you!!

Honesty, such a valued concept in A.A., and I finally find it on your website 20 years after my indoctrination into A.A.

"When the student is ready, the teacher appears"

14 years ago, I was helping Searcy Whaley of Dallas Texas count money in a hotel room at his "Gathering of The Eagles" A.A. Conference in Dallas. I asked Searcy, "How to you survive, do you have a retirement plan or annuity that supports you and Margaret?"

Searcy looked at me in amazement, then looked at the sixteen bags of cash in the hotel room, and he said, "Like Bill Wilson said, I live off the generosity of others." He then began to laugh until his ribs hurt. He then said, "This is IRS 501C3 tax exempt cash.... It doesn't even exist, take this bag down to my car and put it in the trunk."

I didn't realize I was supposed to open the bag and help myself to what I wanted. I was being "groomed" to take over "The Gathering of The Eagles" before Searcy died.

Bill Wilson was a con artist. He admits to it in his story in the big book. Ebby Thatcher who sobered up at Searcy's Rehab hospital in Dallas, was offended he wasn't the cofounder of AA. Bill needed a Doctors credentials for the con to sound legitimate. So he used Dr. Bob.

Bill finally found his con.... and lived a very comfortable life from other peoples generosity.

Bernie Madoff is quite envious, I'm sure.
Bill Wilson got away with it.

And the con game continues.

Thanks Orange.

Wow. Hello, D.K.,

Thanks for the revelation. And thank you for the letter and the compliments.

I must confess that I didn't know anything about Searcy Whaley of Dallas Texas, and his "Gathering of The Eagles" A.A. Conference.

That is so interesting that I shall have to investigate.

I knew that Ebby Thatcher went to a rehab in Texas, maybe several times, before finally ending up at his "final resting place" in upper New York state — that is, at the alky farm where he spent the last years of his life. So Ebby was connected to Searcy Whaley in Texas before that, huh? Interesting. Very interesting. Now I have more learning to do.

(Maybe I read something about that in the biography of Ebby, but I forgot it. Now that I look, I see a mention of Searcy W., here. The book is Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W., by Mel B., which I shall have to read again. Although I'm sure that Mel Barger would leave out any juicy stuff about corruption in A.A.)

If you would care to write up more of your experiences, it would be appreciated. That's the unwritten history of A.A. that they don't want us to know about.

For those people who are curious, here are more links to stuff about Ebby:

  1. The Oxford Group saves Ebby from jail.

  2. Another description of how Ebby Thacher was drafted into the Oxford Group.

  3. Ebby recruits Bill Wilson into the Oxford Group.

  4. Ebby becomes a non-person in A.A. history.

  5. Ebby dies at McPike's alcohol detox farm.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     [The Oxford Group recruiters] Ebby and Shep C. were now asking him [Bill
**     Wilson] to give up the one attribute of which he was the most proud, the
**     one quality that set a man above the animals — his inquiring,
**     rational mind. And they wanted him to give this up for an illusion.
**     Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 18, and
**     Bill W., Robert Thomsen, pages 213-214.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters324.html#John_B ]

Date: Mon, September 3, 2012 10:15 am     (answered 5 September 2012)
From: "John B."
Subject: How To Deprogram Your Own Mind

You had a great essay going here, but you missed the point of Bill Wison's words. When he wrote "left to those better qualified to handle it", he had already explained that he was talking about "Those of us in AA". Most alcoholics are angry resentful people who will hold a grudge or rationalize anger over minor upsets that ordinary people would just shrug off. His advice was for these alcoholics, not the general population.

Obviously "those better qualified to handle it" are the 95% of society that don't have issues with excessive anger. Please go back and read Wilson's quote more carefully. There are plenty of examples of cults that really do tell people their feelings are bad and wrong, maybe you can use one of those With that correction this would be a very useful document.


Hello John,

Thanks for the note and the compliment. But I did not misunderstand what Bill was saying. As usual, Bill Wilson was declaring that alcoholics are inferior subhumans, some real Untermenschen. Ordinary people may be qualified to handle anger and resentments, but not those dirty alcoholics who join A.A.

A.A. routinely says that they want to reduce the stigma of alcoholism, but they don't. That is a reversal of reality. The truth is, A.A. works to increase the stigma of alcoholism by constantly harping on how bad those alcoholics are, and selfish, and resentful, and unspiritual, and manipulative, and on and on. And those alcoholics are totally undependable because they will relapse in one day if they don't practice the A.A. cult religion every day... That was the whole point of the file, "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy", where Bill Wilson raved his contempt for alcoholics pretty much non-stop.

And you are doing it too, right now, in this letter:

Most alcoholics are angry resentful people who will hold a grudge or rationalize anger over minor upsets...

No, you cannot stereotype alcoholics like that. That is just not true. Alcoholics are not all the same. And alcoholics are not all despicable creeps or resentful angry loonies.

This keeps coming up, and I have to keep on mentioning it: Like Penn & Teller said in their TV program on A.A.: "Alcoholics Anonymous has no respect for alcoholics." Look here:

And I'm happy to say that Bill Wilson was wrong, very wrong. The constant put-downs of alcoholics were just part of his power game to make himself King of the Alcoholics, and make everybody else feel guilty and weak and subservient. Alcoholics are not inferior subhumans who are unable to handle anger or resentments when con artists lie to them and cheat them. Alcoholics are actually pretty much like normal people, except that they have a problem with drinking too much alcohol for any of a dozen different reasons.

By the way, the word "alcoholic" is not even properly defined in A.A. Before we call somebody an "alcoholic", we should at least properly define what the word means. A.A. uses at least four different definitions of the word, and mixes them up, which really confuses the issue. I just reprinted the definitions here: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters322.html#definitions

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in
**     themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking.
**     ... This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon.
**       ==  William G. Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 44.

May 25, 2012, Friday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Greylag Goose and Canada Goose offspring
Child of Gus from 2 years ago, hanging out at Dabblers' Marsh
This is an older kid of Gus who doesn't feel the need to hang out with Mom and Dad any more. The way that I know for sure is the next picture: Gus's child from last year is still hanging out with its parents. Canada Geese children usually stay with their parents for 2 years. Then, at age 2 1/2, they marry for life. This one doesn't have a mate yet. Once in a blue moon, I've seen this one go and hang out with Gus or its younger sibling, but that is rare. Most of the time, this one is on its own now.

I have no idea what sex any of Gus's children are. Ordinarily, I can easily tell the boy and girl goslings apart because the boys are so much bigger and heavier-set than the girls. But all of Gus's children are unusually large and heavy-set, so that's no help.

Greylag Goose Family with goslings
This day, Gus showed up with a new brood of babies.
Gus is in front, and the mother, Gus's wife, is the female Canada Goose bringing up the rear in the left foreground, and the odd-looking goose in the background is their child from last year. And of course they have 5 new little ones.

Incidentally, notice how the adults have the babies surrounded by a triangle of adults. That's not accidental. Canada Geese routinely arrange themselves in formations that will keep the babies protected.

Gus disappeared for more than a month, and we were wondering if he died or got eaten or something. Happily, no. Gus's wife went way out back and built her nest in a remote place, and he went with her to keep her company and protect her. So the two of them were not to be seen while she laid her eggs and then sat on them. Then, finally, this day they showed up with 5 new babies.

Greylag Goose Family with goslings
Gus telling off everybody else
Gus is declaring to all of the other geese that his babies are getting these oats, and nobody else had better try to take any away from his kids. It's hard to see, but there are rolled oats or oatmeal on the ground there — those little white specks. I was putting out piles of oats or oatmeal here and there, and that's why Gus and family came ashore.
The fifth baby is hard to see in this picture. It's hiding behind some weeds, in front of the mother's feet.

Greylag Goose Family with goslings
Gus and Family
Gus is looking every inch the proud father in this picture.

Gus is also telling me that I had better be on my best behavior and not mess with his kids. He trusts me pretty much, mostly, but he is still very wary and highly protective of his children. Bringing his babies ashore in front of me is an act of great trust. He knows that I don't intend to hurt them. But he still lets me know that I better not mess with his kids.

The mother is also surprisingly trusting for a wild goose. She has also had a couple of years to get to know me, and see that I don't hurt geese or ducks. And I think she also takes Gus's word for it. She trusts me because he trusts me.

Still, she is totally wild, and migrates south for the winter. Last winter, she flew south and left Gus behind. Gus can't fly. He is just too heavy. But she returned to him in the spring, and they had a bunch more kids together. This has been going on for at least three years.

I find it funny to think that Gus married a wild girl. That statement is loaded with sexual implications and double entendrés of course. And Gus is doing his best to be a wild goose himself. I can imagine him sitting up nights reading Jack London's Call Of The Wild, learning how to become a wild creature. He's doing a fair job of it. He wants nothing from humans except the occasional treat. He's quite happy to take good munchies when he can get them, like now. And so is every other wild creature around.

Greylag Goose Family with goslings
Gus and Family

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

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Last updated 9 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters324.html